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10 reasons to get on your bike

by Alison Whiteley 22 May 2009


Here are 10 healthy reasons from Physiobench to get on your bike.

1. Cycling burns calories

Commute to work on bike - just a 15 minute ride each way and over the year you'd burn 11 pounds of fat (Modal

2. Cycling is good for your heart

Regular cycling decreases blood pressure, strengthens the heart muscle and increases the levels of HDL "good cholesterol". The incidence of heart disease and heart attack are lower in those who exercise regularly.

3. Cycling is good for the environment

A cyclist needs less fuel than a car, and the fuel a cyclist uses (food) is renewable. Cyclists' emissions are more environmentally friendly too!

4. Cycling is a non- impact exercise

There is no impact when cycling making it good for your joints. The repeated movement of the leg joints causes an increased lubrication effect within the joints.

5. Cycling gives you a feel good factor

People with depression have been shown to have a decreased amount of a chemical called serotonin in their brains. Amongst other things serotonin helps to regulate mood. Exercise causes an increase in the production and release of serotonin thus helping to decrease depression and feelings of stress and to improve mood

6. Cycling reduces the number of colds you'll get

Exercise in moderation improves the immune system meaning you are likely to catch less coughs, colds and other bugs.

7. Cycling keeps your wallet healthy

Once you have a bike the ongoing cost of cycling is negligible whereas sitting in a car in a traffic jam is estimated to cost 12p every 5 mins (Notts Co. Council) There is no parking charges too.

8. Cycling reduces your risk of getting cancer

People who cycle for 30 minutes per day are 13% less likely to get bowel cancer, 11% less likely to get breast cancer and 34% less likely to die of cancer (figures from Cancer Research UK)

9. Cycling increases aerobic fitness

When exercising aerobically muscles draw on glycogen, fatty acids and oxygen from the blood to produce a substance called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) This is the energy that enables muscles to contract. Increasing your aerobic capacity increases your lung, heart and circulatory function as well as increasing individual muscle function.                                                                       

Most cycling is aerobic however if sprinting or working hard up hills the exercise can become anaerobic. (literally meaning in the absence of oxygen)  The muscles then draw on glycogen to produce a contraction. It is anaerobic exercise that causes the formation of lactic acid and that familiar burning sensation in the muscle.

10. Cycling increases muscle strength

Cycling primarily strengthens the thigh muscles: the quadriceps on the front of the thigh and the hamstrings on the back and the calves which are made up of gastrocnemius on the top and soleus.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is written to help you keep healthy. Cycling may not be appropriate for everyone should you have any concerns you should always seek advice from a qualified health professional such as a Chartered Physiotherapist or your GP.

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About the author

Alison Whiteley - Chartered Physiotherapist Alison Whiteley Alison has a special interest in treating cycling injuries and has worked with the Great Britain National Cycling Team, accompanying them to the Olympic games on two occasions.

Did you know

You burn 500 - 600 calories per hour on average when cycling.

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