Sadly, nowadays are bikes not as popular as they used to be and nations make lesser and lesser use out of them. However, the benefits of cycling are almost as endless as country lanes you could soon be exploring. If you’re considering taking up cycling and weighing it up against other potential activities, it’s going to be hands down the best choice you’ve done regarding your health. So let’s take a closer glance at benefits of using bike, the most regular mean of transport in the Netherlands!
- Less stress
Everyone knows that exercise can help reduce stress, but a recent study in the Lancet of over one million (!) participants confirmed that cycling is one of the top stress-busting activities. Riders enjoyed 21,6 percent fewer days of poor mental health compared to those who didn’t ride. This was only second to team sports (22,3 percent), and above other aerobic and gym activities. Simply making your rides group rides can help you reap the social benefits of a team sport and increase the amount of good days you have.
- Calorie burning
Sports physiologists have found that the body’s metabolic rate – the efficiency with which it burns calories and fat – is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards.
“Even after cycling for 30 minutes, you could be burning a higher amount of total calories for a few hours after you stop,” says sports physiologist Mark Simpson of Loughborough University.
- Condition improvement
Because cycling is not a difficult activity and you usually focus more on the places around you, it will pass quickly and you often go further than you have planned. Gradually you do more and more and you also add to the pace without realizing it. This is how you improve your overall condition and cycling has also good effect on your physical and mental health and the immune system.
- Muscle growth
In addition to saving money on car costs, you’ll also save money on a gym membership. Who needs to go to the gym for cycling class when you’re cycling to and from work? You won’t have to worry about how to fit it in your schedule or whether you’ll feel motivated to go to the gym. Instead, you’ll have that push to exercise each day you have to work.
Your muscles get a boost, too. Bike riding strengthens your thighs, hips and rear end. If your route includes climbing hills, your arms and upper body will benefit as you stand to pedal. What’s more, cycling is gentle on your joints and helps preserve cartilage. That’s especially advantageous for women who suffer from muscle strain, foot problems, knee troubles, back pain or impact-related injuries caused by running, jogging or walking.
When you go for a bike ride in spring/summer months, you’ll be rewarded even by browner skin. And combination of activities that help you burn fat and along add something also to the beauty is win mostly for the women.
- Cognitive skills increment
It’s been found that daily exercise can help prevent cognitive decline and sharpen memory and learning. If these things are important to you, bicycling to work is a great way to help keep your mind and body sharp as you get older.
- BICYCLING MAKES STREETS AND CITIES NICER
There’s no doubt about it – people don’t like pollution, including noise pollution, traffic, or unsafe streets. Bicycling cuts down on pollution, noise, and traffic tremendously. Additionally, it makes streets much safer.
While bicycle riding is both fun and great for your health, you need to take some wise precautions to make each ride as safe as possible. Although millions of us enjoy bike riding every day, it’s an inescapable fact that bicyclist injuries and even deaths also occur. So before you hit the road (or trail), make sure you follow these safety tips:
- Wear a bicycle helmet on every ride, no matter how short. Head injuries are responsible for about 85 percent of biking-related deaths. Staying away from cars won’t protect you neither: about 70 percent of bike injuries occur in situations that do not involve a motor vehicle.
- Be visible. Wear bright clothing when riding. Travel in daylight when possible. If night riding is unavoidable, wear reflective clothing (found in bike shops) and use bicycle headlights and rear lights.
- Choose your travel time carefully. When possible, avoid early morning and late afternoon rush hours. Bad weather also lowers visibility and negatively affects handling for both bikes and motor vehicles.
- Obey traffic rules. Bikes must follow the same road rules as other vehicles. Ride in the direction of traffic flow, use hand signals before turning, obey light signals (make a full stop at red lights and stop signs) and yield right-of-way. Ride single file. Keep to the far right of the road except when making a left-hand turn. Stay alert – watch for opening car doors, debris in the road and turning vehicles. Cross intersections carefully.
- Other safety tips: Wear shoes that protect your feet – not sandals. Carry repair gear and a cell phone to call for help if needed. Avoid riding on sidewalks because drivers can’t see you coming at intersections. And don’t drink alcohol if you’ll be cycling, for the same reason you don’t want to drink and drive a motor vehicle. Intoxication leads to serious and even fatal injuries!
All in all, I think cycling is a great way to transport yourself, and now that you know how many advantages does it bring…..why not to choose bike instead of other means of transport at least once? Maybe you’ll find it more efficient and pretty great at the same time!
Have a great day!
a couple of photos from my last “big” bike trip
Source of the particular safety tips: https://www.healthywomen.org/