Taking up cycling may be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Cycling is great if you want to improve your fitness and health levels, save money and save the environment, but it also has many less obvious benefits. The following ten reasons to take up cycling will have you strapping on a helmet and hitting the road in no time.
1. Save Travel Time
If you live in a major city, chances are you have spent a large portion of your life sitting in traffic. Commuting by bike can help you reach your destination in half the time of driving.
On average, drivers spend about 30 minutes of each hour during rush hour waiting in traffic, going nowhere. The average rush hour speed is just seven miles per hour, but cyclists can whiz by traffic at average speeds of 12 to 15 miles per hour. This means you can get where you need to go faster by bike.
2. Body Benefits
Riding a bike is great for your health. Cycling increases cardiovascular fitness, balance, flexibility, strength, stamina, endurance and calories burned.
3. Stress Relief
A proven stress releaser, cycling is good for your mind. Most cyclists arrive at their destination feeling energized and relaxed because of the endorphins released during exercise. Riding a bike is also simply fun!
4. Taking the Scenic Route
People who rely on subway systems miss out on many aboveground views of their city, and drivers experience the world through a window. Cyclists, in contrast, move in the open air, surrounded by the sights, smells and sounds of their destination. This means that every ride is an adventure.
5. Boost Brain Power
According to a study conducted by Illinois University researchers, the cardiovascular improvements caused by cycling led to a boost of up to 15 percent in mental tests. Cycling boosts oxygen and blood flow to the brain an also stimulates new cell growth in the brain’s hippocampus, the region that controls memory.
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6. Improved Immunity
Moderate exercise increases the ability of the immune system to fight off infections. A recent study from the University of North Carolina asserts that cyclists who hit the road for a half hour each day take half as many sick days as those who do not bike.
7. Saving the Planet
Everyone knows that bikes produce zero pollution, but bike production also takes about five percent of the energy needed to make just one car. They also don’t consume gas, emit exhaust or create noise pollution.
8. Save Money
Depending on the vehicle, it takes up to 30 cents per mile to drive a car. This figure includes costs like maintenance, gas, oil and other expenses that increase the more you drive but does not include costs like taxes, depreciation and insurance. Add in those costs, and the actual cost to operate a car is much higher. Cycling saves you money because the only investment needed is the initial cost of the bike plus routine maintenance.
9. Improved Productivity
A study conducted by the University of Bristol shows that people who cycle to work are more motivated, less stressed and more productive throughout the day.
10. Better Sleep
People who cycle for 30 minutes three times a week sleep better. They fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Researchers believe cycling is especially effective for sleep improvement because it exposes riders to daylight, syncs the circadian rhythms and reduces cortisol in the body, the hormone that can prevent deep sleep.
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