Why Cycling is Good for You
Cycling is a liberating and invigorating activity enjoyed by people of all ages from all walks of life. Riding a bike can also boost your health and help to safeguard you from serious illnesses.
Cycling is good for you because it provides aerobic exercise for your cardiovascular system and lower body.
Getting on your bike is also safer than most other types of exercise. As a low-impact activity, it poses little risk of damage to your joints, as long as your bike is the right size for you and the handlebars and saddle are the correct height – and you don’t try to overdo it!
So, if you haven’t been in the saddle for some time, take it easy at first, and if you want to spend more time on your bike, do it gradually.
Getting out and about on a bicycle for just a few hours each week will increase your strength, stamina and fitness, particularly if you use a bike trailer. But first we’ll look at the general health advantages of cycling.
Health Benefits of Cycling
Cycling is a fun, relatively cheap, and environmentally-friendly way to keep yourself fit and healthy on a routine basis and avoid the many issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Whether you’re cycling to and from school, work or the shops, or pedaling away just for fun, using your bike is an easy way to get more physical activity into your life – essential to maintain health.
Regular cycling can reduce the likelihood of diseases such as:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Heart attack
- Some cancers
Cycling lessens the risk of cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke by stimulating your lungs, heart, and blood circulation. Studies also suggest that cycling reduces the likelihood of bowel cancer and breast cancer.
Research in Finland found that cyclists who spent more than half an hour a day in the saddle nearly doubled their resistance to developing type 2 diabetes. Getting on your bike regularly also lowers the risk of mental health problems such as depression, stress and anxiety – through the exercise itself and the enjoyment you get from it.
Furthermore, cycling can help to avoid obesity, now classed as a chronic disease by the Canadian Medical Association and Obesity Canada. As a means of controlling or losing weight, cycling burns body fat, increases your metabolism and builds muscle. Research in the UK indicates that when combined with a healthy diet, a daily 30-minute bike ride will burn almost five kilograms of fat in a year.
Besides lessening the risk of chronic ailments such as obesity, riding a bike can also:
- Improve mobility of your joints.
- Increase muscle flexibility and strength.
- Strengthen bones.
- Improve co-ordination and posture.
Ditch the Car and Get on Your Bike!
The best way to get the most of the health benefits of cycling is to leave the car in the garage and use your bike for everyday transport.
If your workplace is within reasonable commuting distance, cycling to and from work presents a good opportunity to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Riding to the shops gives you another chance to combine your everyday routine with regular exercise in a time-effective way.
Cycling is also good for your kids, and riding to school can improve health, concentration and confidence.
On a recreational level, you can make cycling a healthy family affair, enjoying an outing with your kids to explore your neighborhood or discovering the delights of the great outdoors by heading off to the surrounding countryside.
Increased Health Benefits of Cycling with a Bike Trailer
Bicycle trailers provide a handy means to safely carry a variety of items on your cycling journeys – convenient storage space, for instance, when commuting or shopping, or visiting the local park for a picnic, as well as for longer trips.
As well as convenience, a bike trailer will intensify all the health benefits you get from cycling. Pulling a load behind you further strengthens your legs and improves endurance, while giving your general health, fitness and immunity levels an extra boost.
If you use your bike trailer to take your child with you as you enjoy the health benefits of cycling, bear in mind your youngster will need comfortable seating (with a seat belt) and a safety helmet, and your trailer should be robust with wide-spaced wheels and a rain-proof cover.
Carry on Pedaling!
Cycling on a regular basis can improve both your physical and mental health, whether you hit the saddle for recreation or as a means of transport to and from work or school.
Riding a bike is safer than many other types of exercise, provided you don’t over-exert yourself, particularly if you’re out of practice.
If you haven’t ridden a bike for some time, find a traffic-free area like your local park to reacquaint yourself with the skill. It shouldn’t take long – as we all know, you never forget how to ride a bike!
Cycling with a bike trailer will provide a further boost to your health and fitness levels, as well as the convenience of cargo transportation.