We all know that cycling is a great way to get around but the benefits to your health are even more numerous than you may think!
I’m not going to start preaching about the environmental benefits of cycling. We all know that the carbon footprint of your average bicycle is going to be a tad less than your average ford mustang! But it is important to highlight the health benefits of getting on a bike because these benefits to your well-being can be just as rewarding.
While the thought of dragging yourself out of the house this late in the year might not fill you with joy, it can help banish those winter blues. Pick a cold, crisp morning and a brisk ide through your neighbourhood will make you feel great! Here’s why:
1. It’s a great family activity that can bring all ages together. You can even share a tandem if you’re feeling brave! Kids love cycling as there are not many experiences that are comparable. Just let them go for it and you can follow at your own pace. But be ready with the ear-defenders if there are any scrapes or falls…
2. Cycling is good for the body. A half hour’s cycling to and from work can burn eight calories a minute, which is equivalent to 11kg of fat in a year. As well as burning calories, riding a bike can do wonders for muscles and toning bums! Your heart will be exercised as well, growing stronger as a result.
3. It can also reduce the likelihood of certain cancers. Women who walk or use a bike for half an hour everyday have a lower chance of breast cancer. Don’t worry blokes, there are benefits for men as well.
4. Being on a bike improves your balance and co-ordination. Bicycling is the perfect practice because you have to move both legs, while steering and keeping your bodyweight balanced.
5. You go places! Okay, this might be obvious but you cannot travel anywhere if you are stuck in the gym exercising. You’ll run on a treadmill for hours but never go anywhere and will be forced to listen to relentless dance music whilst you do it. This is not the case when you are cycling. Unless you like that sort of thing, in which case feel free to listen to your favourite tunes while you peddle yourself fitter. It’s also been proven that you will exercise for longer when outdoors.
6. Independence. Well-being is all about feeling like you can do what you want to when you want to do it. By cycling, you don’t have to rely on the family car or public transport. This also means getting away from others because if you get the kids on a bike, you can get rid of them for a couple of hours!
7. Commuting to work on a bike will make you more relaxed and lower your stress levels. More so than driving to work!
8. It’s a low impact exercise. The regular circular movements you make when cycling are incredibly calming. Breathing is regulated but your joints won’t suffer as much because the impact pressures are much lower. Unless you hit something…
Which brings me to my last point – always wear a helmet. Riding a bike is not nearly as dangerous as many critics would have you believe. Infact, the health benefits of cycling have been shown to outweigh the safety risks twenty to one but as the days get shorter, it’s becoming more important to make sure you are protected and visible!