There are many reasons that make biking a beneficial life choice. In fact, if you want to improve several areas of your health biking can be a great way to do that. Biking not only improves your physical health, but also your mental and environmental health as well!
Mental and Emotional Health
Riding a bike can greatly improve your emotional or mental health. Exercise has been proven again and again to help boost your mental health and reduce or prevent depression and anxiety. Exercise acts like a natural antidepressant by releasing endorphins which make you feel happy and positive! At the same time exercise is shown to reduce stress, which makes sense. Have you ever been at work up to your elbows in decisions that need to be made, and things that needed to be done, and then gone for a walk, taken a bike ride, or went for a run? Felt better, right? That is because that "happy" effect you get from exercise that takes away the depression, also reduces cortisol levels. Which is good because cortisol equals stress and can wreak havoc on your body if it remains at a high level for a long period of time.¹
Finally, it may seem obvious, but biking is going to make you a fitter, stronger person and that means self-confidence! Self-confidence is the great slayer of insecurity and will help you feel more confident and assured in your life both at home and at work!
Sounds like a lot for just hopping on the bike? Oh wait… there is more.
Biking also grants great physical health attributes as well. Riding your bike can lead to weight loss (stay tuned for a Schwinn Red article about this soon!). It is important to maintain a healthy weight level for overall health. Complications and related disease from obesity kills many people in the United States each year. Having too much fat can also lead to type two diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and more, which is why it is important to make sure that you have a healthy BMI. Exercising, like biking, can help you reduce your BMI number, get you back to a healthy level, and reduce your chances of developing one of the health issues listed above.²
While biking can help reduce heart disease by reducing fat it also provides great cardio health, and since cardio is synonymous with heart, you guessed it, that means a healthy heart!
Exercising has also been shown to reduce the chances of getting colon cancer as well as other cancers according to the National Cancer Institute.
Wow! That is a lot of healthy benefits from just simply getting on the bike, but there is more!
If you make attempts to replace some of your current transportation by automobile to transportation by bike you can also increase the environmental health of your local community and the global community as well!
We recently talked about how biking reduces your C02, or Carbon Dioxide, footprint. (You can read the full article about green biking and C02 here), but biking also provides many other environmental benefits that are less immediately obvious.
One of these environmental benefits is as simple as reduced congestion. Did you know that anywhere from 6 – 12 or more bikes can fit in the same amount of space in a single parking space as one car? Another way to look at it is by the image below. That image shows what it looks like to transport the same amount of people by bus, car, or bike. Imagine now if just half of your community rode bikes half the time. That would create a lot of traffic congestion reduction.³
Another seemingly obvious environmental solution is reduced noise pollution. Let’s face it: automobiles are noisy. In some cities there are areas designated to be vehicle free for just such reasons. An area with less automobile noise pollution adds to a peaceful atmosphere for community members to enjoy.
Lastly the environment of the community itself can benefit from increased bicycle riding in place of automobiles. United States cities like Portland are seeing healthier citizens, increased local economics, am increased community bond, and much, much more!
1. Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495
2. The Benefits of Physical Activity. Harvard School of Public Health. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/staying-active-full-story/
3. Bicycle Parking Corrals. Portland Bureau of Transportation. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/250076
4. How Portland Benefits from Bicycle. City of Portland, Portland Bureau of Transportation. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/371038