We might not have found the secret to living forever just yet - but did you know all the ways that cycling has actually been proven to help you live longer? As if you needed another reason to get out on your bike, use these remarkable health benefits of cycling the next time someone argues with you that running is a better form of exercise…
Cuts risk of cancer and heart disease
Cycling just 20 miles a week can strengthen your heart and cut your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 45%. The study was conducted over five years across 264,337 people, also finding that those that regularly commuted on a bike as opposed to a vehicle were at less risk of death from all causes by more than 40%.
Improves mental wellbeing
There have been plenty of studies that suggest any form of exercise improves mental wellbeing, but many actually note that those who commute by a bicycle are actually happier and less prone to depression than those who use other forms of transport.
Lessens exposure to pollution for healthier lungs
You might think that being out in the open, especially in a city like London, would increase your exposure to pollutants however it’s actually the opposite. An experiment by Kings College London and Camden Council found that when they measured air pollution for a variety of modes of transport that drivers of cars experienced five times higher pollution levels than the cyclist. Another report suggests that if Britain were to reach the government targets for walking and cycling, deaths from air pollution would be reduced by 13,000 over the next decade.
Promotes weight loss
Again, it’s fairly obvious - but cycling gets your heart pumping and burns calories, leading to weight loss - and according to a study by the University of Edinburgh, every kilo you lose will add two months to your life. Sprint training can also increase your metabolic rate by 36%, burning more calories than regular exercise, plus the resistance element of cycling helps build muscle. People with higher muscle burn even more calories!
Improves immune system
Research from the University of North Carolina found that people who ride their bike for around 30 minutes, five days a week take half as many sick days as sedentary people. Exercise has huge benefits on overall health and your upper respiratory system, helping reduce the chances of common colds, boosting the natural production of essential proteins and waking up lazy white blood cells to bolster your immune system.
So there you have it - riding your bike, whether it’s for leisure purposes or on your daily commute, can have a major impact on your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re considering taking up cycling or know someone else that’s thinking about it, these are just a few of the reasons why it’s by far the best option to keep fit and healthy!