Feeling a bit lazy today? Can’t be bothered taking the bike out for a spin? Well here’s a few quick facts about cycling and exercise in general that’ll get you off your behind.
Cycling is an effective and enjoyable form of aerobic exercise. Cycling can reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. It can reduce your ‘real age’, lowering it more than a decade lower than your chronological age.
The indirect health benefits include reducing serious injuries caused by falls in older people, osteoporosis, and hip fractures.
Statistics indicate that cyclists, even those who only travel short distances, can reduce the risk of death by 22 per cent.
The best results are achieved when cyclists are breathing heavily, but are not out of breath. Exercise increases HDL (“good” cholesterol) and reduces the amount of triglycerides in the blood. This means improved cardiovascular health and leads to a reduced chance of heart blockage as well as reducing the risk of stroke. There are some reports that link exercise to a lowered risk of cancer.
Cycling burns the calories in a chocolate bar or a couple of alcoholic drinks in one hour (300 calories). In modern lifestyle terms, that’s a fifteen-minute bike ride, five times a week, burning off 11 pounds of fat a year.
Exercise continues the fat-burning process after your workout has ended. Once the sweating stops the body’s metabolisms remains high. Can you increase the post-exercise burn?
A few scientific studies suggest that exercising for 20 minutes at 35 to 55% of aerobic capacity, as in riding briskly, elevated metabolism for 20 minutes after stopping. That means that a 20 minute, brisk bike ride burns fat for 40 minutes. Cycling has been proven to reduce stress and depression and relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Some have also suggested that 'even a small amount of cycling can lead to significant gains in fitness'. One revealed that aerobic fitness was boosted by 11 per cent after six weeks of cycling 'short distances' four times a week and cycling four miles a day the aerobic benefit increased to 17 per cent.
So – take that bike out for a spin and enjoy!