May is National Bicycle Month – Ride your bike.
By now everyone has heard the expression passed on to young folks about choosing their career, ‘Find something that you love and you will never work a day in your life.’ Well, it’s the same for exercise. The law of the body is “Use it or lose it.” No body is exempt.
Do your research and find out the most efficient techniques to use, exercises to perform or machines to ride in one way or another. But, the key element is to find something you like. If you enjoy gardening, go spend hours in the yard digging up and planting. You will work your body and satisfy your soul. Same with golf, etc. If you love it, go do it. It is better than sitting at home thinking about it and gaining weight.
Following are some reasons you will benefit from bicycling. If you don’t like it now, give it a chance, you might change your mind. If you still don’t then move on to another activity. This is for guys who at least still have an open mind. There are plenty of benefits to riding a bicycle.
Here are some websites where you can read further on it.
Helium is a health and fitness site that offers a nice insight that I have experienced also, namely that you have a much more down to earth perspective on a bicycle as opposed to driving in a car. I always enjoy the feeling of connection to what is around me that comes with riding a bike compared to the enclosed and isolated feeling of being in a car. Also, cycling is a no-impact exercise, unlike running which can be hard on the ankles, shins and joints.
Ezine @rticles points out that cycling increases your balance and relieves stress. This last one is no small point in these high pressure times.
The Merced County Association of Governments notes that bicycle riding saves money, reduces air pollution, increases fitness and reduces the risk of other health problems.
Honest Diet Reviews Blog points out that, among other things, cycling strengthens the stomach muscles.
The Better Health Channel in Australia considers improved posture, better joint mobility and strengthened bones as positives. It also offers dietary suggestions.
The Economic Times carries a nice article on the development of cycling in India. The quintessential black cycle without gears has been the backbone of Indian bikes and still continues to dominate the market, for it offers a fuel-free mode of transportation and can carry a decent load on the back. But that is largely the commuter class bike and nobody wants to be on one of those bicycles unless they have to. So there are socionomic ramifications to cycling in India different from the U.S.
The Korea Times has a piece on Five Benefits of Bicycling. The journalist is clearly a bike rider. However, he offers one very dangerous suggestion. He mentions that he uses his MP3 player to listen to news on his bike. It is against the law in Illinois to listen to news/music etc while riding. I ride by the lake on a bike path where there are few chances to encounter cars, but I still observe this law. You cut off at least 25% of your audio input wearing earphones, very distracting and totally unsafe. Please don’t even consider riding with an iPod if you begin cycling.
If you read the About section, you know that I am an avid cyclist, having ridden more than 7000 miles last year in Chicago. I am very fortunate that I happen to love this healthy activity. By now you have read a lot of ‘reasons’ for cycling. But, I ride because I love it. I love the feeling of riding. It’s visceral. I feel exactly the same as I did when I was 10 years old and rode my first two wheeler (accent on the ‘whee‘). Did you ever see the expression on kids’ faces when they ride a bike? It is beautiful, their eyes are lit up and they are smiling away as they feel themselves flying through the air. That’s the magic of riding a bicycle. You are actually flying – at eye level. No part of you is touching the ground. Also, once you have established your momentum, additional pedal strokes are almost effortless in maintaining your ground speed. In a very real way you are getting ‘something for nothing’ or at least minimal effort. That’s why you always see cyclists rolling through stop signs (I’m not advocating this, or admitting to it). They don’t want to lose that precious momentum.
Last but not least, I got a flu shot last October and part of the experience was having blood pressure checked, etc. The woman read off my numbers and said, “You have a resting heart rate of 45.” I asked if that was healthy. She said it was amazing for someone my age. This was news to me, but something that must be a direct result of my bike riding. Frosting on the cake.
This is a partial redo of a post from last March.
If you would like to read more about cycling and see some of the photos I shoot on my rides check out my new blog Willing Wheeling.