Entrepreneurs' productivity, performance, and effectiveness have much to do with not only their approach to work, but also their personal lifestyle. Strategies like delegation, strict time management, and schedule optimization are all important, but they only represent one side of the equation. If you want to get the most out of your average workday, you need to improve your lifestyle and personal habits--and one of the best ways to do it is by biking to work every day.
Of all the lifestyle changes that could have a potentially positive impact on your working life--such as eating healthier or practicing yoga--why is biking to work on a daily basis the focal point of this article?
1. Everybody can do it.
First, just about everybody can bike to work (so long as they live within 20 miles or so). Unlike jogging, you don't need to be in particularly good shape, and you don't need any particularly expensive equipment to get started--you can get a bike for a few hundred dollars or less. Even if you aren't in shape, you can travel at a somewhat leisurely pace, and you don't need any special skills to be successful here. It helps if your city is especially bike-friendly, but as long as you have roadways, you'll have some place to bike.
2. It relieves stress.
There's no question that entrepreneurship is stressful--and if you allow that stress to accumulate, you'll suffer both mental and physical health complications, including unhealthy sleep patterns, and higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. Cycling is shown to reduce stress--both in the short-term, as a measure of instant relief, and in the long-term, as a way to mitigate the onset of symptoms associated with excessive stress.
3. It boosts productivity.
A short burst of exercise--around 20 minutes of strenuous activity--is enough to release endorphins that boost your alertness and improve productivity. Starting your day with a bike ride will help you launch into work and start getting things done the minute you walk in the office--and you'll feel better, intrinsically, when you're done.
4. Necessity mandates consistency.
Committing to bike to work every day will force you to make exercise a habit. The commute needs to happen, so you'll force yourself to establish some kind of regular rhythm. Obviously, you'll need to make different accommodations for days of excessive heat or precipitation, but the near-daily process of cycling will keep you going steady.
5. It familiarizes you with the city.
When you drive to work, you don't have time to look at your surroundings (unless you're stuck in traffic). On a bike, you'll be moving slower, so you'll have the chance to get to know the intricacies of your city. Not only will this give you better personal appreciation for the city in which you do business, you'll also be able to spot other businesses in the area you might have otherwise missed--giving you new prospects for sales, partners, or vendors.
6. You'll get in better shape.
Depending on personal factors and how fast you plan on traveling, you can burn 600 calories an hour with relative ease. Over the course of a workweek, for an average hour-long round trip commute, that leaves you burning 3,000 calories--or nearly a pound of fat. Keep that momentum up, and you'll get yourself in better shape, which in turn will boost your confidence, your image, and maybe even how much money you make.
7. You'll reduce your environmental impact.
It's true that your environmental impact won't have much of a direct impact on your productivity or your personal health, but riding a bike every day will offset all the greenhouse gases your vehicle emits. If more entrepreneurs and professionals biked to work, it could drastically cut our collective environmental impact--but even sponsoring a bike-to-work program in your own business could net you the benefits of positive branding.
8. You can meet new people.
The cycling community is a large one, and there's likely a bike meetup in your city. That makes biking to work every day a valuable networking opportunity--and possibly, a catalyst for forging better professional relationships with your team and your partners.
The biggest hurdle to overcome is getting started. If your city doesn't have bike lanes, or if you haven't ridden a bike in a while you may be nervous, but make a commitment to getting one trip under your belt. Once you get the fresh air in your lungs and feel the rush of physical exercise in the morning, you'll want to keep going back for more.