Cycling is more than just a workout regimen or hobby. It’s one of the best ways to manage obesity or overweight issue. It is also an environmentally-friendly mode of transport.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 2.8 million people worldwide die each year due to obesity or overweight . Except for those suffering from genetic condition or health problems, many of these obesity cases could have been prevented by observing a healthy lifestyle. Computer games and other electronic entertainment have effectively kept many people, especially the younger generation, sitting down for long hours, subtly making them physically inactive. Another contributing factor to a sedentary lifestyle that led to obesity or becoming overweight is the limited space in highly urbanized centres that deprive people from performing physical activity or exercise.
Why are children and teenagers singled out on the issue of obesity? It’s because many of them, as young as five years old, are seen to have developed a sedentary lifestyle due to computer gaming. And, in most cases, children who are obese are likely to remain in that condition when they become adults if the situation is not curbed. There is nothing wrong with electronic games and TV viewing per se, for so long as it is done in moderation. Problems occur when people, make it habitual to sit before a screen for more than four hours in a row everyday. Therefore, children’s computer gaming and tv viewing habits should be regulated while they are still in their growing stage to save them from developing a sedentary lifestyle and avoid serious ailments, like diabetes and obesity, in the long run.
One of the many ways to keep children mobile is to let them engage in physical, and yet fun, activities like biking. Regular biking gives a lot of benefits both to their well-being as well as to the environment, in general. Of course, biking is not only for the young. It’s also a great exercise for adults and other age groups.
Benefits of cycling
It’s an effective way to manage your weight
Obesity or overweight is one of the major health issues worldwide. And so, if it’s an issue for you, try cycling. It’s effective because regular cycling increases your metabolic rate, builds your muscles, and burns body fat. But, of course, you should also observe a healthy eating plan to make this regimen work.
It reduces risk of cancer and other aliments
Regular cycling reduces your chance of acquiring diseases, such as:
● Breast cancer and bowel cancer. Many researchers have found that cycling or physical activity lessens the levels of insulin, some growth factors, and some hormones. It also promotes regular bowel movement, pushing cancer-causing substances in undigested food through the bowel quickly.
● Diabetes. New studies revealed that people who cycled to and from their workplace were 50% less likely to suffer from Type 2 diabetes.
● Bone injuries and arthritis. Since cycling improves strength, balance, and coordination, people with osteoarthritis can benefit from it because the activity is a low-impact exercise that puts minimal pressure on joints.
● Mental illness. People suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety can greatly benefit from regular bike riding because it allows them some fun and enjoyment, aside from the effects of the exercise itself. Cycling also opens opportunities of meeting new faces, and building new network of friends and associates. The time spent communicating with new acquaintances can help ease emotional or other burdens.
It improves your cardiovascular fitness
Regular cycling stimulates circulation, strengthens your lungs, heart muscles, lowers your resting pulse, and minimizes your blood fat levels. Thus, keeping you safe from stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack.
Cycling helps reduce stress and improves your productivity at work
There’s fun and a sense of adventure coasting down hills and tackling different terrains. And since cycling is a fun activity, you considerably reduce your stress level, or minimize anxiety and depression. For how could you be stressed when you’re having fun? It’s also a perfect activity for family bonding and recreation.
Cycling allows you to save on health care expenses
If you have been medication-dependent, you will significantly save a great amount on health care expense due to the many health benefits you can get from cycling. You can even do away with medication, depending on your overall condition.
By bike commuting, you can disregard the highway road congestion report. It frees you from getting caught in heavy vehicular traffic; so you reach your destination quicker.
Bike commuting saves you travel money
Cycling to and from work, or running on errands allows you to cut on these regular expenses:
● petrol - price of which can fluctuate anytime
● parking - this can be time-consuming and frustrating at times
Cycling is low impact on the environment
When it comes to air and noise pollution, a bicycle does not emit any carbon dioxide. Although, if we include in the calculation the production, maintenance, and fuel use, cycling is responsible for 21 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emission. But this amount is still far lower than that of an average car, which emits 271 grams, and bus 101 grams per kilometer .
Bicycle use brings down deforestation of rubber plantation
By promoting a cycling culture, or the use of bicycle as mode of transport, we significantly minimize cutting of rubber trees and biofuel crops. Compared with cars and other major mode of transport, a bicycle requires only a minimal amount of rubber and lubricant or fuel.
It replaces sedentary time
If you use a bicycle as a regular mode of transport, you considerably lessen your sitting time in your car, tram, train, or bus.
These are but few of the many benefits of cycling to human health and environment. For sure, you will discover other positive effects as you go on bike commuting.
 Global Health Observatory (GHO) data. World Health Organization www.who.int n.d. Web. 14 October 2015
 CO2 emissions from cycling revealed www.eta.co.uk. 13 December 2011. Web. 7 October 2014