Cycling is a fun, simple and effective form of exercise that can help get you in great shape. Here are some of the multiple health benefits that can be achieved from even just a few minutes cycling a day.
Weight Loss: A 30-minute bike ride at moderate intensity burns approximately 1255 kilojoules – the equivalent of a regular sized chocolate bar. Do that daily and you will meet the average adult’s recommended daily exercise requirement. According to the World Health Organisation, just 30 minutes of cycling each day can be all the exercise you need to halve your chances of becoming obese or diabetic. And you don’t have to do it all at once – bike for 15 minutes to work in the morning and 15 minutes home in the evening.
Exercise Your Lungs and Your Legs: Because your lungs work harder when you’re cycling, regular cycling will help strengthen your cardiovascular system over time, enabling your heart and lungs to work more efficiently and get more oxygen when it’s needed. This means that when you exercise regularly, it gets easier.
Wellbeing and Productivity: According to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, ﬁve days a week take half as many sick days as those who don’t exercise. Get on your bike and your boss will love you. A study carried out by the University of Bristol found that employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management, and it boosted their motivation and ability to deal with stress.
Brighten Your Mood: Cranking through the kilometres will lift your spirits! Those who exercise regularly are more likely to be happier and satisfied with their life than those who don’t exercise, according to a study undertaken at Vrije University in Amsterdam. Mild to moderate exercise releases natural, ‘feel-good’ endorphins, which help counter stress and make you feel happy.
Better Brain Power: Cycling is good for your brain as well as your body. Research from the University of California shows that aerobic activity, such as cycling, grows new brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for memory. Activities that require balance, quick reactions and decision-making skills – like cycling – have been found to best control ADHD in children and help adults with focus and concentration.
Wake Up! It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you’re feeling tired, go for a ride. Physical activity for even a few minutes is a surprisingly effective wake-up call, according to Dr Mark Rosekind, former chief scientist at Alertness Solutions.
Improve Performance at Work: By commuting to work by bike, you’ll not only arrive feeling relaxed after avoiding heavy traffic, you will also arrive feeling awake and alert having stimulated your blood flow. Exercise has been proven to boost problem-solving abilities as it increases blood and oxygen flow to the head. There is a reason we go outside and walk, run or ride to ‘clear our head’. In fact, often the best thing you can do to solve a tricky problem at work is head out for a ride.