Tim Freyaldenhoven, M.D., Ph.D., on Cycling and Corporate Wellness

Tim Freyaldenhoven, M.D., Ph.D., is a neurologist with the Conway Regional Neuroscience Center. He was voted Best Doctor of 2019 and 2020 by AY Magazine readers.

In this week’s Q&A, Dr. Freyaldenhoven reviews how businesses can encourage fitness and activity among employees.

Q: How can businesses and organizations of all sizes incorporate cycling into their corporate wellness plans?

A: They can include some cycling facilities within their own infrastructure, such as indoor, covered bike parking, showers, and lockers. Business can also provide employees with incentives to ride for fitness. The city of Conway has supported the cycling community through its efforts to improve the quality of the biking trails and public access to bikes by purchasing bikes that can be rented via credit card.

Q: What tips do you have for someone who wants to bike to work?

A: Planning ahead is very important. You should think about the weather and traffic when you are planning your route. Also, think of errands that you might have that day, such as picking up the kids. Remember, some roads are more bike-friendly than others. It’s wise to scout at the same time of day as you plan to go cycling to make sure have picked an appropriate route. You can also upload applications, such as Strava, or use a Garvin GPS to help locate routes that are highly used by fellow cyclists.

Q: What are some ways that employers can incentivize employees to ride their bikes to work?

A: By providing health care and parking bonuses as pay back for taking up less parking spaces and lowering health care costs. You can offer extra PTO days and bike commuting bonuses or reimburse participation fees to employees in cycling events. Purchasing corporate bike jerseys is also helpful.

Q: How does promoting a culture of physical activity in the workplace benefit employees and employers?

A: It creates strong morale and a sense of community. Employees who ride report more energy. They are more engaged, happier, and less stressed. Therefore, they are friendlier to customers. There is also evidence that people who exercise perform better cognitively.

Q: What are some barriers to riding a bike to work that employers can help their employees overcome?

A: One of the major barriers is fear of cars and traffic. As an employer, you can help them out by planning routes and if there are many riders, you might involve local authorities so they can help employees feel safer. As part of a “bus system,” if there is going to be a lot of people, you can plan a route so that people can join the “bus” as they move along the route.

Q: Why would you recommend cycling as a sport to get healthier in general?

A: It provides aerobic exercise. It is a relatively low impact sport, which is good for people with neck pain and headaches as well as for people with bad knees or feet. It is very practical exercise in that you can use it for traveling, which has benefits for the community in terms of reducing crowded streets and pollution. It saves you money in terms of gas and upkeep for a car that you wouldn’t have to use as much. Cycling is good exercise for people who have had concussions and/or suffer from migraines. It increases the blood flow to the brain while keeping the head in a relatively stable position.

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