Do you bike to work? If it’s been a while since you pedaled your way to the office, now may be the perfect time to set down those car keys and get into a more active, healthier routine. If you set this example as an employer, you might encourage your workforce to do the same. The health benefits of bike riding are plentiful, including improved cardio fitness, improved muscle strength, better joint mobility, reduced anxiety and depression and even decreased stress levels. The issue here for employers is coming up with a program that makes it easy for all employees to bike to work if they choose.

Why a Bike-to-Work Program Is Worth Your Time

Biking to work may not seem like a big deal, but with its numerous health advantages as a low-impact, easy and fun way to get around, it could really make a difference for your workers. Healthy employees are more productive, less likely to take sick days and more likely to remain mentally fit. A biking program provides them with the necessary exercise they need to really kick-start a healthy lifestyle and make it part of their regular routine.

How to Get a Program in Place Inexpensively and Quickly

You don’t have to spend much or put a lot of time into this type of healthy-incentive program (although the more action you take, the more you’ll encourage your employees to participate). Here are some tips for getting things started:

  • Set up a storage space for bikes. Where are they going to store their bike at work? Be sure to offer an easy solution by designating a prime parking space or indoor room at your workplace for bike storage. Safe spots like these, away from bike thieves, help employees feel better about taking their bicycles out of their homes.
  • Provide a map of safe biking routes into the office. This is particularly important in busy cities. Download a map of the area, and pinpoint recommended routes for biking. Be sure to include as many employees’ neighborhoods as you can.
  • Create a bike club. Have members meet at the end of the day to discuss biking and to share tips for biking basics, routes and routines. One of the best ways to create a sense of team among your riders is have them share information with each other.
  • Do it with them. Bike to work yourself. As a business manager or owner, there is no better way to encourage an initiative than to participate in it, too.
  • Provide lockers to allow employees to change clothes. Be sure employees have a way to change shoes and clothing before and after work to allow them to easily bike in and out. Making a shower available, if possible, will also help.
  • Offer tangible incentives. Even the possibility of a small reward, such as a coffee-shop gift card for whoever bikes the most miles in a month, can entice employees to get moving.

Pedal to Health offers some outstanding recommendations and tips to help businesses truly take biking to the next level, for both health and overall well-being. Encourage your employees to participate in your biking program and watch them excel at living a healthier lifestyle.

Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and Internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.