World Bicycle Day 2022: Bicycles will always be close to our heart as they are reminder of a golden period of our life called childhood. There is nothing quite as exciting as a bicycle ride as it helps you disconnect with the daily hustle and bustle. Cycling is no wonder a popular choice of commuting in many European countries. A low-impact exercise, cycling can double up as a recreational as well as a fitness activity. (Also read: Boost your overall health with cycling. Know its benefits from doctor)
World Bicycle Day is observed every year on June 3. It was in 2018 in the month of April that the United Nations General Assembly declared the day as International World Bicycle Day. A simple, affordable, reliable, and environment-friendly means of transport, the benefits of riding bicycles are incalculable.
“Cycling is a low-impact exercise and incorporating cycling into our exercise or as a recreational activity can benefit people of all ages and improve their quality of life. Cycling can also help us beat sedentary lifestyle as we can use a cycle while picking groceries and other small items down the block. Using it for commuting to the office rather than automobiles can be simple and effective solutions to a healthy lifestyle,” says Lalchawimawi Sanate PT. LCCE, Senior Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Sahakarnagar Branch, Bangalore.
Cycling is not just beneficial for our physical health; it also works wonders for mental health and is a great way to beat the daily stress.
“It slows up the pace of your super-fast, stressed up life and releases all those feel-good hormones that would fill you up with energy, enthusiasm and vigour to face the day. Outdoor exposure in the midst of nature destresses the mind and especially if you in a group, it provides you the opportunity to venture out and charter into the far-flung countryside areas of the city which you would otherwise never visit on cars,” says Dr Sunaina Bansal Senior Consultant Obstetrician and gynaecologist, Cloudnine Group of hospitals, Chandigarh.
An ideal exercise
“Cycling is a perfect way to exercise as the risk of serious injuries that weightlifting presents are reduced to negligible. It improves the efficiency of your heart and lungs and reduces the risk of developing cancers. Some of the great muscle groups that are strengthened while cycling are the gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstring, calves and the core muscles,” says Dr Bansal.
Good for hearts and lungs of elderly
Cycling can be a therapy for senior citizens too as it may help them stay and feel younger. Dr Bansal says cycling being a low-stress and low impact exercise is great for their heart and lungs and aid in maintaining a better eye coordination, joint mobility, balance and flexibility.
Improves alertness in children
For children, cycling provides a sense of freedom and independence and they can move around with ease by themselves. It is said that kids who cycle to school are more alert, attentive, cheerful, well-behaved and ready to learn than those who arrive in car.
“Cycling is a great way to maintain bone strength, boost confidence and it allows kids to be aware of the bodies and surroundings. It makes them accountable and responsible and helps in social development, side by side enhancing immunity,” says Dr Bansal.
Benefits for women: Protection against breast cancer
Cycling is an excellent exercise for women. It is not only good for their heart, but also gives protection against breast cancer.
Cycling outdoors also give you the much-required dose of vitamin D, strengthens your muscles, helps you sleep better and boost your self confidence. It exercises all the four limbs, strengthens your quadriceps and thighs and helps to prevent accumulation of body fat around the core muscles which is very common in women after their pregnancy and after delivery. It keeps the immunity high, fights off insomnia and stress, and improves digestion.
Here are other benefits of cycling according to Lalchawimawi Sanate PT. LCCE, Senior Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bangalore.
1. Improve cardiorespiratory function: People who engage in cycling for continuously 8 weeks found a significant improvement in their VO2 max, cardiorespiratory fitness, and body fat.
2. Strengthens and improves lean muscle mass of the lower limb like the quadriceps, Gluteus, calf, and hamstring muscles.
3. Decreases the chances of developing cancer, especially colon and breast cancer.
4. Improves joint flexibility and mobility.
5. Improves mental health by decreasing anxiety and depression.
6. Improves cardiovascular function: Cycling strengthens heart muscles and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. A Danish study finds that regular cycling protects people from heart disease.
7. People who cycle at least 30 minutes per day have a lower chance of developing diabetes.
8. Helps curb obesity and weight gain – Research also found that 30 minutes of cycling every day will burn nearly five kilograms of fat over a year.
9. Improves brain health – Cycling improves blood flow in the brain which helps in reducing the level of cognitive changes as human ages.
10. Helps decrease and improve pain with knee osteoarthritis – Patient which were introduced low impact cycling found to improve their condition.
11. Cycling can help you live longer – A study in 2018 finds that cycling for 1 hour in a week could decrease the risk of early death by 23 per cent.
12. Regular cycling improves bone strength, obesity in women after reaching menopause
Benefits of cycling for children
1. Cycling improves brain development
2. Improve learning skills and help in their ability to concentrate
3. Improves fitness and decreases childhood obesity
4. Cycling makes children happy, feel satisfied with their achievements in riding a bicycle, and improves their confidence which helps develop their positive behaviour
5. Cognitive improvements are seen in children with ADHD after cycling
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