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Bicycle riding is a fantastic way to keep fit and with social distancing measures now in place, it provides a fabulous way to stay active whilst adhering to the current regulations. Regular physical activity is essential for good physical and mental health and riding your bike often is one of the best ways of reducing your risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Find out more about the benefits of riding your bicycle and also how organisations can support people who wish to cycle regularly in their community.
Cycling is an exercise that can be undertaken by people of all ages from children to older adults as it is low impact and can be done to various degrees of vigour. It is also an accessible activity because it is low cost, once you have a bike the activity is free apart from any maintenance updates to your bicycle. Cycling is an environmentally friendly way to get about your community and it is a brilliant way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. In Australia cycling is the third most popular recreational activity but its participation is still relatively low in comparison to other countries, and a lot can be done to encourage greater participation with incentives, facilities and resourcing.
What are the health benefits of cycling?
A general improvement in your health can be achieved with as little as 2 to 4 hours cycling per week. Some benefits of cycling include:
- Improving your posture/balance
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Increasing your energy
- Increasing your flexibility and muscle strength
- Lowering your stress levels:
- Improved heart health
- Less Fat
- Even better sleep!
Numerous studies indicate that moderate to vigorous cardiovascular activities like cycling boost fitness, which in turn makes it easier to fall and stay asleep
Daily rides may do more than make you healthier and happier, they may also extend your life span! A large study in Norway that followed a group of older men in their 70s and 80s found that just 30 minutes of exercise per day resulted in an increased life span of five years longer, compared to men who didn’t do any physical activity and they also reported the following:
- Higher self-esteem
- Less stress
- Slowed aging
- Improves your memory
- Improves creative thinking
What are the environmental benefits of cycling?
It is not just health that cycling can have an improved impact on. Cycling also has a number of environmental benefits including
- Reducing air pollutants
- Reducing noise pollution and congestion
- Saving green space from development with cycle paths and park spaces
- Reducing your ecological footprint
- Less traffic
When can you use your bike?
Riding to work, school or the shops is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine. Since many of us are now working from home and home schooling, riding your bike is a great way to get out of the home and enjoy some exercise.
Cycling not only is a great form of physical exercise but it provides a chance to enjoy the outdoors and explore new areas and visit new places. You can ride alone giving yourself valuable time to enjoy fresh air, escape or have thinking time to consider any worries you may have. Or you can choose to ride with another person and enjoy some social time whilst maintaining the social distancing requirements.
How can we support bike riding in the community
Getting on your bike is fun and great for your health but sometimes it isn’t the easiest or safest option if there are not dedicated cycle paths or adequate cycle ways. Providing off road cycle paths in a park or alongside the coast are a great way to encourage more people to get on their bicycle. On the road dedicated lanes to safeguard riders from cars and other road users are essential to build confidence and commitment to bicycle riding in the community and allowing people to cycle from their home to their destination.
Initiatives such as Ride to Work and Ride to School Days which try and encourage people to take an alternative method of transport to their regular places have been useful in the past to initiate getting on the bike.
Workplaces can encourage bike riding by having shower facilities, changing rooms and lockers for those people who wish to ride to work. And for those that want to further encourage bike riding further, why not organise days where employees can bring their bikes in to check over their road worthiness with a basic safety check involving tyres, brakes, lights and saddle. Once a bike passes, the person may feel much more comfortable about riding their bike to work.
Other initiatives that can promote people to get on their bike can be events such as fun days and skills courses to instil confidence in cyclists and promote them to take their next cycling adventure.
Having somewhere to lock up your bike once you have reached your destination is also key to encouraging participation. Felton supply a range of bike racks to suit all organisations including 5 Bay Bike Stand, 4 and 7 Bay Bike Hangers, Bike Hoop Rails and more! For more information on how you can support people to stay active and get on their bike, contact our friendly team today on 1800 834 016.
With all the benefits of cycling outlined, now is the perfect time to dust off your wheels and take to opportunity to get on your bike today!