On Your Bike: Benefits of Cycling

It’s becoming increasingly apparent just how bad our driving habits are for the environment. It seems emissions are in the news every week, with neither diesel nor petrol cars safe from criticism. And rightly so – did you know that Leamington Spa is one of the worst places for air pollution in the UK? It exceeds the World Health Organisation’s upper limit for air pollution levels, which can contribute to health concerns like stroke, heart disease and lung cancer. Our driving habits are having a real-life impact not only on the planet, but also on our health.

 

Cycling is both a planet- and health-friendly alternative to driving. You can pick up a serviced, reconditioned adults’ bikes from just £40 at Action 21’s Re-Useful Centre. Whether an alternative for the commute in the car, or simply for a leisurely ride through the park, cycling definitely has its perks.

Cycling has a variety of perks, both for the planet and for your health

Cycling has a variety of perks, both for the planet and for your health

It Counts Towards Your Recommended Exercise

 

We spend more time sitting and sedentary than ever before. The NHS recommends we get 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise – the kind that gets your heart rate up. A 2013 study by Bristol University suggested that up to 80% of adults weren’t getting the recommended amount of exercise. Even if you swap a couple of days of commuting by car for a bicycle, you could be well on your way to hitting your exercise target without even having to hit the gym!

 

It’s Low Impact, Full-Body Exercise

 

Cycling is a great alternative to high-impact exercises like running, which can exacerbate bad joints. Studies suggest that it can help prevent arthritis by strengthening bones and increasing joint mobility. It also is an effective exercise choice, because it requires the use of the whole body. Your legs may be doing a lot of the hard work, but your core (your abdominal muscles) are crucial for keeping you balanced and upright!

 

It Gets You Outside

 

Not only are we spending more time seated than ever before, we’re also spending more time inside. The benefits of getting outdoors are almost endless: they include mood-boosting benefits of light exposure and higher Vitamin D levels, helping to improve anxiety and depression, and lowering stress levels. Just remember to wear sunscreen!

 

 

It Has Unexpected Perks

 

Did you know that studies suggest that regular cycling can help you look younger, increase your brain power, and get you thinking more creatively? That’s in addition to the reduced risks of cancer, heart disease, stroke and obesity that regular cyclists enjoy.

 

Even more surprising? Cyclists get less exposure to harmful air pollution than car, bus, and taxi passengers. Research by Imperial College London suggests that a passenger in a taxi will be exposed to twelve times more pollutant particles in the air than cyclists.

 

 

 

It would be mad to think everyone could make every journey by bike instead of car, but switching out a couple of journeys, or a simple leisurely bike ride on the weekends, helps contribute to a healthier planet and body. You can find both adult and children’s bikes at the Action 21 Re-Useful Centre – they’ve been fully serviced and help to reduce our landfill burden. Warwickshire County Council has handy cycle route maps available here, for both experienced and more nervous cyclists! Don a helmet, get out in the sunshine, and enjoy the perks of a good bike ride with family or friends.