A cycling commute can support weight loss, reduce cancer risk

Have you thought about taking up cycling? Maybe you have the urge to pull that old 10-speed out of storage. Or maybe you’ve been eyeing that mountain bike at the big box store.

You could be missing the days of getting out in the fresh air and experiencing the world on the back of a bicycle. If you are ready to fully invest in the sport, consider that cycling as part of your daily commute can pay a variety of dividends.

For commutes less than five miles, cycling is a great way to get healthy. According to the American Cancer Society, exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer, and biking specifically increases the heart rate and boosts the functions of the cardiovascular system in the body. Although we think of bicycling as involving mainly the legs, it is actually a full body cardio workout. A Glasgow University study of over 260,000 people found that those who biked regularly lowered their risk of developing heart disease or cancer significantly.

Cycling also aids in disease prevention by contributing to cleaner air and exposure to less pollution levels. By keeping cars at home, cyclists who commute help the overall air quality of their community by reducing vehicle emissions.

Adding exercise to your daily routine can also help increase sleep quality, cognitive thinking skills and boost your immune system for a more productive day in the office. Cycling can specifically increase spatial awareness and navigation ability.

Riding your bike five miles to work can take as little as 20 minutes with enough intensity. Riding 10 miles an hour, those five miles will take a half hour to traverse. With that pace, your daily commute can burn 400 to 500 calories, according to activeweekender.com. A pace of over 15 miles an hour can burn upward of 700 calories if you bike a full hour.

Maybe you want to gain muscle or strength. Cycling can aid in that endeavor, too. Although cycling will not replace pumping iron, riding your bicycle is a great way to train your muscle fibers.

“It focuses particularly on the glutes, quads, hamstrings and the calves,” explained fitactivelivng.com.

Getting stronger and more toned legs is not the only benefit. The same article states “that people who have a higher muscle-to-fat ratio tend to burn more calories.”

It is a perfect time to get started on a cycling journey. We are in ozone season, where ground level ozone levels caused by air pollution are at their highest. When summer hits, those health benefits gained from cycling will pay off for the shorts and swimsuit season.

Need even more motivation? National Bike-to-Work Day 2021 is on Friday, May 21, so get peddling.