Why cycling really is better for our health

Active commuting has been recommended as a practical way of incorporating more physical activity into our daily lives.

Cycling to work is one such activity which is believed to be so beneficial it is now being hailed as a ‘wonder drug’. Imagine that, a drug that reduces the risk of people developing heart disease and cancers. One that can cut your chances of premature death by as much as 40%.

A recent study published in The BMJ found that cycling to work is linked to a substantial decrease in the risk of developing and dying from cancer or cardio vascular disease.

Physical inactivity directly contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK. Inactivity has huge implications, people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. 85,000 Britons die early each year, according to studies. Globally the link to inactivity has always been linked to tobacco, but now sitting really is the new smoking.

The study has shown that a person’s health is more likely to improve with cycling over walking because with cycling a person will generally be increasing their cardiovascular output, by working harder, for instance when cycling up hill. It’s more likely that a person will travel greater distances and feel more inclined to keep going, rather than stopping and starting as one does when they walk.

Cycling is a great low impact exercise for all of the leg muscles. The muscles in the hips and the buttocks are also worked. It improves posture, coordination, overall body composition. It helps to maintains joint health and mobility, and manages illnesses such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Cycling is not only good for our general physical wellbeing but our mental wellbeing. On average, cycle commuting employees take one less sick day per year than non-cyclists.

It seems that the extensive health benefits of cycling are therefore too good to ignore.

If cycling seems too daunting a prospect. The e-bike (also known as a Pedelec) is a bike with a battery and an electric motor. This means that when you pedal it aids your physical output, and can travel up to 15.5 mph. Which means your speed gets a boost as well as your ego. You will find there is less effort needed on the hills. Which can help the less fit or elderly in getting out and about as well as helping those commuter’s bike ride to work more manageable.

E-bikes are able to provide many more people with the potential to start cycling. Olympic champions are also known to own e-bikes.

So there has never been a better time to get on your bike.

Here at the Estuary Clinic in Topsham we are perfectly located 5 miles betwixt the city and the sea, with cycle networks that link both, as well as access to over 20 miles of cycle tracks. Route Two have bikes for sale and for hire. It makes it so much easier than ever before to get on your bike.

Cycling is a great way to meet people, join clubs and even raise money for charity. Start cycling now and you will be in time for the Nello in June.

As with all exercise a proper warm up is crucial to avoid injury. So make sure you start off slowly before increasing your speed. And if you need any help or advice before you take to two wheels please get in touch with our physiotherapists or osteopaths.