We have all heard the phrase – Get on yer bike! But sometimes it can feel like too much effort to dig it out, oil the chain and go for a ride. I mean, who has time for that?
Hopefully, we are The Good Human will show you just how easy it is to slip cycling into your daily life. These 15 kick-ass benefits improve your health and far more. Nobody said you have to wear lycra – although don’t let us stop you!
You will be surprised to see us identify all of the top daily gripes as we go through the article – who knew that 2 wheels could be the answer to so many of them?
Everyone is stressed. Long hours, over-commitment, the glorification of busy, no time to exercise, no time to think…sounds too familiar to many of us.
Why not consider cycling to work. If it has been a bad day you can hammer out the journey, allowing your tension to pound the pedals. It is so easy to incorporate into your daily life, if you simply change your normal habits of jumping into the car for your small journeys.
Just imagine – you will be eliminating road rage too!
Choose your bike before your car when you are shopping, commuting, visiting friends and family, doctors appointments and anything else you can think of. Exercise reduces stress and bike commuters have reported lower stress levels than individuals who drive or use public transport.
Once you have outlayed the cost of your bicycle, or paid your monthly loan fee (yes you can loan a bicycle!) and of course purchased sensible shoes and clothing – your transport cost diminishes to zero!
There is no cost of ever increasingly expensive gasoline to worry about, nor the cost of a train or bus ticket.
Cycling is one of the most efficient forms of human transport, and it will cost you calories. And let’s be honest, most of us have a few of those to spare.
As you are here on The Good Human, I think it is safe to assume that you care about our environment. So besides saving money by leaving your car at home, and of course saving yourself from sprouting grey hairs through stress…. you could even be saving the planet!
I was not really sure which order I should put these first 4 tips to be honest – and even number 5 – they are all so important to us. (Consider this joint first along with all of the others!)
Cycling is such a wonderful way to get to know your significant other and of course your kids better and have some fun with them, in a healthy way! You can point out interesting things to your little ones – teach them about nature, the laws of physics, especially motion. You can play eye-spy, have a race, explore and just have fun.
This can go a whole lot further still, take a look at the Vogel family. They rode their bikes with their two young sons, for 17,285 miles from Alaska to Argentina.
Many people dream of taking off with their children to travel the world. Their dreams are filled with days of visiting the Egyptian pyramids or the Taj Majal. They will travel on buses and planes and boats… But traveling the world on bicycle? With kids? Why? I have now cycled about 27,000 miles with my twin sons, and can tell you that traveling by bike may just be the best way to travel – even with kids!
They make sure that their boys learn what they need to through ‘road schooling’ – you can find out much more about this on their site.
Yes, tip five is another contender for the top spot. What is worth more than our health? We can get into tip top shape, and stay there by incorporating cycling into our daily routine.
Outdoor cycling is better than a stationary bike because of wind resistance, different terrain and the being-in-nature-stress-reduction-factor. It’s a real thing.
Biking will give you a good cardiovascular workout, that you control by the pace you ride at. Plus it puts less impact on your joints than running and other high impact forms of exercise. It preserves cartilage, which is especially important if you are overweight, it won’t overtax your knees.
Cycling, like other forms of cardio, keeps your metabolism up for long after you have finished the activity – allowing you to keep burning calories. Hooray! In fact NutriStrategy report that a relaxing bike ride (<10 mph) burns more calories than an easy walk (2 mph)—281 calories compared to 176 calories per hour.
As well as cardiovascular fitness, cycling is also good for your muscles including your heart. It strengthens your thighs, hips and buttocks, and the more hills you cycle up the better.
The benefits will be visible on the outside, but also hidden from view -as this report shows, it can lead to a decrease in coronary heart disease.
In summary, results from a population sample of cyclists suggest that additional cardiovascular health benefits can be achieved beyond the current minimum physical activity recommendation.
Cycling is great for your mental health too. I am sure you aren’t surprised after what we have discussed, reduction in stress, time to think, improved fitness and weight loss and family time! You can read more about it here.
Studies have shown that moderate activity such as cycling could be linked to a stronger immune system – including protecting against certain cancers.
Even when you consider the risks to cycling – such as pollution from car exhausts and accidents, biking can help you to live longer. This study weighs the outcome against all of the risks.
..and this one finds the same!
cycling for at least 60 min/week in total was associated with a 9% reduced risk of all-cause mortality
This is one for me! Biking can improve your co-ordination. Moving both feet in circles while steering and managing your centre of gravity is great to help with this life skill.
Save time at the gym by cycling there and back – it will not only be your transport, but also your pre exercise warm up, and post exercise cool down. Just be sure to do your stretches afterwards.
If you have suffered an injury, on your legs or other area, biking can be a good way to get back into regular activity. It is easier on your legs than running, being a low impact option.
You don’t have to run to raise funds! There are loads of bike race events which do just the same – check out what is happening in your area there are bound to be cycling events to suit your fitness and a cause that is close to your heart.
The government is helping the growing interest in cycling, by implementing the infrastructure required to make it safer. It can only get better as more and more people choose this form of transport.
“In each of the last five years, federal money has supported 3,000 projects a year for bike lanes, paths and things like that,” says Tim Blumenthal, president of Bikes Belong. “Almost everywhere in the United States, there are better places to bike now than there were five or 10 years ago.”
Cycling is a perfect opportunity to get to know your area better. You can really explore! More so than running, because you cover more ground. Spending time taking in the sights and sounds of nature is also hugely beneficial to your wellbeing.
Cycling is great fun – there is an unforgettable adrenaline rush when you first feel that freedom as a kid. You can enjoy that everyday, connect with your inner kid, pop some wheelies and get out and about.
Number 15 isn’t really a benefit – but I couldn’t leave it out. It is very important because if you don’t stay safe, you undo all of the wonderful benefits we have discussed.
It’s a bit of a lecture – here goes…
Make sure your bike fits you and your kids. That means the frame height, seat and handlebars. If you are not sure, go and have it adjusted by a professional.
Wear a helmet. You already know that head injuries are the biggest cause of biking-related deaths, which, by the way are not only the result of collisions with cars.
Wear visible clothing, especially in the dark – when you should also wear reflective items too.
Wear appropriate shoes – I know the sandals are cute, but please protect your feet.
Be extra careful in during rush hours and bad weather.
Follow the rules of the road – they still apply to you even though you don’t have any engine. Signal your direction with your arms and stop at red lights etc. You know what to do.
So there you have it – plenty of fantastic reasons to get on your bike. What do you think? Are you already an avid cyclist? Or is it not for you? We would love to hear from you.
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