Forget yoga and meditation, ride a bike to work if you want to arrive calm and ready to take on the day. Stanford University’s Calming Technology Lab has found that cyclists are 40 percent less likely to be stressed during and after their commutes compared to those who drove or took public transport. This was discovered after hooking up commuters with wearable breath monitors which measure calmness. Data from 20,000 commutes by 1,000 commuters found that those who cycled arrived at work in a calmer, more relaxed state of mind.
The calmness quotient was measured by the use of the Spire wearable, a clip-on health tracker which tracks physical activity, heart rate, and the length and depth of breaths (short, shallow breaths indicate that stress levels could be high). The device monitors breathing in real-time and, via a smartphone app, provides notifications to lower tension and increase calmness.
Head of Calming Technology Lab, and co-founder of Spire Inc, Neema Moraveji, said:
“It’s particularly interesting to see that many people don’t transition back into the home after a long day of work very well. By biking to work we know that the physical nature of cycling and physical exertion will engender a more calm and focused state of mind. So while being good for us physically, we also see lots of psychological and emotional benefits."