Summer is perhaps the best time to consider trading your hot car in for a cool bike. That’s because bicycles reduce emission from cars while also reducing the amount of traffic on the road. Aside from protecting the environment, bikes have also been known to make traveling to and from certain destination much easier and are a great way to be fit and healthy. You need to be physically active, and summer is a great time to start. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to reduce your chances of encountering health problems later on down the road is by riding your bike. Aside from being a great way to get around in the Portland area, cycling also has environmental and economic benefits.
That said, going for a bike ride is never a bad idea since it can help individuals meet their commuting needs. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average driver travels 29 miles a day to and from work. This means that, if individuals were to replace their cars with bikes, they’d meet the minimum recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Since bicycling is often done in group settings — whether with family members or a cycling club — it can also help strengthen social connections while still allowing people to share a common enjoyment of being active. Even if you prefer riding alone, you’re still connected with those around you along with your environment. Establishing these connections early on in the day is also an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.
Replacing your trips in your car with a bicycle also preserves the environment. That’s because when you sit behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, your car releases carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals into the air. This not only damages the atmosphere but can also cause respiratory diseases. Additionally, spending too much time sitting in your car staring at traffic can also have a negative effect on your psychological health as well. Fortunately, biking has none of these effects on the environment and has an endless amount of health benefits associated with it that includes improved fitness, weight control, and an increase in self-esteem.
Spending less time in a vehicle will also save on gas — an expense which can put a dent in your wallet if you have a vehicle that’s poor on gas and travel far distances. Plus, it costs way less to purchase and maintain a bike than it does a car, so it only makes sense to ride rather than drive to your destination. With that in mind, if your job is within 5 miles of your home, then consider biking. Even if you live or work in greater distances, you can still reduce your car usage by parking in a safe location and bike the remainder of the trip.
As cycling continues to grow and become a universal hobby, this low-impact exercises can be enjoyed by people of all ages — from young children who are just learning how to ride a bike to older adults.
So, what are some other benefits of cycling?
It’s easy for you to say, “I’m going to the gym three to five times a week,” but if they aren’t efficient workouts that can help improve your health, then you’ll be less likely to go. Fortunately, since cycling is primarily an aerobic sport, your heart, blood vessels, and lungs will all get a workout at the same time. In other words, through compound movements your body will work much more effectively and provide you with the endurance needed to exercise for long periods of time. This means that you will take deeper breaths and experience an increase in body temperature, which is what ultimately improve your fitness levels.
The best part is, at the fastest speeds, biking can become an excellent way to improve your overall fitness. Regular physical activity can help prevent unwanted diseases like cancer, heart diseases, obesity, and other illnesses from occurring. For kids, riding bikes during the summer can be a fun activity that teaches them the importance of balance and helps them work their movement skills.
Additional health benefits of cycling regularly include:
- Improve joint mobility
- A decrease in stress levels
- Stronger bones
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Decreased body fat levels
- Improved posture
Although these health benefits are important for all individuals, they’re especially important for older adults. As the body ages, it can be harder to stay active. That’s because bones and muscle structure might start to decline, and individuals may experience aches and pains that may prevent them from gathering the strength needed to complete gym workouts. Cycling, however, is one of the best physical activities for aging adults. It can help improve their cardiovascular system and reduces strain on joints.
It’s also important to fuel the body with proper nutrients. In other words, when individuals eat for their health, they’re eating what the body needs to improve its overall functions.
As a final point, whether you’re just now getting into cycling or an experienced cyclist, don’t assume that you have to stop just because you’ve gotten older or changed job occupations. If for whatever reason, you’ve never gotten on a bike, it’s never too late to start. After all, your body will thank you, and the environment will appreciate you taking one less vehicle off of the road.