Tag Archives: bicycle riding

The Joys and Benefits of Bike Riding – National Bicycle Month – May

There will be lots of celebrations of the bicycle in the coming four weeks because May is National Bicycle Month. As regular readers know, I ride more than 100 miles a week here in Chicago, all year ’round. So cycling is a labor of love for me.

I have tried to explain to myself first, as well as others, why I love to ride my bike. Until recently, the best I could come up with is that I feel like I am flying. Not soaring high, just flying along several feet above the bike path.

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

I know that when I ride, I am at once totally in the moment of propelling the bike forward and at the same time I experience a very enjoyable feeling of expansion – an almost out of body sensation.

This has been wonderfully explained by former University of Chicago professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow. Continue reading

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Filed under bicycle riding, Exercise, exercise benefits, National Bicycle Month, regular bike riding

How Exercise Reduces Belly Fat in Humans

I am guessing that belly fat is the number one source of concern for people taking up exercise – or continuing it. So many fruitless hours have been spent on ‘ab-work’ like sit-ups and stomach crunches with little sign of success. It turns out that reduction of that ‘spare tire’ is far less complicated than many suppose. Simple, but not obvious.

Summary: According to researchers, interleukin 6 plays a critical role in how exercise helps to reduce body fat. Source: Cell Press.

Some of you may have made a New Year’s resolution to hit the gym to tackle that annoying belly fat. But have you ever wondered how physical activity produces this desired effect? A signaling molecule called interleukin-6 plays a critical role in this process, researchers report December 27 in the journal Cell Metabolism.

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This graphical abstract shows that in abdominally obese people, exercise-mediated loss of visceral adipose tissue mass requires IL-6 receptor signaling. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Wedell-Neergaard, Lehrskov, and Christensen, et al. / Cell Metabolism.

As expected, a 12-week intervention consisting of bicycle exercise decreased visceral abdominal fat in obese adults. But remarkably, this effect was abolished in participants who were also treated with tocilizumab, a drug that blocks interleukin-6 signaling and is currently approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, tocilizumab treatment increased cholesterol levels regardless of physical activity.

“The take home for the general audience is ‘do exercise,’” says first author Anne-Sophie Wedell-Neergaard of the University of Copenhagen. “We all know that exercise promotes better health, and now we also know that regular exercise training reduces abdominal fat mass and thereby potentially also the risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases.”

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Fitness Fun

I am looking out my window at a glorious sunny May Sunday morning. I hope you have a similar situation. Thought you might enjoy these:

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Tony

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Einstein on His Bicycle

As bicycle riding season seems to be coming into bloom, I thought you might enjoy this ….

Tony

Willing Wheeling

I have this poster three feet high framed in my living room. I absolutely love it. Einstein looks like he is having the kind of enjoyment that a child gets out of riding a bike. I feel good every time I look at it. That is also exactly how I feel when riding my bicycle.

Joy in motion

I found the following quotes on the Argonauts website.

I thought of that while riding my bicycle – Albert Einstein on The Theory of Relativity

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving ~ Albert Einstein

Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race. ~ H.G. Wells

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~ H.G. Wells

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount…

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What are the Health Benefits of Walking and Bicycle Riding?

Regular readers know I ride my bike regularly and I also consider walking to be one of the finest exercises. It is nice to see this documentation from the People Powered movement.

I have written about the health benefits of walking and bicycle riding previously. Regular readers know that I rode my bike over 6000 miles last year. To read further, check out the following posts: Seniors walking, walking in general, bicycle riding. I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world, totally unappreciated.

The People Powered Movement has issued a benchmark report on some fascinating aspects of walking and bicycling.

Public Health Benefits

• Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.
• Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.
• In general, states with the highest levels of bicycling and walking have the lowest levels of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes and have the greatest percentage of adults who meet the recommended 30-plus minutes per day of physical activity.

We could easily leave the car and walk on many errands, according to the report.

Tony Licata (cq), of Chicago, and his pet poodle Gabi make circuits of the Northery Island bike path Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune)

My dog and me in Chicago out on a bike ride.

• In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Some 27% of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car. Residents of the largest U.S. cities are 1.7 times more likely to walk or bicycle to work than the national average.
• 12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
• From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%.

Some folks say they won’t ride a bike because it is not safe. But the study indicated otherwise.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
•14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are bicyclists (1.8%) or pedestrians (11.7%).
• In the 51 largest U.S. cities, 12.7% of trips are by foot and 1.1% are by bicycle, yet 26.9% of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and 3.1% are bicyclists.
• Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for and 10% of bicyclist fatalities. As a senior citizen who rides his bike almost daily, this bullet point was not fun for me to learn. I do believe that wearing a helmet and biking gloves would reduce those numbers.

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I love this Mark Twain quote.

Please do consider walking more often and/or taking up bicycle riding. Each is a wonderful, very inexpensive way to get that much-needed daily exercise.

Tony

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Filed under bicycle riding, biking, walking

What are the Health Benefits of Walking and Bicycle Riding?

Regular readers know I ride my bike regularly and I also consider walking to be one of the finest exercises. It is nice to see this documentation from the People Powered movement.

I have written about the health benefits of walking and bicycle riding previously. Regular readers know that I rode my bike over 6000 miles last year. To read further, check out the following posts: Seniors walking, walking in general, bicycle riding. I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world, totally unappreciated.

The People Powered Movement has issued a benchmark report on some fascinating aspects of walking and bicycling.

Public Health Benefits

• Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.
• Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.
• In general, states with the highest levels of bicycling and walking have the lowest levels of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes and have the greatest percentage of adults who meet the recommended 30-plus minutes per day of physical activity.

We could easily leave the car and walk on many errands, according to the report.

Tony Licata (cq), of Chicago, and his pet poodle Gabi make circuits of the Northery Island bike path Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune)

My dog and me in Chicago out on a bike ride.

• In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Some 27% of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car. Residents of the largest U.S. cities are 1.7 times more likely to walk or bicycle to work than the national average.
• 12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
• From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%.

Some folks say they won’t ride a bike because it is not safe. But the study indicated otherwise.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
•14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are bicyclists (1.8%) or pedestrians (11.7%).
• In the 51 largest U.S. cities, 12.7% of trips are by foot and 1.1% are by bicycle, yet 26.9% of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and 3.1% are bicyclists.
• Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for and 10% of bicyclist fatalities. As a senior citizen who rides his bike almost daily, this bullet point was not fun for me to learn. I do believe that wearing a helmet and biking gloves would reduce those numbers.

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I love this Mark Twain quote.

For fun, and because I love Mark Twain, I have to include his wonderful quote: “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.”

Please do consider walking more often and/or taking up bicycle riding. Each is a wonderful, very inexpensive way to get that much-needed daily exercise.

Tony

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