A sedentary lifestyle causes obesity. Regular cycling increases physical activity and improves overall health. Those who cycle regularly are seen to be healthier than those who do not do so. Regular cycling is an effective, proven way to maintain health and increase longevity.
Some of the important benefits of cycling are:
Advertisement• It fortifies the immune system and protects the body from various infections.
• It aids in strengthening the body muscles and regularly tones them.
• Cycling strengthens the skeletal system and improves mobility.
• It improves posture and prevents spinal diseases and back pain.
• The circular movement of cycling is good for cartilages and tendons; therefore, it improves joint movement and prevents the likelihood of joint diseases.
• Cycling has a calming or soothing effect. It reduces mental stress and physical fatigue.
• It reduces fat accumulation in the body and, thus, prevents obesity.
• It improves blood circulation in the body.
• Cycling builds stamina. It reduces tiredness and promotes a feeling of well being.
Various international organizations have emphasized the importance of physical activity and reduced dependence on cars. This emphasis is also significant from the point of view of growing global obesity and climatic challenges.
A health impact assessment study was conducted to estimate the risks and the benefits of travelling by bicycle as compared to cars in an urban environment. This study was conducted among members of Bicing, which is acommunity bicycle sharing program, in Barcelona, Spain. The total number of participants in the study were 181,982.
The overall outcome was quite remarkable. There was increased physical activity, reduction in air pollution and road accidents. There was also a significant decrease in the emission of carbon dioxide, which is released by cars and other automobiles.
The estimated annual mortality of the Barcelona bicycle users was significantly affected. Initially, causalities occurring due to road accidents were 0.03, and deaths occurring due to air pollution were 0.13. Owing to increased physical activity by way of cycling, about 12.46 deaths were evaded. The benefit:risk ratio was 77.
Bicycle also reduced the annual emission rate of carbon dioxide by 9,062,344 kg.
The conclusion drawn from this study was that public initiatives like Bicing are very effective in promoting the use of cycle and also in highlighting the benefits associated with cycling. The benefits outweighed the risks involved. Therefore, such public initiatives are helpful in promoting the use of cycling to keep fit.
The health risks and benefits of cycling in urban environments compared with car use: health impact assessment study; David Rojas et al; BMJ2011.