The Cycle of Life


May is National Bike Month—a great time to get outside and enjoy the weather before the warm temperatures become unbearable! Not only is biking a cheaper alternative (in the long run) to driving a car, it comes with all kinds of health benefits as well. Even more, it’s much easier on your legs, ankles, knees and feet than running.

So, just in case you need more convincing, let’s chat and chew about other health benefits of biking!

Get a better night’s sleep. If you’re a night owl like me, you might want to consider breaking out the two-wheeler sooner rather than later. According to researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, people who suffer from insomnia were asked to cycle for 20-30 minutes every other day, which reduced the time it took to fall asleep by half. Also, their sleep time increased by almost an hour! 

Fuel your brain. Illinois University researchers found that “a five percent improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests.”(1)  Why you ask? Cycling helps build new cells in the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain responsible for memory—and deteriorates from the age of 30.

Take less sick days. People who bike ride for 30 minutes, five days a week take about half as many sick days as those who don’t, according to research from the University of North Carolina. 

It’s Heart Healthy. Bike riding regularly can cut your risk of heart disease by 50 percent, according to studies from Purdue University. 

Cycle your way past Cancer. Finnish researchers carried out a long-term study, which showed that men who exercised at a moderate level (i.e. cycling to work) for at least 30 minutes a day were half as likely to develop cancer as those who didn’t. Another study showed that women who cycle reduce their risk of breast cancer by 34 percent.

Work the creative cycle. One study found that just 25 minutes of aerobic exercise enhances at least one measure of creative thinking. This is a result of the flow of oxygen to your grey matter, sparking your neurons and giving you space from the stresses of life.

Stay social, stay healthy. Bike riding can be a very social activity—whether you enjoy it with friends or family! Also, remember when we discussed the ‘flight-or-flight-response’ in our Stress Less post? University of California researchers found that the hormone, oxytocin, is released through socializing, which buffers the ‘fight-or-flight response’.

Whether you’re looking for a healthy, yet fun date-night idea, a way to perk yourself up when you’re tired, or something new to incorporate into your daily exercise routine, bike riding is always a good option! Don’t forget, you can also boost your wallet and help the environment by biking more often. So get cycling and see improvements in your health, relationships and happiness!

References: bikeradar 30 reasons to take up cycling

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