On yer bike – pedal your way to better health

By on 21/06/2013 in Blog

Looking for a way to get in trim, relive happy childhood memories and look after the planet? As we come to the end of Bike Week, Birmingham Public Health's Mark Roscoe insists it's time to get on your bike.

I think we can all recall the first time we rode our bike. Memories of stabilisers being removed or that moment when you realise the person that used to hold the back has let go without your knowledge… Despite the bumps and bruises we all gained a skill for life.

And we can all relive those happy memories by simply getting back on our bikes. Aside from the many environmental benefits, cycling is a great way to get the whole family involved in getting active, improving their health and making fitness fun.

It's simple enough, all you need is a sturdy roadworthy bike, some basic safety gear and the rest is pedal power. Did you know that cycling is the third most popular recreational activity in the UK, enjoyed by an estimated 3.1million of us on a regular basis?

Cycling is also one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine because it’s also a form of transport. It saves you money, gets you fit and is good for the environment. So it's time to dust off your helmet, get those tyres checked.

You won't just have a lot of fun; you'll soon start to reap the physical and mental benefits. Increasing physical activity has the potential to improve the physical and mental health of the nation, reduce all-cause mortality and improve life expectancy.

It can also save money by significantly easing the burden of chronic disease on the health and social care services. Regular cycling can help you lose weight, on average you can burn more than 650 calories with an hour's riding .

You'll also:

  • improve your fitness levels
  • combat illness
  • sleep better
  • improve your motivation
  • reduce stress.

Cycling is low impact exercise, so it's easier on our joints than aerobics and running. It will help you get in shape without too much wear and tear.

Regular cycling will also improve your cardiovascular fitness, increase your metabolic rate and increase your lung capacity.

Studies show that cycling is a great pick me up if you're feeling tired and will lift your spirits by releasing natural feel-good endorphins.

That's why four times more GP's are now prescribing exercise therapy as the most common treatment for depression. You could also do your bit for the environment by swapping the car for the bike as a form of transport, you'll often get to work faster especially if you work in a built up area plus you'll be saving a few bob on petrol.

Finally, you could enjoy spending quality healthy time with your family/partner or even make friends by joining a cycling club.

Whether you're a first-time cyclist, a cycling commuter or recreational family cyclers, just bear in mind that Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton had to start somewhere!

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