5 reasons to start cycling
This week is Bike Week 2021, an annual celebration to showcase the mental, physical, financial and environmental benefits of cycling. Still not convinced? Here’s five reasons to dust off that bike and get out there.
1. Improve your fitness
The health benefits of cycling are well understood. Regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can keep your weight under control, strengthen your bones, and boost your immune system so you are less likely to fall ill.
Cycling to work is also a great way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine without much extra effort. Let’s say you cycle commute 30 minutes each way for three days a week – you’ve already overachieved the two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate exercise the NHS recommends for health benefits in adults.
2. Cost effective
You can save money on a new bike or cycling equipment using your employer’s Cycle to Work scheme. There’s more about how it works here, but essentially your new kit will end up costing you much less than if you bought it straight from a retailer. There should be more information about how to access Cycle to Work on your employer’s benefits platform.
If you currently drive to work, bear in mind that by making fewer journeys by car you will spend less on fuel and maintenance costs for your vehicle, as well as any parking charges.
3. Reduce pressure on public transport networks
Following nationwide restrictions due to COVID-19, we are all mindful of the demands placed on public transport systems and the staff who operate them. Having the option to cycle to work instead, even if only a couple of times a week, will help reduce overcrowding on public transport.
4. Go green
Making journeys by bike instead of car is something we can all do to help the environment.
Choosing to cycle to work, especially in city centres, can have a real impact on reducing pollution and improving air quality for everyone. It means lower congestion and calmer, quieter urban environments.
5. Mental wellbeing
Say goodbye to sitting in traffic, or trying to find a parking spot. Travelling by bike will save you stress on the daily commute, as well as money. Regularly riding a bike is proven to reduce stress in itself - it’s proven that 15% more of people who ride a bike every day are satisfied with their lives than people who haven’t biked since becoming an adult.
Also, don’t underestimate the mental health benefits of starting each day with a cycle ride. Getting out in the fresh air leaves you feeling revitalised, energised and optimistic in a way that exercising around a gym can’t.
For more ideas on improving your physical wellbeing, check out our article Exercising for Beginners.