Cycling Your Way to Good Health

By Monica Wilson on July 24, 2012

Finishing the race by 3 minutes and 21 seconds, Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France award, taking the rank from Mark Cavendish who has won the title for four consecutive years. Wiggins, 32, was the first cyclist to have won both the tour de France and an Olympic track cycling gold.

The tour de France is the most famous and one of the toughest bike races in the world. In this year’s tournament, participants travelled 3,497 kilometres, including tough mountain climbs in the Pyrenees and Alps.

Cycling is a great activity that’s enjoyed by many people from all ages and walks of life. Anyone can engage in this sport – toddlers, kids, adults, working professionals, elderly, and even those who have physical disabilities. So long as you have the right equipment, you can begin your cycling activity. Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise so it’s less likely to cause injury to your joints.

Cycling Reduces the Risk of Chronic Illnesses

By incorporating cycling in your lifestyle, you can protect yourself from some chronic illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, and heart problems.  According to the British Heart Foundation, cycling for 20 miles a week lowers down the risk of developing heart disease by half. Nick Cavill, a public health advisor from Cycling England pointed out that cyclists live longer because they have lower chances of getting cardiovascular diseases. It is also good for the lungs and cuts the risk of certain types of cancer, he added.

The health benefits of cycling extend to those who are at risk of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which is linked with obesity, can be avoided through regular cycling. Why is that?

Among the risk factors of diabetes is obesity. Many studies found that obese people are more likely to suffer from diabetes than the average-weight individuals. According to Cavill, cycling helps you burn 5-10 calories per minute. It’s estimated that a person who weigh 12.6 stones will burn over 650 calories in just an hour of cycling. So aside from preventing diabetes, you can also enjoy a sexier figure.

Cycling Improves Emotional Health

Other than making you physically fit, cycling has positive effects in your mind too. Scientific studies reveal that exercising stimulates the production of endorphins which are responsible for the feeling of happiness. It’s a fun activity that will sure cheer you up. While exercising, you get to enjoy the scenery, breathe some fresh air, and bond with your loved ones. Cycling is best performed with family or friends. There are over a hundred cycling clubs in UK so you won’t find it hard to find cycling buddies.

Cycling Tips for Beginners

You don’t have to be like Wiggins to reap the health benefits of cycling. It’s a great recreational activity for the whole family, for couples, and children. Don’t feel like going out? With the introduction of stationary bikes, it’s possible to experience the benefits of cycling right in the comfort of your home.

While it’s generally safe, you should see your doctor if you have some health concerns. As a beginner, you don’t want to push yourself too much. You can start travelling short distances. Maybe you have an old bike or a 10-speed racer stored in the garage. Just give it some polishing and tuning up then it’s ready.

You want to look for a safe and traffic-free place to start your cycling activity, like a local park. Don’t try going to the mountains yet. It’s not as easy as what you think. Practise manoeuvring your bike using one hand so you can make hand signals from time to time while you’re cycling. If you think you need a professional coach, then look for one.

As you become more familiar with cycling, you can try the advanced cycling techniques and make this sport more enjoyable. Encourage your family and friends and bike your way to improved health!

 

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