All of us would have cycled in our lives, many during childhood and some even after growing up, for reasons including the pure thrill of cycling, passion, necessity, and even as a sport. Most of us would have found cycling immensely enjoyable and liberating. However, the findings of a recent study on benefits of cycling to work are sure to rekindle the interest among cycling enthusiasts and novices alike.
Cycling to work is believed to cut down the risk of cancer and heart disease. What’s more, it’s a fun and economical way to go to work or reach any other destination. Don’t you dread cancer, heart disease, any disease for that matter, and wish to lead a life sans medication and hospitalization?
The Many Benefits of Cycling to Work
Let’s look at how we can derive benefits from an activity some of us are already passionate about. Cycling for health may be one of the best reasons, here’s why.
The Best Form of Aerobic Activity
Cycling is a low-impact, low-cost, full muscle workout, is not hard on the knees, and provides complete aerobic fitness when compared to walking or running, which put stress on the joints.
It builds muscle and bone strength. It also decreases body fat, as obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are contributing factors to developing cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. If you want to lose weight, then try cycling regularly to work with the combination of a healthy diet and you can get there in no time. With regular cycling, you can increase your metabolism, burn fat, and build muscle. All factors required when combating obesity.
Cycling encourages you to try all intensity levels without worrying about any side effects. Around 30 miles per week is the suggested optimal level to reap the health benefits of cycling.
Diabetes and Cycling
The reduced amount of time spent doing physical activity per day has increased the rate of type 2 diabetes in most people today. Cycling to work proves to be an easy way to combat the condition and conveniently transport you to work at the same time. Just spending 30 minutes cycling a day can actually lower your risk of getting diabetes.
Furthermore, Diabetes can lead to even more serious conditions like heart disease or kidney disorders. By cycling to work every day, combat the risk by making your cells convert that excess blood glucose into energy.
Cycling to work not only takes you to work in the most economical way possible but it can also be a fun activity. While you enjoy riding your bike, this can reduce stress and anxiety that you might feel from the pressure at work. It is common knowledge that playing a sport reduces stress and also depression, so why not replace that with cycling?
The benefits of cycling are that as you ride to work you can clear your mind, help keep fit, and have fun in the process.
Lowers Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease
A study conducted by a research team from the University of Glasgow suggests that cycling can lower the risk of cancer by 45 percent and heart disease by 46 percent. Wow! It also lowers the risk of premature death from other causes by 41 per cent.
It improves cardiovascular health, aids in weight loss, and the fun aspect of it improves mental health conditions. When you commute to work and make cycling a part of your daily routine, you are not required to set aside any other time for exercise.
The question of having the willpower to get active also doesn’t arise because usually people are required to commute to work at least five days a week. This means the daily recommended amount of physical activity becomes a part of your routine.
What a way to combine exercise, work, and daily routine! Want to know how cycling helps mitigate cancer and heart disease risk? Read on…
Cancer Risk Mitigation is Linked to Cycling
Though yet to be proved, certain studies point to a link between cancer risk mitigation and staying physically active and exercising. However, a recent study says that cycling to work, rather than driving a car or using public transport, reduces cancer risk by half.
An epidemiologist from the Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in the U.S., Dr. Marilie Gammon says that exercise may help repair DNA damaged by substances that promote the growth of cancer cells. Studies also recommend a weekly four hours of physical activity to prevent heart disease.
These also suggest that even overweight people can benefit from a reduction in cancer risk by exercising and losing weight. Therefore, one of the benefits of cycling seems to be helping you shed an inactive and sedentary lifestyle.
Heart Disease Risk Mitigation is Linked to Cycling
Studies indicate that physical activity such as cycling is a heart-healthy workout. It is known to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and the circulatory system. These systems carry blood and oxygen to and from your muscles and heart and help regulate your blood pressure as well.
These positive effects are extended to the lining of the blood vessels, and may also mitigate hardening of arteries or accumulation of plaque in your arteries, which are age-related health complications. All of these factors help you have a healthy heart. So, stationary commuters: Beware!
Cycling is Green
Can you imagine all the emissions that you breathe in while waiting in traffic? Whether in a vehicle or not, the pollution from the air is entering your lungs from cars, motorbikes, buses and more. But by cycling, you can manage to stay on the sidelines from the traffic, inhale fewer fumes and exercise in the process.
Millions of people die annually due to the lack of good air quality, try to stay away from fumes as best as you can. One of the benefits of cycling is that you can avoid all of this.
The number of cars on the road is increasing tenfold due to overpopulation and reduced car prices. This is creating a strain on environmental resources just to make the vehicles. The pollution from cars and the wasted car parts that go to junkyards are destroying the environment and air quality.
By opting to travel by bicycle, you are choosing the pollution and emission free alternative. It takes less resources to make the cycle and they take up less space than other vehicles, which is better for parking and getting through traffic.
Active Commuters Versus Stationary Commuters
Stationary commuters who drive to work or avail public transport typically lead a sedentary lifestyle. They miss out on all health benefits that can otherwise be derived from active commuting, such as cycling. Procrastinating exercise sometimes becomes permanent in their case as they may need to devote separate time for their daily exercise.
Active commuters on the other hand, do have the choice of either cycling all the way to work, or adopting a mixed mode of transportation, depending on the distance to be covered and convenience, as long as the greater part of the commute involves cycling.
The article Top 10 Reasons Why Cycling is Better than Driving is extremely reassuring!
Walking Versus Cycling
If you compare walking to cycling in terms of health benefits, you’ll find that walking to work may be a good enough exercise, but it does not provide the same health benefits as cycling.
Walking to work is said to lower the risk of heart disease by 27 per cent; there is no indication to its link with a lower risk of cancer or premature death. So, walkers, your activity hasn’t gone in vain, but you can get on to a bicycle, and double the benefits for yourselves.
How to Address Challenges in Cycling to Work
You can keep additional sets of formal wears at your workplace, carry sweat wipes to feel fresh at work, fix a rear rack, or hitch a trailer if you have work-related things to carry or home errands to complete.
If you want to bring more fun to your passion of cycling, enjoy your commute by riding along with a co-worker. Enjoy the adventure in the ride and the nature around. I am rushing to buy my bicycle, what about you? If you already have one, start pedaling to work from tomorrow.
You can show you care for the environment too, by not burning petroleum and reducing your carbon footprint. Here’s wishing you luck for a leaner and healthier you! You can also make a style statement by cycling to work and make people look up to you in admiration.
Read the article: 9 Cycling Guidelines for Beginners if you are a newbie, it’s immensely encouraging!
Let us know about your cycling experiences in the comment box. Help us inform more people about the benefits of cycling to work for a healthier and greener future!
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