You arrive to your gym after a hard day’s work — it’s time to work out. You start out with a light warm up on the treadmill and you brace yourself for what’s to come. Half an hour on the stationary bike; how will you fill your time? What will you do? Watch an episode on your phone? Listen to your favourite songs in hopes that you don’t accidentally or unknowingly burst out singing and make a fool of yourself? Yeah that’s fine I guess. You hop on, fix your settings and start pedalling your feet. It’s been 2 minutes, you’re doing great. You cover the time with your towel so you don’t find yourself constantly counting the minutes until it’s over, you can’t wait till the time is up, but since you’re here you can use the time to stalk your ex or catch up with some friends via chat. It feels like you’ve been pedalling for quite some time, you’re probably half way through so you take a peek at the time … it’s been 5 minutes, 25 more to go. We’ve all been there and it is boring and it sucks, so what are you going to do about it?
The health benefits you get from cycling are astounding. You increase your body’s metabolic rate (your body’s process of burning calories and fat) throughout the duration of your exercise and for several hours after. Research has found that people who cycle on a regular basis enjoy a fitness level equal to a person who is ten years younger, so we do understand why you might want to hit the gym, but wouldn’t you rather exercise while enjoying some fresh air?
If maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what you’re after, cycling should definitely be on your list. As you are using all of your major muscle groups when cycling, this cardio exercises also helps you build and tone muscles.
Although there is no known remedy for cancer, prevention is cure and studies have shown that cycling can pay a great contribution in that respect. A long term study conducted by Finnish researchers has found that women who cycle frequently reduce the chance of getting breast cancer by 34%. Men who exercise 30 minutes a day are half as likely to develop cancer as those who don’t, and cycling is the recommended go-to activity. If you hate exercising because you have to do it alone, cycling is also something that you can easily do with others.
We all remember those autumn Sunday afternoons where our parents would take us to ride our bicycles somewhere nice in the country side, or the first time you ditched the extra wheels and managed to ride a normal bicycle all by yourself; bicycles make memories and there’s no better way to spend time with you family than encouraging exercise. Encouraging your children to ride bikes is not only beneficial for their health but also for the environment.
One singular person cannot save the planet on their own, but someone has to start. Did you know that 20 bicycles can be parked in a space of one car? The fact that a bicycle contributes nothing to pollution is an added plus to the fact that you use the same amount of energy for walking when you are using a bicycle, and you can get there three times faster. With expensive parking fares and limitations, you often have to walk a long way from your spot to your destination and with a bicycle you can virtually park just about anywhere — even in front of your destination’s doorstep.
Parking fees are not the only thing you don’t have to worry about when using a bicycle. There is no need to pay for insurance, a licence and most importantly, weekly petrol or bus fares. A good bicycle will not cost you much in comparison to what you are getting in return; but you will want to invest in a good bicycle as it will require less maintenance in the long run and it will last for years.
Unfortunately, we can’t just view things from rose-coloured spectacles and as we know, being on two wheels is not without its risks, but a good helmet, reflective gear and a bell of warning device will go a long way to making sure you are safe. Just as you would if driving a car, but perhaps most especially when on a bicycle, make sure you are aware of everything around you and stay alert.
With all these benefits, it is not rocket science to see why you should get off your sofa and jump on a bicycle. Not only does bicycling to work or school help your blood flow and hence improves your working performance, but it is also a great way of avoiding traffic during rush hour. Your boss will thank you, your wallet will thank you and your body will thank you, so what are you waiting for?
© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Carla Gatt