Last month, we said goodbye to Brummie broadcasting legend Tony Butler. In honour of his famous catchphrase, we take a little peek at the benefits of cycling
Over recent years, the country has gone bonkers over the benefits of cycling with the number of people going for a ride increasing by 200 per cent on weekends and 100 per cent on weekdays. It’s not too late to join in the cycle revolution to keep fit, look after the planet and save money. Here’s just a few reasons why you need to dust down your saddle and get riding.
It’s a real all-rounder
Cycling increases cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, joint mobility, posture, coordination and bone strength, while targeting and toning up the ankles, arms, shoulders, calves, thighs and glutes.
It’s a low-impact form of cardio
Getting on the bike is much easier on the joints and your skeletal system than most cardio workouts, like running and HIIT workouts that involve jumps such as burpees. It’s great for anyone suffering with, or recovering from, injury – but remember that weight-bearing activities are required for promoting bone density – these include walking and strength training.
Weight loss and muscle strengthening
As a moderately intense exercise, cycling associated with the usual benefits and can support weight loss. Riding a bike for 20 to 30 miles, three times a week can help budge stubborn belly fat, as well as strengthening your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
It’s been shown that cyclists have immune systems typical of younger people. Moderate exercise makes immune cells more active, so they’re ready to ﬁght off infection. People who cycle for 30 minutes, ﬁve-days-a-week take about half as many sick days as couch potatoes. King’s College London compared more than 2,400 identical twins and found those who did the equivalent of just three, 45-minute rides a week were nine years ‘biologically younger’ even after discounting other inﬂuences, such as body mass index (BMI).
Cycling regularly as little as 20 miles a week can cut your risk of heart disease by 50 per cent by stimulating your heart, lungs and circulation, according to recent studies.
Mood-booster and stress-reliever
Cycling is proven to ease stress and anxiety by calming external thoughts and forcing you to concentrate on your cadence and any speed or incline you might be working with. Studies have shown that the positive mental feelings that come from cycling are largely down to the release of endorphins in your body which counter the production of cortisol (the stress hormone). The same research also found that cycling outside increased these effects.
Cycling is not as weather-dependent as you think. Who cares if it’s raining outside? And rather than that long countryside ride, pop down to the gym and use a static bike and maybe even join a spin class or just bash away on the Peloton parked in a corner of your home! If you’re unaffected by the climate it’s easy to set a schedule and stick to it
Suitable for everyone
Regardless of age, gender or experience there’s a level – and a class of cycling – to suit. Cycling appeals to both beginners and advanced exercisers. Your workout can be adapted to suit your fitness level – go for low intensity if you’re just getting used to it or try sprint or incline intervals if you’re up for a challenge.
Environmentally friendly and cheap
Recent research found that commuting by bike over car once a day decreases your carbon footprint by 67 per cent, while it takes approximately five per cent of the materials and energy needed to make a car, and a bike, of course, produces zero petrol. Bikes are efﬁcient, too. You travel around three times as fast as walking for the same amount of energy and, taking into account the ‘fuel’ you put in your ‘engine’, you do the equivalent of 2,924 miles to the gallon.