Hello everyone. Today’s guest post comes from Jade Evans.
It may not seem like it for those who have not exercised in a long time, but cycling is one of the easier ways to exercise .
As the Huffington Post notes:
“A recent Harvard university study found that biking — even for as little as five minute each day — can stave off weight gain for middle aged women, according to Health.com. The researchers followed more than 19,000 women and found that those who started a five-minute-a-day bike ride routine gained 1.5 fewer pounds than their non-cycling peers over a 16-year period. Those who rode for 30 minutes a day kept off 3.5 more pounds than those who didn’t bike. “Bicycling is an answer to weight control,” lead author Anne Lusk, Ph.D., told Health.com.”
That’s a pretty ridiculous statistic, huh? Want to go out and buy a bike now? If you aren’t convinced, cycling has these benefits as well – and I can tell you from close personal experience that this is true – my father had heart issues over a decade ago and started cycling on the advice of his doctor, and hasn’t had heart issues since!
But to the benefits –
Heart-healthy: Cycling does this in two different ways – riding a bike – like all exercise, increases your heart rate, but in a steady (rather than erratic) manner, which does help to increase your cardiovascular fitness by up to 7%. And according to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%.20 miles! That’s less than 3 miles a day – take a ride into town and back instead of driving, and that is all that it takes!
As well as helping your heart directly, biking helps your heart indirectly, by helping to promote good cholesterol – HDL – and improving your blood chemistry. Cycling has also been shown to help reduce blood pressure.
Weight: While not completely associated with massive weight loss, cycling is a great method of toning your muscles, which in turn slims down your frame. Cycling has also been shown to help keep weight loss down in women, especially if done at a more-than-leisurely pace.
Increased longevity: Cycling has actually shown to help increase lifespan. Cycling has been regularly associated with increased “life-years” by a department of the US government. And if you can do anything to help increase the quality (and quantity) of your years, wouldn’t you want to do it?
Coordination: While we all know that video games can help with our hand-eye coordination, cycling is an activity (or a sport, depending on how you ride) that engages your whole body, which, like other whole-body activities (like, say, dance or yoga) increases your overall coordination. So if you’re too klutzy to show your face in a dance studio, start biking instead!
Whole Body Health: Cycling is also known to help strengthen and promote other systems of your body, including:
- Mental health: cycling during your leisure time or to and from work could potentially increase your overall mental health and wellness.
- Immune system: Not only can cycling boost your overall immune system, but it has been well documented that cycling can help improve your body’s defenses and abilities to fight cancer.
- Joints and muscles: Especially in the lower body, biking has been shown to build muscle and increase joint flexibility. As biking in the lower body is rather low-impact, it allows for those with injuries to the hips and knees to exercise when they otherwise might not be able to be physically active.
Overall, cycling is quite good for you! Even if you aren’t a courier, biking madly around the city, a little bit of a jaunt on your bike cannot do too much harm. There are risks attached to cycling, though, so before you start seriously cycling, talk to your doctor about your current state of health and the unique risks that cycling may present for you.
About the Author:
Jade Evans is a freelance writer who works frequently with uShip, an online shipping marketplace that offers everything from couriers to long distance or cross country moving assistance.