Why We Ride—It Keeps Us and Makes Us Healthy

Cycling is such an easy and fun way to stay or get healthy

You don’t have to look very far to know that western society has an increasing set of health problems largely connected to excessive weight. The list is long and ugly (you likely know most of them). And, while the multi-billion dollar (and largely ineffective) diet industry would have us believe that just changing what we eat can fix the problem, the reality is that lack of exercise is an inescapable part of the problem.

Bike Rx image from polyp.co.uk

Cycling—Your “easy to integrate into your life” health prescription

Britain’s National Health Service suggests that adults need at minimum 150 minutes of exercise a week. They also note that cycling is a very easy way to reach that goal. If you cycled to work with a fifteen minute trip one-way (around 5K) you would meet your minimum exercise needs just by getting back and forth to work, something you already have to do everyday! No getting up early to go to the gym. No extra clothes. No extra workouts. No precious minutes out of your busy day. No extra anything.

But why leave it there? Everything you do on top of this is bonus exercise and is going to work to get you healthier. So your fun runs with friends, family or both are all extra money in the health bank. No gym membership required. No expensive diet plan. Just plain fun.

Study after study has shown the health benefits of cycling. Google “Health cycling” and you have over 200 million hits (not scientific, we know, but you get it). Cycling builds strength, increases muscle tone, builds stamina, improves cardio-vascular fitness, eats up calories, it improves heart health, improves coordination, it reduces stress, it is a brain workout, it stimulates the immune system, it helps protect your joints, it strengthens your bones, it reduces your chances of developing chronic diseases, it helps balance cholesterol levels…the list goes on. While other forms of exercise also give you these benefits, cycling is easy on your body, so injury related to doing the exercise is really low with cycling. Yes, there is the risk of a crash, but it is very low compared to the overall health benefits of riding.

We can’t come up with an easier way to get real exercise into a real life. Walking, while great, does take up a lot of time, so, on an “easy to integrate into a busy life” scale, cycling is a great choice. Cycling is an easy way to stay healthy and an easy way to get back into a healthy lifestyle.

So, as the famous ad line goes: just do it! Roll on!

Of course, before starting any exercise routine or making big changes in your lifestyle, see your doctor first, just in case. Chances are, they’ll approve; nearly all the main medical associations support cycling as a route to better health [e.g.].

Not convinced? Find out more about the link between good health and cycling.

Why we ride explains, one reason at a time, why folks in Peterborough like to ride bicycles. It is a crowdsourced list so, tell us why you ride, either as a comment below or, preferably, by email, so we can include it as a “Why We Ride” post. We would love to hear more reasons to ride.

Bike Rx image from the very clever Polyp the cartoonist (copyright reserved).