The health benefits that come with cycling - Paul Gough
The health benefits of cycling are endless. For me, it’s rivalled only by swimming.
Doing regular cycling can help improve physical fitness, ease mental stress (with the rush of the endorphins and ‘feel-great’ chemicals that will be released), and it’s also a great way to reduce your weight, not to mention to see some nice sights if you pick a scenic route.
If you’re having regular problems with arthritic knees or hips, a really stiff lower back, or even tightness of muscles such as Achilles and calves, then cycling is a great option and you’ll likely benefit from doing it more often.
Even doing it for just 30 minutes or so at a time.
Why? Because you’ll be reducing the impact of the hard surface that can easily damage vital joints and at the same time, you’re still helping essential things like your heart and lungs to stay healthy.
It’s so important that I want to say it again – you’ll feel a lot healthier if you vary your exercise habits and training or fitness plans and remain alert to the impact that doing the same thing night after night is having upon joints and muscles (it’s nearly always negative).
Bike riding is something that anyone in their 40s, 50s or above, who is looking to be more active, should seriously consider.
It offers an alternative to pounding streets and it’s even better than walking if you’re objective is to stay active and healthy.
Now let’s abolish a myth about bike riding: many people think that to have the same positive impact on your health as say going for a run, you have to do much more when riding a bike.
I’ve found this confusion to be one of the most common objections when I suggest people consider taking a bike ride.
It’s true that to get the endorphins and the feel-great rush you’re wanting from exercising, you do have to sit on your bike for a bit longer than if you were just going to head out for a run.
With that in mind, here are some facts on bike riding compared to running.
Someone who weighs approximately 12 stone will burn roughly 650 calories from doing an hour’s bike riding. With a typical 20-minute run, you will probably be lucky to lose 200.
So, although it might not feel that way, you’re working just as hard, only much more safely in terms of the reduced impact on your knees and hips. Something to think about.
When the numbers stack up like this, you can see why more and more people aged 50+ are getting back on their bikes to keep healthy and feel and look great.
More stories like this from my book, which is available at www.thehealthyhabitbook.com
Or, if you need some help to ease knee pain that’s stopping you from getting on your bike, or walking without pain – you can download my free knee pain tips guide at www.paulgoughphysio.com/knee-pain – or alternatively, call 01429 866771 to request yours.
increased cardiovascular fitness increased muscle strength and flexibility improved joint mobility decreased stress levels improved posture and co-ordination strengthened bones decreased body fat levels prevention or management of disease