Live Longer & Other Reasons To Ride A Bicycle

Cycling doesn’t just make you healthier, happier and more prosperous; study after laborious study shows that getting on your bike also helps make you a sharper, more thoughtful driver.

john kennedy

John Kennedy

According to Dr. James Hagberg, an exercise physiologist at the University of Maryland, a healthy woman riding a bicycle on a flat road at 18 miles per hour for an hour, and weighing 125-pounds, burns 555 calories. Add elevation to burn even more calories.

Cycling doesn’t just burn fat: it also builds muscle. Muscle is leaner than fat, and people with a higher percentage of muscle burn more calories.

When you enjoy your form of transport you’ll do more of it and by choice.

It’s increasingly expensive to park a car. Parking a bicycle costs nothing.

Cycling is chiefly an aerobic activity, one that uses great gulps of oxygen. The heart and lungs work together to bring oxygen and nutrients to the muscles: the lungs expand to bring as much oxygen into the body as possible; the heart beats faster to transport this oxygen around the body. A strong heart and powerful lungs are the building blocks of general fitness.

No fuel bills. No depreciation. No parking tickets. No insurance. No car-park fees. No congestion charges. No train tickets. No freeway toll fees. That’s if you ditch your car entirely. That might be a leap too far but cycling to work could help get rid of a second car, saving serious money.

“Workers with one-hour car commutes must earn 40% more money to have a sense of well-being equal to that of a person who walks or bikes to work.”

It costs the Earth to drive; literally and figuratively.

Rush hour isn’t. It’s not an hour, and it’s more of a crawl than a rush. That is if you drive. If you cycle, you’ll not get stuck in traffic and nor will you be a cause of congestion. Cycling in cities during peak periods is almost always faster than driving or public transit, especially over distances of five miles or less. And that’s not just for speed-demon cyclists, it’s for go-slow cyclists, too. Cars travel at an average speed of less than 7mph in some city centers; the very act of balancing on a bike means you have to travel at least that speed to stay upright.

Cycling is fastest through city centers because cyclists travel directly to their destination, door to actual door, and go to the front of traffic queues. As a cyclist, you’re a long way to your destination when others are waiting for the bus or pleading with a parking attendant.

Explore More
It’s easier to explore on a bicycle. There’s also something about cycling that lends itself to serendipity.

The first sweet taste of independence for many children arrives via bicycling. Embrace your inner-child by reliving that formative experience daily.

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle,” Albert Einstein is supposed to said about his relativity theory. Like many such quotes, it’s likely apocryphal, but it remains relevant because many people report that cycling sparks creativity.

Exercise boosts blood flow to your brain – a 2013 study found that during exercise, cyclists’ blood flow in the brain rose by up to 70% in some areas – but the mindfulness of cycling also triggers fresh thinking, a phenomenon noted by many writers.

Speaking for many, Freddie Mercury in 1978 said: “I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle.” Queen’s lead singer added: “I want to ride my bicycle; I want to ride my bike; I want to ride my bicycle; I want to ride it where I like.”

Cycling is intensely individualistic, but cyclists also band together, on social media and in the real world. There’s a palpable community feel to being a cyclist.

According to the U.S. National Forum for Coronary Heart Disease Foundation, regular cyclists enjoy a fitness level equal to that of a person ten years younger. Cyclists also report feeling younger.

And it’s excellent to freak out medical staff who fret that your low resting heart rate must mean you’re having a heart attack when it actually means you’re fit as a fiddle.

It’s much easier to stay fit when you work exercise into your daily routine. According to the British Heart Foundation, cycling just 20 miles per week reduces the risk of coronary heart disease to less than half that for non-cyclists. Cycling is a low-impact activity, easy on your joints, perfect for fitness newbies. The benefits of cycling stay with you as you age, both in health and appearance. It’s one of the few activities that can carry you through your seventies and beyond. Ever tried swimming to work?

Thanks for your Wisdom Carlton Reid