The Truth About Urban Cycling and Its Health Benefits

Using your bicycle as a transportation method in your city has huge health benefits.

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Photo by: See-ming Lee

According to The State of Obesity, an annual report that spotlights trends of this health condition in the US, obesity rates in adults have doubled since the 1980s. As if that wasn’t a number scary enough, the situation among children is far worse: children obesity rates almost tripled over the last 30 years.

There’s a great number of factors at play in forming this dreadful statistics: unhealthy eating, chronic stress, genetic factors, sedentary lifestyle, sleep problems, and what not.

The question is what can we do to improve the existing state of things?

One of the possible answers is unexpectedly pleasant, and already adopted by a lot of cities all around the world: increase rates of urban cycling!

What it is and why it’s great

In short, urban cycling is just using your bicycle as a transportation method throughout your city. For example, instead of going by car or taking the train you could just hop on your bike and start pedaling! Did you know that according to USA Today the number of people who commute to work by bicycle increased by 60% throughout the last decade?

At a glance, urban cycling to work is just packed with benefits both for you and the whole country (and world!):

  • Health benefits resulting from physical activity (we’ll take a more detailed look at that in the next section)
  • Less stress. Forget about the traffic problems: when on a bike, you can move almost as freely as you’d do by foot. Get wherever you need to get quicker, calmer, and so much happier.
  • Significant financial benefits. Having a bike is much cheaper than owning a car and keeping it in a flawlessly working state. Plus, no gas expenses.
  • Environment-friendly. It is believed that the transportation sector in US produces as much as 30% of all American global warming emissions. In other words: fewer cars, slower global warming. Just think of the poor penguins!

But, of course, one of the primary reasons why thousands of people are introducing bicycles into their everyday transport routine are the fabulous personal health benefits associated with this activity.

5 Unbelievable (and scientifically confirmed) health benefits of urban cycling

  • Cycling is inversely associated with obesity rates, as confirmed by data from multiple countries and studies. That’s just natural when you think about it, as riding a bike is a full-scale aerobic exercise, which is far more effective than strength and resistance training in terms of promoting weight loss.
  • Commuter and recreational cycling decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as shown in a recent study published in 2016 in the Public Library of Science (PLOS). Avoid the dire need to control your sugar, take insulin shots and all kinds of anti-diabetic medications with this easy health hack: just start pedaling!
  • Cycling commuters live longer and are 45% less likely to have cancer, and it doesn’t stop at that. The numbers of this study are just amazing: cycling reduces risk of death from any cause by 41%, death of cardiovascular conditions by 52%, and death of cancer by 40%. Boom.
  • Commute cycling enhances cardiovascular health, controls cholesterol levels, and prevents elevated blood pressure levels even if adopted at a middle age (the participants of this study aged 43.5 years on average). In other words, it’s never too late to start: the fabulous health benefits of cycling are waiting for you.
  • Bicycle commuters feel significantly less stress than people who opted for other means of transportation. The greatest effects seem to appear after 4 or more days of bike commuting per week.

So how do you start?

Well, the short answer is simple: just start. After all, any kind of physical activity is better than no activity altogether. Find a bike that you like, trust, and can afford – and just start pedaling!

However, if you want to get some extra insights and an end-to-end guide on all the thigs you should know to start cycling through your city in the best way possible – take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Urban Cycling.

Another great idea would be trying out a bike sharing system, which consists of stations of publicly-available bikes spread throughout a lot of cities in the US and abroad. Pick a bike, pay for the ride, park the bike in a station that’s closest to your point of destination – and that’s it! Perhaps, this is the best way to try out if urban cycling is for you (but let’s be frank: how could it not?) without having to go through the trouble of actually purchasing a bicycle and keeping it somewhere safe. Everything is done by the owner company, your goal is just to pedal and have fun!

The Bottom Line

If you’d have to pick only one new activity to skyrocket your health in 2018, I believe that the best option would be getting into urban cycling. Besides the fabulous health benefits that it offers you, it’s just a clean and environment-friendly way of moving through your city. No harmful emissions, no annoying sounds, no traffic problems – it’s a win-win scenario for everyone!

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. Your quest for a better health is to be ignited with the best start ever, and all kinds of beneficial things will come hand in hand. Just imagine:

  • You’ll start drinking more thanks to the physical activity
  • You’ll start sleeping better to refill your energy for the next pedaling commute
  • You’ll instantly feel less stressed and so much happier, boosting your productivity and motivation for all other things you do in life (work included)

To wrap it up, my friend, I’ll remind you that 2018 starts in just a few weeks. Which is great, a totally clean slate to start writing your story on! Don’t miss it. It’s time to start pedaling and get the health you deserve!


Gracy, a dedicated and qualified nutritionist with over six years of experience in the Indian food industry, currently blogging at Besthcgdropswebsite.com, The online source for best homeopathy weight loss drops. She has done MSc Degree in Human Nutrition at Chinmaya degree College(BHEL) in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. You can reach her anytime if you have any questions regarding this guest post.

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