FEELING GREAT: Get on your bikes

Paul Gough
Paul Gough

In a week that Hartlepool’s postmen are loosing their bikes, it might be time for you to get back on yours.

The health benefits of cycling are endless, for me, rivaled only by swimming.

Regular cycling can help you improve fitness, ease stress with the rush of the endorphins and feel great chemicals that will be released and its also a great way to reduce your weight.

If you are having problems with things like arthritic knees or hips, perhaps you have a really stiff back or even tightness of muscles such as achillies and calfs?

Then cycling is a great option as you’ll be reducing the impact through and work load of all of these, but still helping things like your heart and lungs to stay healthy.

I speak to my patients regularly about the need to vary their training or fitness plans and to be aware of the impact that doing the same thing night after night is having upon joints and muscles.

Bike riding is something that anyone looking to keep fit should consider as it offers an alternative to pounding streets.

But to have the same impact, don’t you have to do so much more when riding a bike than just simply heading out for a run?

That’s one of the most common objections that people have when considering a bike ride.

And it is true that to get the endorphins and the feel great rush your wanting, you have to sit on your bike for a bit longer than if you were just going to head out for a run.

But if you’re looking to trim down a few pounds, here are some facts on a bike riding versus running.

Someone who weighs approximately 12 stone will burn approximately 650 calories with an hour’s bike riding.

With a typical 20-minute run, you will probably be lucky to loose 200 calories.

So although it might not feel as though you are, your working just as hard, only much more safely interms of the impact on your knees and hips.

If you’re feeling really fit and at the peak of your fitness, have you considered creating your own Hartlepool-triathlon?

Take your bike and start at the Mill House baths on Raby Road, run for 30 minutes to the Headland and back, approximately four miles, jump on your bike and then head along Seaton front to the golf club and back, then finish with a 30-minute swim and a stretch in the swimming pool at Mill House.

You could even start your own weekly triathlon event and make the most of some of Hartlepool’s best scenic routes and sports facilities.

Why not do it with your children?

This would be something really fun and a different way of encouraging what could lead to a lifetime of keeping fit.