Riding a bicycle is like eating a raw vegan brownie: You may think you’re just having a great time; but in reality, you’re significantly improving several different facets of your health. Bicycling is the exercise equivalent of a spinach-infused baked good: the unpleasant associations of the healthy alternative are effectively submerged by their combination with the positive. When helmets, reflective gear, and other protective equipment are used to reduce the risk of bicycle accidents (which are somewhat less beneficial to one’s health), bicycling is an almost completely agreeable activity.
In case the thrill of the wind in your hair and the burn of lactate are not enough to sell the practice, here are some other advantages to bicycling:
1. Cardiovascular/Circulatory System
When you ride a bicycle, the muscles in use recruit an increased flow of blood for extra oxygen, which causes an increase in heart rate to keep up with the demands of your legs, back, etc. When exercise results in elevated heart rate, the heart is made stronger and more resilient against heart attacks.
Although bicycling is an excellent source of exercise, it is also incredibly efficient. Thus, while you may not feel like you’re expending very much energy (indeed, given the speed at which you cover the distance you do, you really aren’t working terribly hard), you’re actually conditioning your muscles to work better for a longer time.
Another thing you may have too much fun to notice is how well bicycling tones your muscles. Bicycling is particularly good for working both sides evenly, since riding in a straight line requires a symmetrical application of force. Not only does bicycling strengthen muscles; it does so in an exceptionally balanced way.
4. Joint Health
Because it is a low-impact exercise, bicycling is a great way to strengthen your joints by improving their stability and range of movement, exercise the muscles surrounding the joints in use, and fortify against future injuries.
5. Mental Health
Bicycling isn’t just a fun activity. In fact, it isn’t just a fun activity that promotes physical fitness. Beyond the obvious benefits, bicycling has been shown to promote mental alacrity. The vigilance required to successfully avoid bicycle accidents boosts attention to detail and mental quickness; and the activity, itself improves the mood.
6. Respiratory System
The benefits of bicycling to the respiratory system are rather oblique, aside from cardiovascular strength. However, bicycling does benefit the respiratory system in an indirect way in that the increased popularity of bicycling as a means of everyday travel cuts down on those CO2 emissions which are so detrimental to air quality in general. In the long run, bicycling can be helpful to entire communities, whether they ride bicycles or not.
Depending on your weight and the intensity of your workout, cycling can burn between 200 and 600 calories per hour. To put an actual price tag on this, researchers hypothesize that the health benefits of bicycling cut the costs of obesity-related medical treatment by $3.8 billion per year. While this dollar amount is certainly impressive, it is nothing compared to the invaluable feeling of wellness that accompanies physical fitness.
The obvious perks of bicycling are somewhat diminished when a bicycle accident causes a serious injury from which the rider has difficulty recuperating. Matters are only aggravated when appeals to insurance or the person responsible for the accident come up fruitless. In Utah, the laws regarding insurance of bicycle injuries are particularly convoluted and troublesome to the injured person trying to find recourse.
If you are struggling to find help after a bicycle accident, why not turn to the best bicycle accident attorneys in the Salt Lake City area? Christensen & Hymas not only have experience representing bicycle injury victims; they offer free literature on the topic and consultations for those wondering whether a lawyer is right for them. Booklets are available at UtahAccidentBooks.com or 1-800-LAW-BOOK. To request your free consultation, call their office directly at (801) 506-0800.
Image courtesy of Timothy J. Carroll