The NHS is currently suffering a pandemic of preventable illnesses that are connected to physical inactivity. With conditions such as heart disease and diabetes on the rise, it is more important than ever to encourage the public to get active.
While every sport has its own merits, cycling is said to be one of the most beneficial. Seeing the potential of this pastime, the UK government has invested in promoting cycling in recent years. London’s Santander Cycles scheme is a perfect example of this; it involves 70 docking stations and over 11,000 bikes around the capital. Such strategies allow people to rent a bike at a low cost. Bike share systems have also begun to pop up in Britain, with companies such as Nextbike appearing in Glasgow and Mobike in Manchester.
Still not convinced? Read on for the multiple ways cycling can enrich your life and even improve the environment around you.
Cycling is said to burn around 500 calories per hour. If done on a regular basis, this could significantly contribute to weight loss.
The body works a number of different muscles when cycling. These include the quadriceps in the thighs, the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calves and the gluteus muscles in the buttocks. Over time—and with regular cycling—these muscles will grow, tone up and strengthen.
Cuts heart disease and cancer risk
Cycling is an aerobic activity that can improve the cardiovascular system by pumping blood around the body. This can effectively reduce the risk of developing heart disease and various types of cancer.
With local transport fares steadily rising, swapping your yearly ticket for a bicycle can work wonders on your wallet. Furthermore, there are now systems in place that are designed to help employees obtain a bike more easily—the Cycle to Work scheme being one of the most effective.
Good for the environment
Road traffic is a major source of pollution. If more people opted to cycle, the environment would dramatically benefit in terms of reduced carbon emissions, noise pollution and congestion.
Cycling is a low-impact exercise, which means it is kinder on your joints than other activities. Cycling is also unique in the way it gives you the power to determine your gear, speed and resistance—allowing you to follow a regime that adheres to your fitness level.
Improves mental wellbeing
A study conducted by the YMCA in 2016 reviewed 1,000 UK adults. It found that people with physically active lifestyles had a wellbeing score that was 32 percent higher than those with inactive lifestyles.