The Benefits of Cycling
I would like to take this opportunity to share my enthusiasm and passion for cycling. This outdoor activity is enjoyed by many, from young children to seniors (who are still young at heart!). For me, cycling takes me back to my childhood years, stimulating a sense of freedom, the curiosity of the next adventure and the road less travelled. This is what appealed to me and I was drawn to discover new places.
Personally I have been cycling for approximately 5 years. Including, commuting to and from work, training weekly at Centennial Park and riding into the national park on the weekends. This great sport has not only taken me around the Sydney metropolitan area, but to places like Kangaroo Valley, Bowral, Macquarie Pass National Park, Nowra, Wollongong, Batemans Bay, Melbourne (around the bay), northside through the Kurringai Chase National Park and around the scenic Adelaide Hills. Places I would never have dreamt of going to on a bike.
Recently I completed 1 of a 3 part series in the Bicycle Network 3 Peaks Challenge. The first leg takes in the hinterland Gold Coast. Each ride is an epic length of 235km and an estimate of 4000m of climbing in a single day. Yes in 1 single day! Some people call it crazy, but it’s a journey I wanted to accomplish. The next two rides are at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and Falls Creek in Victoria.
Along with experiencing great adventures, cycling has many health benefits in general that are pretty amazing. Cycling overall has a positive effect on mental health problems; the balance between exertion and relaxation assists our body to cope with anxiety and depressive problems. For back pain, the continuous cyclic movement by our legs stimulate muscles in our back and the energy production in our joints help reduce the risk of arthritis. Compared to many other forms of exercise cycling is very low impact on your joints. It also helps shrink the waistline by increasing fitness and stimulating the metabolism. Finally moving our legs in circles to propel the bike whilst using both hands to steer, provides great stimulation for hand eye co-ordination skills, improving reflexes and alertness.
According to the Bicycle Network organisation during a recent COAG meeting, figures revealed inactivity costs Australia $13 billon annually. Mortality rates are on the rise due to type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The reduction of government spending on infrastructure and health programs greatly impacts on the general wellbeing of the community and compromises their need to live happy healthy lives.
So the take home message I’m encouraging:
- Discover what physical activity makes you happy and excited about being alive.
- Spend quality time either for yourself, with a loved one or with family, and
- Make that regular weekly commitment to be active and happy.
You never know what adventures it may take you on!
For more info on Cycling you can check out the Bicycle Network. They are a great community run organisation devoted to increasing participation in cycling.