Our Ealing chiropractor at The Spine & Joint Centre often recommends exercising to patients. One form of exercise, that is often recommended is cycling. Aside from the many health benefits that cycling provides, it is a fun and family friendly activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
That’s why we were excited to see a recent announcement from Prime Minster Boris Johnson. The PM has allotted an additional £2 billion in funding for a “cycling and walking revolution”.
This new project will involve the construction of thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, which will make it easier to walk or cycle around the UK.
To help you make the most of this new initiative, this post will share the health benefits of riding a bike and 5 ways you can increase your riding time each week.
The Many Health Benefits Of Riding A Bike
There are several reasons why we often recommend cycling to the patients visiting our chiropractor clinic in Ealing. They include:
- Low impact exercise
Riding is much easier on the joints than common forms of exercise like running, aerobics, or team sports like football. This makes it ideal for people with back, knee, or hip pain.
- Effective for weight loss
You can burn a lot of calories on the bike, which makes it particularly useful for weight loss.
- Stronger muscles and improved flexibility
Cycling is a brilliant way to strengthen major muscle groups and improving the stability of the spine. This is one of the main reasons why we often recommend riding in combination with chiropractic care.
- Mental health booster
Being outdoors on a bike is exhilarating. It can boost your mood significantly and take your mind off of the day-to-day problems that can cause stress and anxiety.
Before embarking on any new form of exercise seek advice from your health care practitioner.
How To Incorporate More Cycling Into Your Day
To really take advantage of the health benefits that cycling provides, you should look for ways to increase the time you spend on a bike each week. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use your bike for errands
The next time you need to pop down to the shop for milk and bread, leave the car at home. You might be surprised by how quickly you can travel around your local neighbourhood on a bike. Most people are less than 10 minutes travel time from their corner shop or post office. You can even ride your bike to your next chiropractic appointment!
- Make biking a social event
One of the great benefits of riding is that it can be a social activity that is performed with friends and family members. As you ride, you can chat about everything from the weather through to the latest episode of your favourite TV show.
When you make riding a social event, it becomes even more enjoyable. Each ride will be an opportunity to enjoy some fresh air, exercise your body, and catch up with people you care about. In addition to improving your physical health, making riding a social event will boost your mental health and help you maintain strong social connections.
- Ride to work
Many patients visiting our chiropractic in Ealing have enjoyed remarkable improvements in their health by riding to work. Here are a few tips for getting started:
- Gear up
Fit yourself and your bike with all of the necessary safety gear. This includes lights, a bell, a helmet, reflective strips, and bright clothing. This will help you feel safer on the road
- Plan your route before you start
Choose for the safest route, even if it will take a few minutes longer. Look up the locations of bike paths and avoid high traffic areas.
- Become an early riser
Get up early, so you don’t need to rush to work.
- Dress intelligently
Dress in layers if it is cold. Use modern cycling gear which is lightweight, adaptable, waterproof, and brightly coloured. You will be amazed by how much protection cycling gear made from the latest fabrics provides.
- Choose crinkle free work clothes
If you work in an environment where your appearance is important, wear clothes which won’t crinkle as you ride or change into your work wear at work.
- Take is slowly
Initially, ride to work one to two days per week at a slow to moderate pace. Once you get used to it, ride more frequently and at higher speed.
- Make the work ride social
See if any workmates are interested in joining you on your daily ride. If the timing is right, you could ride to school with your kids before heading to work.
- Don’t stink the place up!
If the weather is warm, you’ll need to be particularly mindful of personal hygiene. One option is to use the shower at work if they provide one. You could also use plenty of deodorant before you ride, then freshen up with baby wipes and deodorant when you get to work. Another option is to slow your pace, so you aren’t sweating like mad.
- Gear up
- Get an indoor trainer
A stationary indoor bike trainer makes it easy to ride your bike at any time of the day, which is useful if you have a hectic schedule. Modern indoor trainers are “smart” devices which can connect with software on a PC or tablet device. When using these trainers in combination with programs like Zwift, TrainerRoad, or Rouvy, you can ride virtual races and have training sessions with other people online.
- Explore the world
The efficiency of travelling on a bike makes it a brilliant way to explore the world. You can use a bike to visit nearby towns that you haven’t been to before, explore the local area while travelling, or ride through local forests.