A large study published in the British Medical Association, found that regular cycling can substantially lower the incidence of coronary heart disease: Medical News Today reports. The investigation of 10,000 participants suggests that those who cycled 20 miles within a week were 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who did not engage in cycling at all.
Cycling offers several physical health benefits, primary of which is improved cardiovascular fitness. Research reveals that habitual cycling to work enhances cardiovascular functioning by 3 to 7 percent. This activity uses large muscle groups in the legs to elevate heart rate, which leads to better stamina and endurance.
Another health asset of cycling is weight loss. This exercise consumes about 300 calories per hour, which means that daily 30 minute cycling sessions will consume 11 pounds of fat over the course of a year. In addition to assisting in weight loss through burning calories, it also boosts metabolism. Muscles in the calf, thigh and pelvic region will be toned and firmed, causing fat to be replaced by muscle. Some research indicates that cycling is one of the few activities that can assist with reducing cellulite in the thighs.
Aside from the physical health benefits, cycling can also improve mental health. Like any regular exercise, it can reduce anxiety and depression, as well as enhance self esteem and a general sense of well being. Since cycling is an outdoor activity, it provides the added benefits of being able to breathe fresh air and connect with nature. Many bikers feel it relieves stress and rejuvenates the soul.
Although cycling is undoubtedly beneficial to health, it is a relatively dangerous activity. According to NPR’s Health Blog, there were 630 fatalities and 51,000 injuries from bicycle-motor vehicle collisions in the United States in 2009. Bikers must be careful to stop at every red light and adhere to all traffic laws. Mike Norris, editor of DIYBiking.com, advises cyclists to wear helmets and use a rear-view mirror: the Ridgefield Patch notes. Norris also cautions against listening to music while biking, as it is crucial to be alert to traffic sounds.
Research shows cyclists, who use special bike-only lanes that are separated from street traffic, have fewer collisions than those, who ride alongside motor vehicles. While several studies support the premise that bicycle lanes are safer, some biking experts feel that there are cons to the issue as well as pros. A safe recourse to consider may be to use biking areas in parks to engage in this activity.