Can How You Get Around Make You Happier? We Think So

A man and a woman stretch on the grass in a park with two scooters behind them

What if moving around your community, running errands, or getting to and from work wasn’t something to dread, but in fact something that improved your mental health and wellbeing? 

During the pandemic, we began thinking a lot about mental health and the well-being of Spin employees, especially as people had to work from home. Spin started regular mental health days, designed to give employees an extra day off of work each month. This will continue at least through 2022.

This year, as World Mental Health Day approached, we wanted to understand how access to shared e-scooter rentals affected our riders’ mental health. So, we asked them: 70 percent said riding scooters actually helped improve their mental health.

This first-of-its-kind study explored how nearly 1,000 riders felt their mental health improve as a direct result of riding an e-scooter as part of the UK Department for Transport’s shared-use scooter rental trials. How, exactly, did riders say access to shared e-scooters help improve their mental health?

Findings from our recent survey of Spin riders in the UK.

The impact on people’s mental health when they feel as though their commute is fun is clear. People have highly positive associations with the feeling of riding a rented shared e-scooter. Almost half (46 percent) feel “adventurous” and four out of 10 feel “joyful” (41 percent), “free” (41 percent)  and “positive” (40 percent). “Exhilarated and like a soaring eagle” and “back to my childhood” were just a few points riders spontaneously mentioned when asked how they feel when riding an e-scooter

Compare that to the feelings associated with sitting in bumper-to-bumper car traffic.

The research underpins how riders experience “flow,” a concept in positive psychology that refers to the state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity and which consequently contributes to a better mental well-being.

This is supported by renowned media psychologist Emma Kenny, who agrees that using a shared rental e-scooter is a fantastic way for people to not only reduce their carbon footprint but also feel free and embrace a nostalgic, childlike experience in the fresh air:

“It’s fantastic to see research that gives insight into how small pleasures can make a big difference in our everyday lives,” Kenny said. “Positively managing our mental health is key to living a happier and healthier life and that’s why it’s so important to take part in activities that are fun and thrilling, and that benefit our lives in a multitude of ways. E-scooters, that are part of the public hire schemes offer the perfect medium to be more environmentally friendly, whilst letting our inner child run free. Whether you’re dashing to a board meeting, or heading for a University lecture, e-scooters offer a great alternative solution to your travel needs.” 

She added, “Aside from the accessibility and ease of this kind of transport, you’ll also benefit from the feeling of freedom that comes when travelling from A to B this way. The benefits you receive from fresh air and the great outdoors is a form of informal mindful practice, meaning that you fully appreciate the here and now and experience the present as a gift.”

Steve Pyer, UK & Ireland Country Manager at Spin agrees. He said, “At a time when mental well-being is in the spotlight more than ever, it is incredibly rewarding to see that e-scooters that are part of the national trials are not only beneficial for the environment but for our rider’s mental health too. E-scooter rental programs provide the freedom and flexibility for exploration and fresh air does wonders to relieve stress and anxiety, as well fuel your brain with oxygen, leaving you happier and more relaxed at the end of your journey or commute.”

While this study was the first of its kind, we are excited to continue research into this topic. We recently launched a similar survey in the US and we hope that we will be able to build on our findings for future initiatives and partnerships.

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