March 12, 2012


Full steam ahead to better health

In the hurried times we live, it seems everyone is searching for that quick and easy way to stay healthy while trying to squeeze it into our busy schedules. Often times, the most beneficial ways are sometimes the easiest. Many of our first experiences with bicycles are using it to get to and from a friend’s house in the neighborhood. What we often never think about is just how beneficial riding a bike can be to us. Not to mention, it can be downright fun!

I always used to wonder what would compel someone to wear cycling clothes and go ride their bikes in the hot summer afternoons, but once I learned how powerful of an exercise tool cycling really is, I became one of those people. Bikes are readily available through a myriad of price points for everyone’s budget. Obtaining the bike is the easy part. However, finding and maximizing our time is the hard part. Many cities have dedicated recreation and bike trails where cars aren’t allowed, so there’s no danger from cars when riding. According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is second only to tobacco smoking as a health risk in developed countries. Cycling is an incredibly suitable means of staying healthy and prolonging life.

Using me for example, a 150lb person who cycles at a speed of 14-16 mph for 45 minutes can burn 540 calories an hour. That’s an incredible figure when compared to some other exercises. Cycling to work that’s relatively close can burn off 10lbs of fat a year alone. Not to mention, it’s a non-weight bearing activity for our knees, which makes it viable for people who may have a prior knee injury or arthritis in the legs.

The charity Sustrans reports that on average; approximately 20 life-years are gained from the health benefits of road bicycling for every life-year lost through injury. Cycling is also great for your heart. According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. A major study of 10,000 civil servants suggested that those who cycled 20 miles over the period of a week were half as likely to suffer heart disease as those who did not.

Any way you look at it, cycling is a great exercise that we all can do! No matter what shape or size, there are benefits we can all get.

1 comment:

  1. O that's some pretty good news as I totally love cycling. I can't wait for the weather to get better and start cycling again. (yes, I'm not the kind of person who rides a bike in the winter weather!)