When the skies are clear and the weather is kind, there are few better ways to spend your time outdoors than bike riding. Cycling is a favorite pastime in southeast, especially with a variety of beautiful mountain trails. In honor of May being National Bike Month, SEARHC has put together a list of health benefits that you can get from strapping on your helmet and cruising on your favorite two-wheeler.
Exercise that is fun
Many of us remember that feeling of happiness during childhood when we first learned how to ride a bicycle. That taste of fear mixed with excitement as you wobbled back and forth, fighting for balance, and the moment you felt confident enough to lean into the speed, letting go of the brake, and letting yourself fly. As adults, we know we have to stay active to keep ourselves healthy. Bike riding is one of those activities that is both healthy and fun to do making it an easy way to remain active.
Helps you lose weight
Any combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise will help you in reaching your weight goals. Biking is especially popular because it is a lower impact on the body than other exercises. For example, when you run or jog, your joints and muscles are bearing the full load of your weight on every stride. So, even though you are burning calories and fat, there is a larger risk of injury due to the load bearing strain on your body. With bike riding, your weight is distributed across your bike frame so you can strengthen your muscles without putting too much pressure on your joints. This allows you to bike more without injury. This is important when exercising for weight control.
Lower your risk of cancer
Research shows that cycling can help reduce your risk of bowel and breast cancer. Many studies show there is a positive relationship between regular exercise and lowering your risk for lung and colorectal cancer as well. For people who choose to use their bicycle as their main way to commute to work, cycling cut the risk for cancer and heart disease in half, according to a recent study from the University of Glasgow.
Keeps your heart and lungs healthy
When you use your bike often, you are building up your heart muscles because blood is being pumped throughout your body to circulate oxygen. This improves your entire cardiovascular system and the circulation of air within your lungs. Studies have also shown that bike riding exposes you to less air pollution than those who use their cars regularly. These health benefits, in combination with the weight loss cycling brings, can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease.
Cycling helps lower stress
Since bike riding is such an enjoyable experience, many people do it to reduce stress and maintain mental health. Regular exercise produces natural chemicals within your body that boost your mood. Bike riding has the added benefit of being a social sport that you can do with friends and family. This can help reduce depression and anxiety.
Remember, riding your bike is a fun, healthy way to exercise that doesn’t put too much strain on your body but will help protect you from serious health issues later in life. Stay tuned for more bike riding tips from SEARHC during National Bike Month!