10 Reasons To Get Back On Your Bike
After six months of broken New Year’s resolutions, the summer has finally arrived; hopefully, the weather should be enough to persuade you to get back on your bike and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re commuting, riding for fitness or just riding for fun, there’s no time like the present to roll your bike out of the garage and get pedalling to your next destination.
If you’re still on the fence and need a bit more persuasion, we’ve compiled a nice little list containing a tiny fraction of the countless benefits of riding your bike. No matter where you’re going – it’s always more fun on two wheels!
Now let’s take a look at these great reasons to get riding:
Beat The Traffic
Although cars can obviously travel faster than bicycles, their size prevents them from using their speed efficiently. In many cases, especially if you’re commuting in a large city, travelling by bicycle usually cuts your travelling time in half. Cars spend a lot of their time going nowhere because they’re stuck in traffic; bicycles are fast enough and nimble enough to avoid getting caught in jams meaning that you can find an alternative route to get to work faster!
This isn’t just about commuting either; bikes are just generally more efficient than cars, especially in areas with heavy traffic so make the most of your bike and beat the traffic for work, rest and play!
Research has proven that cycling can help a lot of sleep problems. If you have trouble nodding off in the evening, a cycle ride of about twenty to thirty minutes a few times a week could be the cure. Insomnia sufferers were asked to cycle regularly over the period of a week and the results were incredible: the time taken for the patients to fall asleep was halved and they even managed to sleep an hour longer. The science behind it explains that exercising outside exposes the patient to natural light which lowers stress hormones and allows your body to synchronise it’s natural sleeping rhythms.
Scientists have also discovered that a regular cycling regime can help your skin defend itself from harmful UV rays that speed up the ageing process and damage your skin cells. Cycling combats these problems by using your increased circulation to pump more oxygen and nutrients through the body, especially to the skin, flushing out all of the harmful toxins on the way. The exercise also helps the body to create an effective collagen production cycle, which will help to reduce your wrinkles and make your skin look much healthier and younger in general.
Body And Mind
The effects of cycling on the body are well documented: it’s improves your fitness, overall endurance, reaction times and it’s good for your insides too but did you know that cycling is just as good for your most important body part, your brain?
Research has found that a healthier body makes for a healthier mind; improved fitness can boost your brain power by up to fifteen percent. Cycling is a great way to get fit but the raised cardio-respiratory activity helps boost the blood and oxygen flow to your brain, allowing your brain to build new brain cells. Usually, these cells begin to deteriorate from the age of thirty onwards but at a much slower rate if you’re a regular cyclist. Exercise in this way also helps ward off Alzheimer’s disease too.
Improve Your Work Ethic
It’s no secret that exercise is good for you – we all know that but it’s worth remembering that if you’re cells are more active, they’ll be able to fight infection much more easily. A recent study in the US found that employees who regularly cycled to work took less than half as many days off work than their car driving colleagues.
If you can keep your attendance record high, keep your fitness levels high and actively help your company keep it’s carbon emissions down, surely you’ll be regarded as a model employee? If you’re ranked highly in the eyes of your boss, who knows how you could be promotes? It’s worth keeping in mind!
The Long Run
So we’ve agreed that cycling helps you sleep, helps prevent ageing of the mind and body and may well boost your career, right? Now all you need is a longer life span that allows you to enjoy all of your rewards but if you’ve followed the advice this far, you’re already on course for a longer life.
Tests have proven that regular cyclists lower their chances of succumbing to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity and all forms of cancer. The regular exercise regime enables the body to become more efficient at protecting itself from harmful diseases, to the point where your body is biologically younger than it’s numerical value. Not bad at all.
A longer life needs a healthy planet to exist so why should you consider making cycling your number one form of transport? Bicycles are easy to manufacture than cars, requiring less material and energy to make and they also transport you from A to B three times faster than walking, without a single exhaust emission. As a cyclist, you’re the bicycle’s engine and you can complete more miles without ‘filling up’ than any car ever could (if we consider your food consumption as fuel, rather than the fossil fuel equivalent!).
Switching from a car to a bicycle may seem like a drop in the ocean in the fight to save the planet but the more people do it, the more we can improve our environment and preserve our planet for future generations.
Work, Rest And…Play?
To make those ‘future generations’ you’ll have to be in tip-top sexual health and cycling really does help to improve your sex life. Improved vascular health naturally boosts your sex drive and preserves it for longer too. In fact, one study has shown that fit, male athletes are more sexually healthy than those up to five years younger. The same is for females too; if you’re physically fit you can avoid and delay the menopause up to a similar amount of time.
Now for some scare tactics, gentlemen: another study has shown that males aged over 50 who regularly cycle have lowered their risk of impotence by up to thirty percent. If that’s not a legitimate reason to get cycling then what else is?
Unlock Your Sense Of Adventure
If you can remember the moment when you first pedalled a bicycle forward, unassisted, without falling off, you should be able to remember the incredible feeling of freedom and satisfaction that it gave you too. Your boundaries shifted and every day was a chance to explore and adventure into the unknown, armed with nothing more than a bicycle and a bottle of water. You can still experience those same emotions and have just as much fun but only if you leave the car at home. What you need to do is leave your GPS and your map behind and cycle somewhere new, somewhere where a car can’t take you and relish every moment of it.
Replace Your Addictions
Cycling is addictive but in a positive way. If you’re addicted to the usual suspects of alcohol, tobacco or chocolate then try and cycle your way out of these bad habits. If you crave a cigarette then go out for a ride instead – you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll forget about the nicotine fix! If you can replace an addiction with a positive one that physically benefits you then you’ll be able to live a happier and healthier life in the long run!