Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: April 26, 2021
Riding a bike is a common form of transportation in many places. There are 450,000,000 bikes in China. In Denmark, nine out of 10 people own a bike, whereas just four out of 10 own a car. Here in the United States, cycling is more often done for leisure. However, reserving it just for weekends is a missed opportunity in terms of health, the environment, and economics. Here are eight reasons to consider cycling more, and why it deserves to be our next favorite thing.
- Good for your body. Riding a bike has been linked to many health benefits. For example, it strengthens your heart muscle, while improving the lungs and circulation. It also lowers your resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels, all pointing to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.*
- Good for your mind. Physical activity such as cycling can reduce stress. When you exercise, endorphins are released. These hormones alleviate pain and boost pleasure, resulting in a feeling of well-being.** It has also been shown to improve cognitive functioning.***
- Anyone can do it. Cycling is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. You don’t have to be an athlete or have previous experience. If you’re just starting out, read up on beginning cycling and learn at your own pace.
- Cheaper than driving. According to a AAA report, driving a small sedan costs around $6,777 annually (for gas, maintenance, and parts if you’re driving about 15,000 miles a year). Wouldn’t it be great to put that money back in your bank account?
- Spare the environment. Air pollution from cars and trucks is a major contributor to poor air quality, spewing particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Riding a bike gives our planet a much-needed break.
- Running errands is easy. All you need is a backpack and a good bike lock, and going to the grocery store (for small trips), pharmacy, post office, or ice cream parlor can be fast and instantaneous. No stopping for gas, and no finding a parking spot.
- Socially satisfying. Riding bikes with a friend is an excellent way to enjoy their company. On trails and on some roads, you can ride side-by-side or single-file and catch up with each other’s news. Currently, a social distance of six feet between you is recommended.
- Access to professional cycling. While few of us may aspire to racing, experiencing it can instill a true excitement for bike riding. The Lehigh Valley is privileged to be the home of one of only 26 velodromes in the United States. Here, you can definitely feel the passion for cycling.
“We’ve been thrilled to see people turning to bicycles during COVID-19,” says Joan Hanscom, Executive Director or the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. “As we’ve all learned, outdoor activities are among the safest you can do and people are rediscovering the joy of cycling. We’ve been fortunate to welcome loads of new kids and adults into our summer programs, giving them the opportunity to learn to ride safely AND have fun; hopefully setting them up for a lifelong enjoyment of our sport.”
For more information about our local velodrome, and their community programs, visit Valley Preferred Cycling Center.
Overcoming the obstacles
Below are the three top reasons bike owners say they don’t ride more. We offer some solutions.
- Hills [Plan your routes to avoid the hills, or build your stamina so they’re not intimidating.]
- Lengthy distances [As in No. 6 above, work cycling into your routine by running quick errands close to home.]
- Arriving at a destination drenched in sweat [Carry a towel and a change of clothes if needed in a backpack, and manage your ride time so you don’t have to rush to get to your destination.]