How Cycling Benefits Your Cardiovascular Health in Addition To Extending Your Life
Whether you bike for sport or for fun, May is your month! Biking even just a few miles per day has been shown to add years to your life.
There are so many good reasons to pump those pedals. Commuting by bike to work can help save money on car maintenance and gas. It can help preserve the environment and make for cleaner air. And – not least of all – it is good for your health.
A new study from the University of Glasgow has found that cycling to work is associated with a 46% lower risk of heart disease over five years and a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to those with a more sedentary commute. Overall, the risk of succumbing to premature death was 41% lower.
Cycling provides the same cardiovascular benefits as other forms of aerobic exercise, including walking and jogging. But it may be better tolerated for those who are overweight or who have been sedentary for a long time because it is gentle on the joints.
Biking Burns Calories
Biking can burn a significant amount of calories. On average, a 180 lb. cyclist riding at a moderate level can burn as much as 650 calories per hour!
Bike riding is also a good strengthening exercise for muscles – especially those in the thighs, hips and rear. Add hills to your workout and you will include those strength benefits in your arms and upper body as well.
If you do not have a bike, or if your area is not safe for riding, consider utilizing the stationary bike at your gym (or get one for your home). However, keep in mind that it will be somewhat of a lighter workout than riding outdoors because of the lack of wind resistance or varying terrain. (Compensate by adjusting the tension or pedaling faster to get more a more physically challenging ride!)
May is National Bike Month – a celebration of bike riding that has been recognized nationally since 1956. Within National Bike Month are some special awareness periods, including National Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day.
The National Bike League invites you to get out and ride this May and to use hashtags on social media #WhyIRide and #BikeMonth. The National Bike League is an advocate for a bicycle-friendly America – helping to make bike riding fun and safe for all!
If you find biking to be your passion during the month of May, you may want to sign up for the Great Cycle Challenge 2017 in June and Ride to Fight Kid’s Cancer. Learn more at GreatCycleChallenge.com.
Andersen, Lars Bo; “Active Commuting is Beneficial for Health.” BMJ 2017, Published April 19, 2017
University of Glasgow
National Bike League
I love bicycling.com
By William Murphy - originally posted to Flickr as Dublin Docklands - Get On Your Bike, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons