The sun had finally graced the British Isles with it’s presence for the first of two Bank Holidays. The weekend was beautiful and really got me thinking about how many people were skipping merrily to the gym rather than dusting their old bicycle off and going for a spin. Below I have listed the top four reasons you should be getting on that bike to shed pounds.
1. Improved Health
People who cycle have a stronger immune system than those who don’t! In fact, research conducted at the University of North Carolina, suggested people who cycle for just 30 minutes a day for five days, take half as many sick days as those that didn’t. This stronger immune system helps us fight off infection keeping us healthy for longer. The World Cancer Research Fund has stated that 79,000 lives could be saved in the UK every year simply by increasing the amount of exercise we carry out. Basically Riding a bike can help prevent cancer.
Cycling is the perfect exercise for weightloss. Victoria Taylor, a dietician for the British Heart Foundation (BHF), states that cycling provides a slow weightloss, which if sustained over a period of time is the healthiest way to lose weight. The combination of diet and exercise is important though so you will need to change your diet so it’s concurrent with your cycling effort. If you work on your diet whilst cycling then you will find it easier to keep off the weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. As you get ﬁtter, the beneﬁts are more impressive. One recent study showed that cyclists who incorporated fast intervals into their ride burned three-and-a-half times more body fat than those who cycled constantly but at a slower pace.
3. Overall Muscle Improvement
Overall tone and muscle improvement is a major benefit of cycling. When you start shedding those stubborn pounds you will need to be toning at the same time. Cycling not only works every muscle group in your legs and glutes. It also works a few support group muscles such as your biceps and triceps, your core muscle groups are also engaged to keep you stable on the cycle. the primary muscles used in biking are the gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. Back to those leg muscles, those large muscles on your thighs are your quadriceps these are worked when you straighten your leg and push the pedal down towards the ground. The gluteus maximus and medius are the muscles you sit on and are worked when you push the pedal forward at the top of the stroke. The hamstrings are the muscles on the back of your thighs, these work with your calf muscles and lift the pedal up.
4. Fresh Air
Ok, this one is a bit more holistic than the top 3, however it definitely shouldn’t be discounted. Fresh Air, what actually is fresh air? Well, for me living in a city I find it strange to refer to the smoggy outside as being fresh, but it truly is. I mean, the air inside a gym is hot, humid, and sticky with other peoples workout sweat in the air. Try cycling through a major city, you will come across a park to cycle through and the fresh air and the sights you get that aren’t obtainable in a gym are priceless. Getting out and about, breathing in the city and seeing the city help for mental clarity. Everyone has heard of S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) and I genuinely believe most people suffer from this one way or another. So once the weather gets better, the best way to beat this is to go and sun yourself on your bike. You will feel so much better about yourself.