If you ride your bike twice a day, is that recycling?
Now that we have your attention…
Can you handle our bike jokes? Or do you need a brake?
Just kidding! We know those were some wheelie bad jokes! However…
Did you know the month of May consists of two days that are meant to bring people’s attention to bike riding? This month Wednesday May 4th is National Bike to School Day and Friday May 20th is National Bike to Work Day. Since both of these national days fall in May, it’s only fitting to discuss the benefits of riding a bike on a consistent basis. Regular physical activity is necessary to be fit and healthy, and according to Better Health, riding your bike “regularly is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.” Bicycling is an activity and exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages since it is such a healthy, low-impact exercise. What makes riding a bike an even more enticing activity and exercise is that it is fun, cheap (of free if you already own a bike), and good for the environment. With all that being said, bicycling to school, work, or anywhere else in your community is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine your everyday routine with consistent exercise.
According to Better Health, it would only require two to four hours of bicycling each week to achieve a general improvement to your health. If you need any more convincing of why riding a bike is one of the best ways to exercise, check out these bike riding benefits provided by Better Health and Cycling Weekly:
- Low impact – causing less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise
- A good muscle workout – uses all the major muscle groups as you pedal
- Easy – does not require high levels of physical skill
- Increases stamina, strength, and aerobic fitness
- As intense as you want – can be done at a very low intensity or can be built up to a demanding physical workout
- A fun way to get fit
- Better navigational skills and spacial awareness
- Time-efficient – as a mode of transport, riding a bike replaces sedentary (sitting) time spent driving or riding in motorized vehicles with physical exercise
Riding a bike is mainly an aerobic activity, therefore, it helps your heart, blood vessels, and lungs all get a workout. As a result, you will breathe deeper, perspire, and experience increased body temperature which will improve your overall fitness level. According to Better Health and Cycling Weekly, the health benefits of regular bike riding include:
- Increased cardiovascular fitness
- Cardiovascular diseases include stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack. Riding a bike regularly stimulates and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, all reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility
- Improved joint mobility
- Improved posture and coordination
- Strengthened bones
- Decreased body fat levels
- Riding a bike raises your metabolic rate, builds muscle, and burns body fat. All of which help combat obesity and/or control weight.
- Prevention or management of disease
- Cardiovascular (heart) disease as mentioned above
- Evidence suggests that regular bicycling can reduce the risk of bowel cancer and breast cancer.
- Lack of physical activity is thought to be a major reason why people are developing type 2 diabetes at an increasing rate. Research shows that riding a bike for 30+ minutes a day lowers the risk of developing diabetes by 40%. Managing your physical health and regular eye exams can help you avoid or at least catch any conditions in its early stages, such as age-related macular degeneration.
- Decreased stress, anxiety, and depression
- Exercise can boost your mood by the basic release of adrenaline and endorphins, the confidence that comes from achieving new things and getting in shape, and simply by being outdoors.
- Bicycling by yourself gives you time to process and work through worries/concerns, while riding with a group gives the opportunity to broaden your social circle.
- Especially valuable this month (along with every other month and every day in that month) because May is Mental Health Awareness Month!!
- Strengthened immune system
- Mild exercise increases production of essential proteins and wakes up white blood cells, improving your immune system
- Improved sleep
As you can see, there are many good health benefits that go along with bicycling consistently. There are even more benefits that aren’t listed here, while more are being discovered every day. See for yourself why bike riding is such a popular activity and exercise. Join in on riding your bike to school May 4th and riding your bike to work May 20th, or just make every day National Ride Your Bike to School/Work Day!
More details about the benefits of riding your bike can be found in the following resources…