Before I continue with the concluding part of my focus on cycling, I must put it on records that the Federal Road Safety Corps has been in the forefront seeking for dedicated lanes for cyclist and ensuring the appropriate infrastructures are put in place to enhance cycling. Evidence abound that any exercise is useful in warding off cancers. It has been shown that cycling is specifically good for keeping your cells in working order. Finnish researchers in a long- term study found that men who exercised at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes a day (Cycling to work) were 50percent less likely to develop cancer as those who didn’t. Other studies have also found that women who cycle frequently reduce their risk of breast cancer by 34 percent. Apart from improved blood flow to tissues, Research shows that people who cycle to work have two to three times less exposure to pollution than those in cars.
Cycling improves strength, balance and coordination. It may also help to prevent falls and fractures. It is low- impact exercise that places little stress on joints hence cycling is an ideal form for persons with osteoarthritis. Please note that because Cycling is not a weight- bearing exercise, it does not specifically help persons with osteoporosis (bone- thinning disease). It equally improves interpersonal performance & discipline. A study from the University of Bristol found that among 200 employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management, and it boosted their motivation and their ability to deal with stress. The study also reported that workers who exercised felt their interpersonal performance was better; they took fewer breaks and found it easier to finish work on time.
It is also helpful in Weight control and Obesity treatment. Sports physiologists have found that the body’s metabolic rate – the efficiency with which it burns calories and fat – is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards. (M. Simpson Loughborough University). One recent study showed that cyclists who cycled fast burned three and half times more body fat than those who cycled constantly at slower pace. Cycling is a good way to lose unwanted calories. Steady Cycling burns approximately 300 calories per hour. If you cycle for 30minutes every day, you would burn five kilogramme of fat in a year.
If you have issues with sleep, catch the bug and ride as riding aids better Sleeping habits. Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to cycle for 20- 30 minutes every other day. Time required for the insomniacs to fall asleep was reduced by 50percent, and sleep time increased by almost an hour. Professor Jim Horne from Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre explains that “Exercising outside exposes you to daylight.” This helps get your circadian rhythm back in sync, and also rids your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that can prevent deep, regenerative sleep. Cycling is also helpful in improving your bowels function. Experts from Bristol University found that “Physical activity helps decrease the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, limiting the amount of water absorbed back into your body and leaving you with softer stools, which are easier to pass.”
In addition, aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate, which helps to stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles. This prevents you from feeling bloated and helps protect you against bowel cancer. Furthermore, it increases brain power, alertness and improvement in Mental illness. Researchers from Illinois University found that a five percent improvement in cardio- respiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15percent in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus – the region responsible for memory, which deteriorates from the age of 30. “Cycling boosts blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which fires and regenerates receptors. This may explain how exercise helps ward off Alzheimer’s.
Mental health conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety can be reduced by regular bike riding. This is due to the effects of the exercise itself and because of the enjoyment that riding a bike can bring. Cycling helps to improve coordination such as arm – to- leg, feet – to- hands and body – to- eye co- ordinations. Some months after commencing cycling, dexterity and precision have been found to improve. According to C. Collins, a Chief dietician at St George’s Hospital in London Moderate exercise makes immune cells more active, so they are ready to fight off infection. Research from the University of North Carolina, says people who cycle for 30 minutes, five days a week had about 50percent reduction in sick days as persons who do not indulge in exercise.
And for those who are wary of ageing, a study from Stanford University has found that cycling regularly can protect your skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce the signs of ageing. “Increased circulation through exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells more effectively, while flushing harmful toxins out. Exercise also creates an ideal environment within the body to optimize collagen production, helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles and speed up the healing process.”
Being more physically active improves your vascular health, this has effect of boosting your sex drive• A study from Cornell University concluded that male athletes have the sexual prowess of men two to five years younger, while physically fit females have delayed menopause by about the same time. A study from Harvard University found that men aged over 50 years who cycle for at least three hours a week have a 30 percent lower risk of impotence and erectile dysfunction than those who do little exercise.