Environmental and Health Reasons to Start Riding Your Bicycle More

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Cycling in Copenhagen
Image by Kristoffer Trolle via Flickr Creative Commons license.

Riding your bicycle, or cycling, has countless benefits. These can range from personal, to economic, to social, to environmental and more. Cycling is a good form of exercise. It is also a simple, eco-friendly transportation option. Due to cycling’s many benefits, more people in the world own bicycles than cars. In addition, the number of people commuting to and from work on bicycles has increased significantly in last decade.

Bike commuting

7 Key Benefits to Be Had By Cycling

While most people are aware riding your bicycle is beneficial, many may not realize the extent of the positive impact it could have on their lives. Therefore, we wanted to share some of the benefits to be had by cycling, including environmental and health reasons to starting riding your bicycle more. Here are seven broad-spectrum benefits to be gained by cycling:

Health benefits

Riding your bicycle can help build muscle, eliminate fat, strengthen your legs, lower blood pressure and increase endurance. Cycling has also been proven to be an extremely effective way to alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, clear your mind and improve your mood. Riding a bike, as with many types of aerobic exercise can improve sleep and make an individual more heart healthy too. Those who incorporate daily exercise (like cycling) into their routine often live longer.

Environmental benefits

The more cars we can get off the road, the better it will be for the environment. Cycling requires no gasoline and, therefore, no harmful vehicle emissions or smog are released into the air when a person is riding his or her bicycle. Opting to use your bicycle a few times a week, instead of your car, is one of the simplest ways to lower your environmental footprint. Idling isn’t an issue when you are cycling. Noise pollution is reduced as well. Bicycles require no gasoline, no antifreeze and don’t need many of the other fluids vehicles need to operate. This helps ensure such fluids don’t make their way into local waterways or the environment itself.

Economic benefits

It is cheaper to own and operate a bicycle than it is to have a car. Bicycles don’t usually require monthly car payments, insurance, expensive routine maintenance or fuel. If you don’t own your own bike, you can rent one or bike share as the need arises. You don’t need a parking spot or garage when you have a bicycle instead of a vehicle. Riding your bike can also help you get where you want to go faster. Cyclists don’t have to contend with traffic. Other benefits include lower healthcare costs (as you’ll be healthier from cycling) and you’ll have no need for a gym membership anymore. Road wear and tear can be reduced with more and more people switching to cycling.

Social benefits

Bike riding is a great way for a family, or a group of friends, to spend quality time together. You can meet new, similar-minded, friends when you go cycling. If you feel like it, you can join a cycling club in your area. You can ride social or competitively. You can teach others how to cycle, what routes to take, which gears are best for certain paths and more. Cycling creates lasting memories, particularly when done with friends and family. You can riding your bike on behalf of a charity or even to help support a cause you believe in.

Transportation benefits

Cycling is an eco-friendly transportation option that gets cars off the road. Those who ride their bikes are more likely to learn and know their local roads, figure out ways to avoid traffic and improve their overall navigational skills. Riding a bike gives you access to bike paths and other routes you might otherwise miss. Cycling is a simple way to get around town, commute and explore new places. Even if you can’t ride your bike all the way to work, many buses and trains have places where cyclists can store their bikes in between stops. This way you can ride your bike, and use public transportation when needed, to commute.

Sports benefits

Those who ride their bikes regularly not only increase their strength and build muscles, but they lower their risk of injury in other sports as well. Recovering from injury often takes less time with those who are in better shape. Cycling can help you build up your aerobic efficiency, aerobic capacity and improve endurance. Reflexes and balance will also improve over time. As with many sports, routine cycling allows you to tailor your intensity, get in a training rhythm, build mental fortitude and become faster overall.  Another benefit is cycling can be done in any season.

Personal benefits

One of the benefits of cycling is it can be used to improve one’s overall outlook on life. Many cyclists find inner peace when they get on the open road. Cycling can also give you a chance to represent your personal style or promote a cause for which you have a lot of passion. Cycling doesn’t always go smoothly though. Sometimes problems arise. Fortunately, the more you ride, the more you’re likely to find you are able to overcome obstacles (physical and mental) along your way as cycling teaches you to be resourceful when you’re on your own. People who cycle regularly tend to be more adventurous, more self-sufficient and many would never miss out on a chance to ride when the weather’s nice.

These are just some of the reasons you should incorporate cycling into your normal habits and routines. So, grab your bike and go see the world. For more information on the benefits of cycling and why you should hop on your bike more often, please check out the 101 Benefits of Cycling That Will Make You Love It More.

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