The benefits of bicycling go beyond fitness.
For the next six months the weather in Southern Ontario should be very agreeable to cycling. It is worth considering outdoors cycling seriously if your health, work and residential locations, and schedules could conveniently accommodate it in your daily life.
The benefits it offers are many:
1. Improved Fitness
The motion of cycling, especially uphill and high intensity cycling is a great way to develop muscle. As both the large (quadriceps and hamstring) and small (calf) muscles of the legs work, they become stronger and more developed. Cycling also works to strengthen the core region of the body (the abdominal and back muscles), which is essential for good balance and posture.
2. Improved Health:
Regular exercise has been found to reduce your risks of developing heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
As you develop muscle, not only does your body become leaner and stronger, but its resting metabolic rate is also raised. The higher your resting metabolic rate, the more calories you burn even at rest. So while you’re working at your desk or watching TV, you’re still burning extra calories.
5. Stress Reduction:
Cycling can have positive effects on how you feel. Moderate exercise has been found to reduce levels of depression and stress, improve mood and raise self-esteem, and has also been found to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Cycling can enhance this effect if you bike on scenic routes and natural trails.
6. Better Environment:
If you take your blue boxes seriously, taking up cycling can give you additional satisfaction of having done your share to keeping the environment clean by reducing the emissions of global warming gases.
7. Money Saving:
With high gasoline prices, which are forecast to go even higher, it makes economic sense to switch to less costly means of transport. Take the bike to wherever it is convenient and safe—shopping, work, gym, post office, or visiting a neighbour.
A Word of Caution
If you decide to take up biking, make sure you wear a helmet, protect yourself against UV exposure, and check air quality readings. Ride your bike on bike-friendly roads and streets only. Also, consult your doctor before taking up a new form of physical activity.