Health Professionals Urge the Public to Ride Bikes More Often
With emissions from automobiles polluting our air quality and the development of technology promoting a more sedentary lifestyle, scientists and health professionals around the world are urging people to ride their bikes more often as a mode of transportation and exercise. After analyzing 263,450 individuals traveling to work using various methods, researchers found that the group that cycled to work were 41% less likely to die from all causes. With the data gained from this longitudinal study, scientists are now even more adamant about the significant health benefits of biking.
Whether it’s the daily commute or a trip to the supermarket, carving out time for biking can be a simple yet effective way to improve your mental and physical health without having to make major adjustments to your lifestyle. Even better, bikes can be very inexpensive, especially when bought used, meaning they’re accessible to many.
Physical Benefits of Biking
Depending on your age and physical condition, some forms of exercise can be more appropriate than others. Riding your bike is considered a relatively low impact exercise, which means it causes much less strain on your body than something like running. Providing you take necessary precautions like wearing a helmet and using proper biking lanes, this generally means you’ll have less chance of injury engaging in this kind of exercise.
Riding a bike is also an ideal form of exercise if you’re looking to lose weight because of its aerobic nature. You get both conditioning and muscle training while burning plenty of calories. While it may not be as intense of an aerobic workout as say jogging, you’re able to save your knees and joints from the wear and tear. Speaking of joints, spending time on a bike can help keep joints loose and mobile, preventing chronic aching and stiffness.
If you’re looking to build muscle in your lower body and core, biking can be an effective way for strength building. While it may not be great for building upper body strength, it can also simultaneously improve bone strength as well. Bone strength tends to decrease as one ages, it’s important to engage in activities that promote this.
Mental Health Benefits of Biking
Additionally, spending at least 20 minutes a day outside in green spaces, such as a park or bike path, is believed to reduce stress, lower the chances of depression, and improve overall mental wellbeing. Riding your bike is a great way to spend time outdoors because you’re doing so at the same time as getting from point A to point B. This way, you won’t have to necessarily carve out time in the day for outdoor exercise if you’re doing while in transit. Whether you listen to music or just the ambient sounds, going for a bike ride just for the sake of it is a great way to calm your mind and relieve feelings of stress. In fact, even a short bike ride can send a rush of endorphins into your brain, improving overall mood.
Riding your bike can be a social activity as well as a practical one. For example, going for a ride with friends can be a great way to spend time together. Additionally, if you’re a parent, you could use the time to teach your kids a new skill, deepening your bond together. As you grow older, making sure to keep close with friends and family through activities like biking is so important to stave off loneliness and depression. Weekend bike rides can be a great family activity because it’s easy for everyone to get involved.
Environmental Benefits of Biking
Finally, there’s no denying the fact that riding a bike is extremely beneficial for the environment. Sure, it’s not necessarily practical to completely ditch your car, but if it’s possible for you to make some journeys by bike instead, then consider doing so. In fact, analyzation of data collected from the car travel restrictions of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 resulted in an ozone concentration decrease of 28%. Additionally, hospital visits for asthma decreased by 41%. We should all try to do our bit for the environment, and riding a bike instead of driving is an effective contribution.
Riding your bike is not only a great way to stay fit and healthy, but it’s also beneficial for your mental health. The fact that it’s got a low environmental impact just makes it even better. This article barely touches on the benefits of riding your bike, but hopefully, it’s enough to convince you to get involved. We encourage you to take your bike out for a spin with friends and family this weekend!