Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

What is your favorite way to exercise?  There are many ways, but one that a lot of people find especially enjoyable is cycling. One of the reasons they enjoy it so much is because bicycling offers a diverse range of benefits for the body and mind. It provides aerobic exercise which can help improve lung function, endurance, cardiovascular health and bone strength. Cycling also helps strengthen muscles in the arms, legs and back while providing weight-bearing exercises for bones in the feet. Moreover, cycling has been shown to reduce stress levels by lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and improving moods due to endorphins released during physical activity. On top of all that biking can be fun! And with all these great benefits, there’s no wonder why Dr. Michael Deem enjoys cycling! 

Michael Deem’s passion for cycling matches his academic pursuits. Dr. Deem would attend CalTech, where he would receive his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1991. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994. He held a postdoctoral position at Harvard University researching Physics. In 1996, Dr. Deem would join UCLA as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. Come 2002, he joined Rice University, becoming a John W Cox professor of Bioengineering, Physics, and Astronomy. 

With the contributions he made to his field, Michael Deem has received several prestigious honors, including the Northrop Grumman Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award (1997); Visiting Professor, University of Amsterdam (1999); A Top 100 Young Innovator, MIT’s Technology Review (November 1999) (Profile); Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000); Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2002); John W. Cox Professor, Rice University (2002-2020); Allan P. Colburn Award (2004); Editorial Board Member, Protein Engineering, Design and Selection (2005-2018); Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2005); Member, Board of Directors, Biomedical Engineering Society (2005-2008); Fellow, American Physical Society (2006); Member, Rice University Faculty Senate (2006-2009); Vaughan Lectureship, California Institute of Technology (2007); Member, Nominating Committee, Division of Biological Physics, American Physical Society (2007); Member, Board of Governors, Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (2007-2016); Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (2009); BMES Representative on the FASEB Publications & Communications Committee (2009-2012); Professional Progress Award (2010); Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010); External Scientific Advisor, Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (2010-present); Associate Editor, Physical Biology (2011-2018); Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award, The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (2012); Founding Director, Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology (2012-2014, raised $0.5M seed funding); Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar (2012-2013); Chair, Department of Bioengineering (2014-2017, raised $12M in external startup funding for new faculty); Editorial Advisory Board, Bioengineering and Translational Medicine, 2016-2018; and Donald W. Breck Award for zeolite science, 2019,  NACD Board Leadership Fellow and Directorship Certification, 2020. Entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures, 2021-2022, General Partner with Smart Health Catalyzer, 2023 to present.

When not practicing his chosen field as a doctorate or spending time with his two children, one of his biggest hobbies has been taking up cycling! In this article, we’ll explore how he got started, why he likes it, etc.

How Dr. Michael Deem Got Started in Cycling:

Michael and his wife used to live on a steep, curvy road and they’d notice all the bikers going up and down our hill every day. They’d always enjoyed biking as a recreational activity but we hadn’t done it for quite some time. So one day they decided “why not try it out?”

On top of that, after so many years of driving vehicles, they were starting to feel some of the contributions made from vehicle communtes, including weight gains, hindered sleep, and elevated stress doe to the traffic where they lived.

Though they now have an energy-efficient vehicle for instances where they need to go long-distance, they are doing a lot more cycling nowadays, and for good reason, as the following benefits have contributed to their new found way of transportation and exercise:

Why Dr. Deem Loves Cycling

Adrenaline Rush

The thrill-seekers who love the rush of adrenaline are sure to enjoy speeding down a huge hill and feeling their speeds increasing. It’s not for everyone though; it takes someone with great reflexes or courage!

Exploring New Places

Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

The great thing about biking is that it allows you to explore new places, from your neighborhood or even further afield. It’s amazing how many people have found hidden gems in their own towns, or beautiful spots close to their home after exploring on two wheels!

Fresh Air

If you’re stuck in an office job and commute daily via car, train or bus then it can be hard to find time for outdoor activities. Cycling brings the great outdoors right into our lives – not only does cycling give us more space outside but also takes away all that commuting stress! Plus, it’s a bonus that Michael and his wife can literally bike to their jobs if they wanted to!

Improved Mental Well-Being

Cycling has been shown to increase mental well-being and decrease stress. This is due to the increase in natural endorphin production as a result of increased physical activity. Endorphins make us feel happier and improve our moods!

It’s a Good Form Of Exercise

Cycling is a great way to get an amazing workout. Not only does it give you new found strength, muscle tone and increased cardiovascular fitness but also strengthened bones!

Cycling can be part of your regiment for losing weight, too; after all, cycling burns calories quickly which leads to quick results! Cycling also builds strong muscles throughout the body by providing strength training stimuli for both upper and lower limbs at once. In fact, cycling has been observed to have anabolic properties since it increases muscle protein synthesis while decreasing muscle breakdown!

It’s Cost-Effective

Unlike joining a gym or polluting the sir by commuting with a vehicle, riding your bike is far more cost-effective. You don’t need to sign up for pricey classes or buy expensive equipment; simply jump on that bike and start pedalling!

It’s Environmentally Efficient

Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

Once you are a confident bike rider, it is easy to see how using your own two wheels can help cut back on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Cycling 10km (6 miles) each way of work will only set the user back 1500kgs in comparison with driving car every day – not even mentioning all other benefits like saving money for transportation costs or enjoying fresh air while getting some exercise!

Sense of Freedom

There is a sense of freedom when you hop on your bike and just go wherever the wind takes. You can really get out there, explore new places or meet up with old friends for some good times-there’s no limits!

The Socializing After Riding

The post-ride pub is an essential part of any bike enthusiast’s life. The satisfaction you feel when your legs are sore, heart is pumping and lungs burning after a ride can only be matched by eating something really good followed by some friendly conversation with new friends over classic British food at the local bar or pub in town!

Now as great as these benefits are, people have asked him, “Cycling can make you into a healthier being, but can it also make you a better doctor?” Well, this is what he feels about it:

Can Cycling help a Doctor in Their Practice?


As physicians, we are tasked with the difficult task of balancing work and personal time. With busy schedules that don’t allow for much down-time it can be challenging to find ways in which you’re able get your mind off of things like medical practice or family obligations while still maintaining an healthy lifestyle. A few minutes here or there may not seem significant but over extended periods these little breaks become extremely helpful towards relieving stress levels as well improving health!

Enter cycling. Not only is riding a bicycle an excellent form of exercise that can improve physical and mental health, it’s also one the most practical ways to get from point A (home) all the way over there at B counterpart which happens – by definition-to be your workplace! So could replacing those long commutes with some good old fashioned workouts make you into even better doctor?

Compared with high-level professionals in other industries, doctors report working more hours and feeling less satisfied with their work-life balance. The demands of the job lead to high burnout rates that can result from an inability or unwillingness on behalf of physicians themselves dealing successfully with professional issues outside medical practice such as family responsibilities at home if they have any children there too; lack thereof due entirely too much time spent away from them while juggling all those extra shifts given just so someone else doesn’t get overtime pay without having done anything wrong first… And this cycle continues until something drastic happens.

Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

The benefits of exercise are many and far-reaching. People who work out on a regular basis often report better sleep, stronger interpersonal skills as well as increased productivity than those who don’t go near an exercising machine or participate in any physical activity at all!

Unfortunately, the long hours many doctors work often leave little time for exercise and self-care. Many physicians log around 60 – 80 in their typical week with some even working more than 50!

Car Commutes Compound Unhappiness

A car commute is a necessary evil, but it can have negative side effects on your health. Commutes expose drivers to more pollutants and hinder socialization as well as sleep patterns which are important for maintaining good mental clarity throughout the day at work or school. A round-trip journey of 30 miles – just 15 miles each way – has been found by studies done over time to increase obesity levels among those who do them regularly! Car commutes may contribute towards elevated stress often due unpredictable traffic caused from people driving too fast without realizing what lies ahead because they’re so focused on getting there quick themselves.

Cycling Increases Happiness

Studies show that commuting via bicycle, on the other hand has very positive mental health outcomes. Those who bike or walk to work were happier with their commutes than those who drove and experienced less stressful traffic congestion as well!

Studies have shown that bicycle commuting can significantly reduce stress levels. In one study, those who cycled to work four or more days per week experienced the largest reduction in self-reported stress compared with non-cyclists!

You can take advantage of these health benefits without making your already packed schedule any more jam-packed. By cycling to work rather than driving, you’ll not only be benefiting from an exercise session but also reducing carbon emissions and car traffic congestion!

Other Benefits That Doctors Reap

Doctors who cycle to work claim it makes them friendlier, and they can even save time.

It is important to note, however, that cycling specifically for work is uncommon. Of recent studies that were posted concerning doctors and cycling, only 11% take this initiative, which is well above the national average

For doctors who commute by bike, protected lanes and other cycling infrastructure make for a safer environment. The more cities incorporate this type of design into their neighborhoods the better! If you’re in such an area I recommend giving it try; not only will your physical health improve but so too may that of others around you.

If you are a fellow doctor, or someone that is thinking about taking up cycling, hopefully this article, based on Michael’s advice and opinions, will convince you to take up this healthy, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly hobby.

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