peddlinhWith the Tour de France in full swing, it’s hard to not be inspired to dust off the bike. Not only is cycling healthy for you, it’s a ‘Green’ form of transport.
The Benefits of Cycling
Unlike many other forms of exercise, cycling is easy. It does not require a great level of skill or technique and it can be done on a normal or stationary bike. Cycling can also be exciting, going up and down hills and getting outdoors and having an adventure means you are generally more likely to exercise. It is also an activity that the whole family can do together. Cycling is time efficient especially where you use it for transport instead of sitting in a car.
Cycling is a low impact form of exercise which places less strain on your joints. Cycling also uses the majority of large muscles groups which is good for strength, stamina and aerobic fitness. Cycling can be as intense as you like, this means it can be used as a form of vigorous exercise. It is also perfect for as a recovery activity if you are recovering from an illness or injury. However, for the best benefits pedal vigorously 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes.
The health benefits of regular cycling include:
- Increased cardiovascular fitness
- Improved joint mobility
- Decreased stress levels
- Improved posture and coordination
- Strengthened bones
- Prevention or management of disease
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Help with weight loss, evidence shows that cycling reduces the chance of developing bowel and breast cancer.
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility (cyclist develop a strong core as they resist the counter forces that you are drive into the pedals, the back and arm muscles also help with stabilization and control of the bike).
A Finnish study also discovered that people who rode bikes more than 30-minutes a day had a 40% less chance of developing diabetes.
Bike checklist and set up
The correct bike set up can decrease your risk of injury.
Handle bar height – The handle bars should be at the same height as your seat. Hold the handle bars with a secure grip but not too tight.
Seat height – Correct seat height is crucial to avoid back or knee pain. On the down stroke of pedaling there should be a slight bend in your knee.
Body position – Keep your core strong, lift the torso, keep your shoulders back and down and your chest slightly lifted.
If you are unsure – our physiotherapists are more than happy to help you correctly fit your bike.
Save the date!
Sydney to Gong – The MS Sydney to the Gong Ride is Australia’s most respected and spectacular one day community bike ride. Held on 6 November 2016, the MS Sydney to the Gong Ride is a charity bike ride spanning between Sydney and Wollongong, a fantastic fundraising effort to support Australians living with multiple sclerosis.
Time to get out there and enjoy your day.
Tom Hamilton is a Physiotherapist at The Healthy Body Company in Penrith.