Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cycling: More Benefits Than You Think

Cycling to work or school has more benefits than you may think. Most people I know think that they would feel strange, they might lose balance, they may have to incur costs if their bike is stolen- every excuse under the sun to avoid riding bikes. However, cycling is very advantageous in more ways that one. Which includes, lowering costs through insurance, lowering travel card costs, plus the excellent health benefits of riding to work, as opposed to taking the tube.

You don’t have to be super-fit to enjoy cycling, and it’s good for you! When looking to lose weight, diets rarely work long-term, regular exercise always does. Any type of regular exercise is of benefit, but cycling is particularly good because fewer injuries occur as a result. Cycling is also a great calorie user, which has various benefits.

According to the British Heart Foundation, cycling at least 20 miles per week reduces the risk of coronary heart disease to less than half that for non-cyclists. Cycling at a gentle 12 mph on a flat road uses 450 kcal per hour. It also makes you feel younger and reduces stress. It is also claimed that cycling raises the speed of your metabolism for hours afterwards, so your body continues to burn calories even after exercise.

Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity (except when going uphill). This is beneficial to the lungs which expand to push as much oxygen into the body as possible and the heart which beats faster to transport this oxygen around your body. A strong heart and powerful lungs form the basis of general fitness. Even if you cycle only a few miles per day, your muscles will gain the benefit, usually becoming trimmer and more toned. The main muscles you use when cycling are the upper thigh muscles, backside, and calf muscles.

Exercising releases what are known as endorphins into your blood - these create a feeling of contentment and happiness, therefore helping to reduce stress. Naturally, if you cycle in pleasant surroundings - your contentment level will be even greater!

My good friend George said “no” to her travel card, and hopped on her bike instead. From my observation, it worked out well- she has saved hundreds of quid a month, plus has lost quite a lot of weight- an all round package that you cannot say “no” to.

Source: / by Jamie Jaggernauth/ photo courtesy of

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