Most of us have been riding bicycles since we were kids. It was the way we got around our neighborhoods, to our friend’s homes or the local park or store. We started on tricycles and, as our bodies grew, we transitioned to bikes. Once we got our driver’s licenses most of us gave up our bikes for cars. But a few kept biking for fun and even took it a step further as a sport. Those are the smart people because turns out, there are so many wonderful benefits to biking that you may not have known!
1. Get to Your Destination Faster Than a Lamborghini Ever Could
If you’re anything like most people, then you hate traffic. In most of the major cities traffic is so congested that you’re moving at an average rate of 7 mph. The good news is that you don’t have to take 3 eternities to get to work. Instead, just bike there and you will arrive faster than a Lamborghini ever could. If you live in one of the following major cities, it is actually faster to bike to work than to drive:
Philadelphia, PA, Tucson, AZ, Austin, TX, Denver, CO, Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, Louisville, KY, Washington D.C., San Jose, CA, Indianapolis, IN, and New York City, NY.
2. Renew Your Appreciation for the Small Things in Life
Everyone wears “being busy” as a badge of pride these days. It seems the busier you are, the more successful you are. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Take some extra time to appreciate your surroundings and renew your gratitude for the small things in life. This is not just some Zen advice – being grateful for the small things in life has scientifically been proven to increase long term happiness. Rediscover your neighborhood streets and parks or just ride to the grocery store instead of driving.
3. Outlive and Outperform Your Friends
A study in the Netherlands says cyclists live 6 months longer than non-cyclers. And it doesn’t take much to earn those six extra months – the average person in Holland cycles about 75 minutes per week.
Numerous studies conducted by universities have shown even more benefits. According to Vanderbilt University, cycling increases your brain functions leading to quicker reactions and better decision-making skills, improves your cardiac health, and dramatically increases concentration. Not only that but cycling releases endorphins what combat stress and depression.
And lastly, cycling uses all your muscles and builds your core. It will get you on step (or should we say pedal) closer to that dream body of yours.
4. Actually Feel and Look Younger Again
Skin care commercials are notorious for promoting that their magic cream will make you look ten years younger. However, there’s an easier and less expensive way to do it. You guessed it: cycling!
It’s not just about looking younger; it’s also about feeling it. Kings College in London and the University of Birmingham found cyclists older than 55 had levels of function comparable to a younger person. In fact, people who cycle for 30 minutes a day, five times a week took less sick days.
And probably one of the most enjoyable benefits that Kings College researchers found was that cyclists simply have better sex lives. However, we will be a little modest – it’s because they are active and exercising and not specifically because they are cycling.
5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The obvious way you are reducing your carbon footprint is by not driving. But your eco-friendliness goes a few levels deeper.
One of the biggest changes you will experience when you become a cyclist is that you will appreciate the environment more. It is easy to forget about the beauty you’re surrounded by when you’re rushing around in a metal box blasting the latest mainstream music. Feeling the soft breeze brushing against your face under a canopy of green summer trees will bring you closer to nature. This small little change will magnify itself onto every other area of your life to the point where you’re wearing eco-friendly cycling apparel (if you’re a fan of plaid).
People go far to protect their health and protect the earth. However, it does not have to be that complicated. Cycling is one of those few activities that are massively practical and incredibly beneficial. So, go out there, get your bike and start conquering the world!