If, like many, you're beginning to tire of spending your mornings stuck in endless queues of heavy traffic, you may have considered cycling to work. However, asides from allowing you to beat the morning rush, cycling is also a great way to stay fit.
You may feel that once out of the confines of a car, bus or train, you’ll be subjected to all measure of car fumes. This is far from the case and studies have shown that urban cyclists are in fact less exposed to air pollution than those who opt for the bus. Those who choose to cycle or walk appear less exposed to harmful pollutants such as benzene and NO2, despite cyclists breathing in two to three more times air than motorists. Individuals driving a car or sitting on a bus breathe in up to 60% more carbon dioxide. This is certainly something to think about the next time you decide to jump in your car or on the bus.
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Improve Your Fitness
Regular cycling, whether you choose to ride to work or indulge in a bike ride at the weekends with friends and family, is a great way to heighten fitness levels. In fact, just 30 minutes of cycling a day can help you to lose weight, improve your health and reduce stress. Sitting in traffic, on a stationary train or on a long bus journey can have the very opposite effect. This is possibly why cycling is the third most popular leisure activity in the UK, with an estimated 3.1 million choosing two wheels over four every month.
A Broad Appeal
It's not just the young and agile who enjoy a cycle every now and again; it's a great pastime for all. It's also one of the easiest ways to squeeze a little exercise into a busy schedule, especially if you choose to ride to and from work. Riding a bike is an extremely low-impact exercise, yet despite this, it's also a great workout. An hour on a bike can burn more than 650 calories.
Children and Cycling
Riding to school with the kids will not only increase their cardiorespiratory fitness, it will increase yours too. Even if it means setting off a little earlier in the mornings, such an activity will benefit all involved. It is also a great way to prevent your children from becoming restless, as when trapped in a hot, stuffy car, this is often the case.
Reducing the Risk of Health Problems
As well as acting as a great way to stay in shape, cycling boasts a variety of other physical and mental health benefits. It's a proven way to reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart attack and depression. Aside from being a lot more cost-effective than the gym and good for the environment, this low-impact exercise gives your blood vessels, lungs and heart a great workout. In order to stay fit and healthy, it's imperative that you stay active and cycling is certainly one of the easiest and most effective ways to do this.
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How Many Hours Should I Cycle a Week
It takes as little as 2-4 hours a week to improve your health with exercise. This low-impact workout is a great option for those who have suffered from previous sports injuries, as it causes less strain on the muscles and joints. Although walking to and from work is a good way to stay in shape, cycling, despite requiring a low level of skill, lifts the heart rate to a much more advantageous level. There are a number of cycle plans available, more suited to those that wish to work such an exercise method into their daily lifestyle.
Strength and Stamina
Riding a bike, although it may not feel like a major workout, increases your strength, your aerobic fitness and your stamina. You can go as fast or as slow as you desire, which makes it one of the less demanding exercises, yet one that still boasts an abundance of health benefits. Being outdoors gives the rider a buzz and a sense of freedom, especially if you ride home from work after a hectic day stuck in the office. When cycling, you breathe deeper, your body temperature increases and you will perspire - all the factors that contribute to a great workout.
The Health Benefits of Regular Cycling
If you wish to increase your muscle strength and flexibility, whilst improving your joint mobility, cycling may be just the ticket. Other benefits include an increased cardiovascular fitness level, decreased stress levels, lower levels of anxiety and depression, strengthened bones and a reduction in body fat. Riding a bike is also a great way to improve both posture and coordination levels.
Those who suffer from weight issues, yet find certain exercises too straining, will find riding a bike a much easier option. It's a great way to both control and reduce weight as it heightens your metabolic rate, whilst building muscles and burning away any unwanted body fat. Over a year, a daily half-hour bike ride will burn an impressive five kilograms of fat.
If heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure run in your family, it's important to ensure you do everything you can to keep such ailments at bay. Cycling both lowers a resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels, which in turn strengthens your heart muscles. It also improves lung function greatly, regardless of whether you choose to cycle in the city or elsewhere. Studies have revealed that regular cyclists between the ages of 20 and 93 years are less likely to suffer from heart disease.
This just goes to show that cycling, although a less strenuous exercise, can improve physical and mental health whilst keeping a number of ailments at bay.