Cycling is a fabulous activity and the benefits are wide and varied; with those who cycle regularly often enjoying a fitness level comparable to that of someone 10 years younger. And since it’s free and bikes do not require road tax, it also makes sense financially and environmentally!
Still need convincing? Here’s our top 10 reasons to take up cycling:
1. Good for your fitness levels and health as it aids cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance;
2. Increases the release of endorphins, helping you to feel good and boosting your mental health;
3. Suitable for all ages and levels of fitness; the saddle holds about 70% of the body weight so pressure on joints is reduced.
4. Could be a money saver – no petrol, no parking charges, road tax or insurance;
5. Low risk – the health benefits of cycling every day rather than driving are many times greater than any risk of injury (Dr Stephen Watkins, co-chair of the Transport and Health Study Group)
6. Environmentally friendly activity – no carbon emissions and no pollution;
7. Improves your brain power. The University of Illinois found that a 5% improvement in cardio respiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15% in mental tests;
8. Can be a social activity; while you can cycle alone, you could also enjoy a ride with friends and family, or even a cycling holiday;
9. Can help you to become more familiar with your surrounding areas. The National Cycle Network covers 14,700 miles much of which is off road or on quiet back roads;
10. Helps you live longer – researchers at Kings College London compared over 2,400 identical twins and found that those who did the equivalent of just three, 45 minute rides a week were nine years ‘biologically younger’;
Any kind of regular exercise lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, various types of cancers, obesity and high blood pressure.
However, cycling is great for those who want something gentle and non-intrusive on the limbs and muscles, as it reduces the load and stress through the legs. It can also help achieve a better night’s sleep as the exposure to daylight whilst riding can rid the body of cortisol, the stress hormone that prevents a deep regenerative sleep.
So with all these benefits there really is no better time than now to break the cycle, get on your bike and start your journey to a fitter, healthier, mind and body.