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  • Britons are spending as little as an hour outside a day during the autumn and winter months , with 23rd October revealed as the day UK employees begin to ‘hibernate’
  • Majority of UK employees acknowledge a lack of time outdoors in the cooler months negatively affects their physical and mental wellbeing , reducing concentration and productivity at work
  • This Cycle To Work Day, cycling legend Chris Boardman encourages everyone to try a two-wheeled commute to ease the transition into winter and help avoid the hibernation blues

The 23rd October marks the day most of us will begin ‘hibernating’ , becoming lazier and less active and spending less time outdoors, according to new research released today on the fourth annual Cycle To Work Day.

The research by Cyclescheme, organiser of the national event, and Halfords, lead sponsor of the event, finds this is putting UK employees’ physical and mental wellbeing at risk, as workers spend on average just an hour a day outdoors during autumn and winter.

There is a worrying tendency amongst UK employees to ‘daylight dodge’ during the cooler months; the British workforce spends up to 50% more time outdoors in summer. UK employees spend just 66 minutes a day outside, dropping to 30 minutes or less for over a third of people (34%), during autumn and winter. Many employees will adjust their commute (39%) or skip lunchbreaks (28%) to avoid being outside, despite understanding the negative affect this can have on their health and work performance.

The change in our seasonal behaviour causes almost seven in ten UK employees to say a lack of outdoor time badly affects their health (67%) and moods (68%), resulting in seasonal weight gain (56%) and increased stress levels (55%). More than a third (36%) spend more money over this period as they socialise indoors in pubs and restaurants, hiding away from the cold and dark days. The knock-on effects on Britain’s workplaces are substantial, with employees admitting they can find it difficult to concentrate (53%) and are unable to perform (50%) to their best ability if they don’t spend enough time outdoors during the working day.

With 68% of UK employees wanting to ‘hibernate’ through the cooler months, Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman is encouraging commuters to banish those hibernation blues by staying active, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. Chris said:

“It’s not surprising that we spend as little as an hour outdoors during the cooler months, choosing to stay warm in the office as the winter winds blows away our motivation to get out. But winter is also the season that brings us most opportunities for overindulgence so it’s definitely worth the effort to keep active through the colder months!”

“The trick is to work it into your daily routine, walking and riding to work for example is an ideal way to keep body and mind in great shape. September and October are the best month to get yourself and your bike ready; with good water proofs and mudguards, it’s easy to enjoy a British winter on two wheels, so when everyone else goes into hibernation, you can feel good throughout the party season!”

Stephen Holt, Commercial Director at Cyclescheme.co.uk, said:

“We know an active commute can have many benefits for employees from weight loss, increased energy and mood levels to better performance at work, but it can also help people get some much needed time outdoors, particularly in the cooler months when hiding indoors is so appealing!

Tens of thousands of commuters are expected to take part in the fourth annual Cycle to Work Day on 14th September, and we’re hoping the majority will fall in love with the benefits of pedal power and become regulars!”

Lucie Cherrington, Head of Cycle to Work at Halfords, said:

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to fit exercise into our daily routines with many of us grappling with busy schedules these days and grizzly autumn weather can be off-putting too. That’s why using an active mode of transport to commute can be a really simple and effective way to squeeze in exercise on a daily basis and of course stay fit, as well having the added bonus of saving pounds.

Cycle to Work Day is a fantastic opportunity for employers to encourage more colleagues to join this brilliant initiative and reap the benefits of a more physically active workforce”.

Cycle to Work Day was established by Cyclescheme in 2013 to encourage cyclists of all abilities to give cycle commuting a try. This year, Halfords is partnering with Cyclescheme to promote the annual event and get more people into cycling regularly through their everyday commute.

For more information about the day, or to find out more on how you can get involved visit: https://www.cycletoworkday.org/

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