Cycling is one of the most popular recreational sports in the UK, with an estimated two million people riding a bike each week. It is one of the easiest ways to exercise and fit into your daily routine, making it appealing to the young and old alike, with the added benefits of saving money on gym membership and transport costs, as well as having environmental benefits as a carbon-free method of transport.
Health benefits of cycling
Cycling is a low impact exercise, which is better for the joints than running and other high impact aerobic exercises, with the added benefit of helping you get into shape by burning calories, losing weight and muscle toning. Research has shown that it (as is true of other exercise) can have the following specific benefits:
Research has shown that those who cycle for 30 minutes five days a week take 50% fewer sick days than those who carry out no exercise. Moderate exercise strengthens the immune cells, making them more active and ready to fight infection. Employers benefit from healthier staff and fewer working days lost to sickness absence.
Cycling has been shown to help you sleep more deeply. A study carried out by Stanford University School of Medicine with sedentary insomnia sufferers highlighted the time required to fall asleep was cut in half, and the length of sleep increased by 1 hour.
Regular cycling can cut heart disease by 50%. By cycling 20 miles each week you can reduce your risk of heart disease to less than half of those who don’t do any exercise. The British Heart Foundation has stated that around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves fitter.
A study conducted by Dr Lynn Cherkas at Kings college London comparing over 2,401 adult identical twins found that those who did the equivalent of just three 45 minute rides a week were nine years biologically younger, had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, all types of cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Any mild to moderate exercise releases natural feel-good endorphins that help counter stress and directly lower fatigue levels. Cycling has been shown to improve both mental and physical wellbeing.
Exercise is known to build new brain cells in the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for memory, which starts to deteriorate from the age of 30. Cycling boosts blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which fires and regenerates receptors, which explains how exercise can help ward off diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
How to keep safe
The risks of cycling on our busy roads are all too often featured in the media.
The risks associated with cycling can be managed most of the time by the cyclist themselves choosing where and when to ride. While the benefits of cycling outweigh the risks the following advice will help keep cyclists safe:
By avoiding the busiest routes and by balancing risks against the general wellbeing and benefits that riding a bike can bring into your life, cycling definitely has much to offer you and your business.
If you want to find out more: http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/membershipgclid=CNDJxMbelL8CFQIYwwod9IAAgA