If you’re looking for fun ways to get out and about and perhaps shed a few of those extra pounds that might have crept up on you lately, why not dig out that bicycle you’ve had stored away and swap those flip flops for trainers?
Pedal power is a wonderful way to stay fit and healthy, giving you a terrific workout whilst seeing some great sights. With Bike Week from 9th to 17th June this year, many people are rethinking how they exercise and some are making cycling an integral part of their day-to-day lives.
Some countries are already way ahead here, like Holland, the perfect example of how bike riding can so easily be integrated into everyday life. Come rain or shine, the Dutch can be found zipping through their cities on their trusty (and often rusty) two-wheeled friends. And there’s no need to put on the lycra gear either if you don’t want to – everyday cycling is for anyone who needs to get somewhere – young, old, sporty or not – while the social, health and environmental benefits go without saying.
So whether you are looking to get on your bike just for fun or as a means of getting around, cycling is an extremely convenient and invigorating way to travel. Here are just some of the health benefits:
Fitness even if you don’t think you have time
Instead of getting in the car for short journeys, you might use your bicycle to get there instead. Cycling can be quicker than sitting in traffic jams and going around in circles trying to find a place to park. Even better news is that it only takes between two and four hours of cycling in total per week to notice a general improvement in your health.
And it’s well worth it: regular cycling can prevent conditions like heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. It is essentially one of the gentlest ways to reduce your risk of health problems that can arise from an over-sedentary lifestyle.
Cycling helps to strengthen your legs and lower body, and if your journey involves climbing a few hills, then your arms and upper body can benefit too if you raise yourself off the seat to pedal.
What’s more, because cycling is a low-impact exercise, it is gentle on your joints. Therefore, it helps those who suffer from joint pain if jogging or strenuous walking have started to become a problem. Obviously, like any exercise, warming up properly beforehand is important if you want to help avoid injury even more.
You can get the same cardiovascular benefits from cycling that you might get from any other form of physical exercise like walking, jogging or dancing. Cycling can be a great way to get outdoors into the fresh air and get a good work out, whilst at the same time exploring cycle routes around where you live that you might not normally see.
Biking as part of your daily routine can also help in the fight against gradual weight gain that so many of us suffer from in our modern lifestyles.
So, instead of sitting in traffic in a car or travelling short distances on the bus, why not take up pedal power as a healthier way to travel about each day?
Most people find getting out in the fresh air on a bike is an enjoyable way to get fit as running or other physical exercise becomes harder to maintain. You can head out alone or get the family together for a weekend ride. Those with a competitive streak, you can join a local cycling club and take part in races.