Why cycling should be your next fitness pursuit*

It’s funny to think that humanity has only had bikes for 150 years. Bikes seem as if they should have been around a lot longer. In the modern world, bikes open up a whole world of fitness possibilities. And right now their popularity is growing. Here’re some of the reasons why cycling should become your next fitness pursuit.

Science says it’s good for your heart

It might surprise you to learn that quite a few studies have been done on cycling and the heart. And you don’t have to do endurance racing or mountain biking to get the benefits. According to science, just cycling to work every day, or about 20 miles a week, cuts your heart attack risk by 50 percent. That equates to about two hours a week, even if you’re not all that fit.

It boosts your immunity to disease

Back in 2009, we got the first hints that moderate exercise could boost immunity. Scientists published a study in Brain, Behaviour and Immunity. The study split mice up into two groups. One group was exercised on a treadmill. The other just sat around and did nothing. The mice were then exposed to the flu virus, three days after completing the exercise. The experiment showed that mice who exercised more had greater resistance to the flu.

Soon after, University of Illinois scientists did another experiment. They tested whether there was a difference between the survival rate for mice who did gentle exercise and those that did intensely. They found that moderate exercise boosted immunity far more than severe training.

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Whether these results can be applied to humans is debatable. But the evidence right now suggests that moderate exercise, like cycling, can keep you free from disease.

It’s cheaper than having a car

Running a car is expensive. The average Brit spends about £4,500 on their cars each year. You could buy a top of the range road or mountain bike for that kind of money. But the savings don’t end there. Even the most comprehensive multi bike insurance is cheaper than most car insurance deals. And by using the bike more often, you increase the lifespan of your car.

Increase your vitamin D exposure

This week the government created a bit of a stir when it suggested all Brits should supplement vitamin D.

Doctors and health professionals love the idea that we’re all nutrient deficient. But they rarely look at the evidence to see whether supplements have any effect on our health. Most of the time they don’t, and sometimes they’re outright dangerous.

It’s always best to get vitamins the natural way. Most vitamins come from food, except vitamin D, of course. That’s made in our skin following exposure to the sun. Cycling helps you get more vitamin D the natural way, boosting your mood and strengthening your muscles.

There’s no doubt you’ve heard of runner’s high. It’s when their brains release a bunch of endorphins, making them feel great. But there’s also something called cyclist’s high. It’s a bit different to runner’s high as it’s not so immediate. It’s something that grows throughout the ride. Track how you feel before you set off compared to when you arrive back home. You’ll notice a big difference in your mood.

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