Many years ago I happened to mention to Coach Stacy that I hadn’t ridden a bicycle in decades. Several days later she showed up at my condo with a brand new bike. Well, not entirely brand new. Both of its tires were flat and the seat needed to be replaced. The brakes were suspect and the chain was rusty and nearly useless.
But it was new to me. Coach had spied it at a garage sale near her home. At the end of the day her neighbors told her she could have the bike for free if she’d just take the thing off their hands. A couple of hundred dollars later the bike was good to go. And so we did.
I vividly remember that sweet taste of liberty when I climbed back into the saddle and began cruising after a 30-year hiatus. Utter elation. Two bikes and plenty of pedaling later, I still look forward to riding. The bonus is that cycling – whether for competition or pleasure – is one of the healthiest forms of exercise a body can pursue, and more and more folks are cycling their way to good health. Here are 10 good reasons why you, too, should start pedaling:
- Biking is a low-impact activity – therefore it’s gentler on the joints than, say, running or walking.
- Easy to learn, biking is an excellent form of physical activity that can be enjoyed by novices and elite randonneurs alike.
- Bike riding is a full-body workout that helps you build strength as well as improve muscle tone.
- Because it raises the metabolic rate, biking also helps you burn calories and lose weight.
- Riding a bike is an excellent way to improve balance and coordination.
- Bicycling is a natural immunity booster and therefore assists in warding off everything from the common cold to cancer.
- Your heart and lungs will thank you – biking is a terrific all-around cardiovascular exercise.
- As with any form of physical activity, bike riding improves cognitive functions and memory.
- You can toss the anti-depressants since bicycling has also been linked to reduced anxiety, depression and stress.
- Studies have shown that people sleep better if bicycling is incorporated into each day.
- Bike riding is efficient and green. You can knock off your cardio while commuting to work – without contributing to car emission problems.
Summer’s winding down and there are plenty of glorious fall days on the horizon. Why not hop on a bike and go for a spin? Your body will surely thank you!