We hear so much these days about exercise, and the fact that we should be doing plenty of it, but what do you do if you hate the gym?
Not everyone is comfortable on a cross trainer, and not everyone wants to exercise within four walls. If that sounds like your quandary, then cycling in the great outdoors could be for you. Of course, you’re also saving the planet as you go!
If you need a little more persuasion about the health benefits of cycling, check out these eight reasons. By the end of it, the aim is that you will be reaching for the nearest bike and heading off into the horizon, or at least around the park a couple of times!
Boost Your Brain
Studies have shown that gentle exercise on a regular basis can help boost blood flow to the brain, kicking back into action the brain receptors which are responsible for memory; this all adds up to a more focused and slightly brainier you! If you need focus, heading outdoors and cycling could certainly give you what you need.
Cut your Commute Stress
Have you ever sat in a traffic jam, tapping the steering wheel and feeling your stress levels creep up? This is a common situation, and one that is bad for your health—stress is damaging on so many levels, and can even be life-threatening in its worst cases. Cycling beats this because when you jump on your bike to work, you a) get there quicker, and b) don’t have to endure those stressful traffic jams.
Catch your Zzzz
Cycling can help your quality of sleep, studies by Stanford University have shown. We know that exercise overall can help you nod off to a better quality of sleep, but it has been shown that cycling for 20-30 minutes every other day could help insomniacs manage to fall asleep much faster. Generally speaking, cycling gives you that sleep-inducing boost, but it also means you get a lungful of fresh air too, which also helps you sleep—double whammy!
Bowel Issues Banished
If you suffer from problems with constipation, you might be surprised to learn that cycling could help move things along, well, faster. Gentle physical exercise can help transport food through your body and into your digestive system, and back out again. Because of this faster process you are cutting down on the amount of water which has the time to arrive back in your system, which basically leaves you much more able to do what you need to do, so to speak.
Turn Back the Ageing Clock
Exercise such as cycling can help protect your skin and turn back that ticking clock. This is down to a boost in circulation which refreshes complexions and helps oxygen move to the skin cells it might not otherwise have reached, delivering well-needed nutrients. This has the effect of helping banish toxins, which leaves behind a brighter, more youthful-looking you. Exercise also makes you smile, and there is nothing more youthful than a smile!
Boosts Your Immunity
Another boost is given to your immune system, as regular exercise helps make the cells in your body responsible for fighting illness much more active, therefore if you are to come into contact with bacteria or viruses, you’re in much better shape to fight it all off.
Helps with Weight Management
Any exercise is great for helping you when you’re on a diet, because when you eat a balanced diet and combine it with regular, gentle exercise, your efforts are boosted two fold. Cycling is moderate, which means you can go at your own pace, and that opens up this pastime to all abilities.
Boost Your Mood and Smile!
Okay, so exercise gets your blood flowing, it boosts the serotonin (happy hormones) in your body, and on top of that, heading outside gives you another happy and smiley reason to continue. A happier you, is a healthier you.
So, these are eight fantastic reasons to jump on your mountain bike and head to the great outdoors. Of course, there are more practical advantages too, such as saving the planet, and of course, saving your cash—it’s much more cost effective to cycle than drive!