Cycling is growing more and more popular in the UK after our success at the London 2012 Olympics, and with schemes across the country pushing for better cycling paths now could be the perfect time to invest in a bike. Not only is cycling a great way to get from A to B, but it is also fantastic for your health. Here are our top health benefits of riding a bike- we hope they encourage you to get out on the road!
1) Cycling is kind to your joints
Cycling is a low impact sport and does not have the same damaging effects on your knees as running. In fact, cycling is actually good for the mobility of hip and knee joints.
2) Cycling improves cardiovascular fitness
Studies have shown that regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by 50%. The reason? Research indicates that cycling to work can enhance the functioning of the cardiovascular system by 3 to 7 per cent.
3) Cycling helps you lose weight
Cycling is thought to burn around 300 calories an hour. And as well as losing fat you will tone up the muscles in your calves, thighs and pelvic region. In fact, some research suggests that cycling can help get rid of the dreaded orange peel- cellulite.
4) Cycling aids your mental health
Regular exercise is actually prescribed by medical professionals to aid with anxiety and depression. It also helps boost self-esteem and produces ‘feel-good’ endorphins. And because cycling takes place outdoors, you will be breathing in fresh air which can help lower your stress levels.
5) It can be part of your daily routine
Riding a bike can easily be incorporated into your life. It is estimated that 70 per cent of all car trips are less than five miles, whether that be to work, the shops or over to a friend’s house. Why not see whether you can replace some of those journeys with a bike ride?
6) It boosts your immune system
According to a study from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week take half as many sick days as those who do less exercise. It is thought that moderate exercise makes immune cells more active so they are ready to fight off infection.
7) Cycling makes you look younger
Scientists believe that regular cycling can reduce signs of ageing by delivering oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells more effectively and flushing toxins out. But don’t forget the sun cream!
8) Cycling builds strength
Whilst it is obvious that cycling increases your leg strength, it also helps strengthen other muscles in your body such as your abs and your core strength.
So there you have it- your top health benefits of cycling. But to ensure you stay safe whilst out on the road, make sure you are kitted out with a well-fitting helmet and all the necessary safety equipment such as lights and reflective clothing. Other ways to stay safe include covering up with sun cream to protect your skin, and making sure you are covered for private physiotherapy on your health insurance in case of accidents and injuries!
About the Author
Chloe writes for a private health insurance comparison website, where you can compare medical insurance quotes and buy your health insurance policy online.