The Benefits of Biking
I’d like to preface this post with the admission that I do not consider myself a hardcore cyclist by any means. Although I rarely get out and about on my bike these days, I have cycled from Montreal to Vancouver, BC. As such, I know that one of the major benefits of biking is getting to see a country in a way that simply isn’t possible when driving.
Biking for Your Mind
Cycling is a great way to learn to go slow and appreciate the little things, especially in a big country like Canada or the US. Days spent cycling across the prairies lend themselves to mindful reflection. The big skies foster big thoughts, helping to push away the daily grind of answering emails, taking calls, making to-do lists and feeling overwhelmed by the minutiae of life.
Cycle-touring also offers a crash course in prioritizing, valuing, and jettisoning material possessions. When your thighs are burning as you ascend a mountain on your bike, it’s a good time to really consider whether it was necessary to hold onto that sweater, book, or metal paperweight in the shape of a cat. Being able to pack light, leave unnecessary baggage behind and make do with what you find on the road is good practice for life in general.
Biking for Your Body
In addition to the psychological benefits, cycling is fantastic all-round exercise. You can go at your own pace, meaning that it is easy to gradually increase your fitness level by choosing a short route that avoids steep hills initially, and working up to conquering the mountains (if you so wish). It is also low impact, so it’s ideal for runners who want to maintain their cardiovascular fitness without constantly jolting their joints.
The health benefits of biking include:
- Improving overall muscle tone and strength
- Increasing stamina (helping with other fitness and leisure activities)
- Enhancing cardiovascular fitness and heart health
- Supporting mental health by decreasing stress
- Aiding weight management (burns about 300 calories an hour)
- Enhancing joint flexibility and coordination
Biking for Your Environment
Not only does cycling help to keep cars off the road, thereby reducing air pollution, it also leads to healthier, happier employees. Many companies actually offer incentives, both financial and otherwise, for people who regularly cycle to work. Some companies will even give employees a rebate for a new bike as part of their commitment to health and the environment. So, be sure to ask your colleagues about any such initiatives, or help your company set up a program so that everyone can experience the benefits of cycling!
Biking for Your Enjoyment!
Cycling is an enjoyable way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine; you’re more likely to exercise when it’s fun! Getting the whole family to cycle to school and work together is also a wonderful way to keep kids active and healthy. Just be sure everyone is wearing a helmet and reflective gear