May is National Bike Month
So to celebrate, we are re posting a previous article about cycling and its many health benefits.
But before that, let’s talk about safety. During the Covid 19 epidemic traffic is very low and more and more people are enjoying biking. The air feels cleaner, and with less cars on the streets it is much easier to be on a bike. However it is still potentially dangerous to share the road and we must stay vigilant, as a biker and as a motorist.
The Auto Club has a lot of good tips for bikers and motorists. We recommend getting familiar with these, especially if you are not an experienced biker or need help with your children.
We selected one Safety Tip that we found very useful:
The “Dutch Reach”
A very common incident happens when a car door is opened and hits a cyclist. We often forget to look before opening the door, but fortunately there is a way to prevent this type of crashes. Here is the tip: the driver and the passengers seated on the left side of the vehicle should open their door with their right hand instead of their left. To do so, people must turn around and swivel their bodies. In that position, they have to look over their left shoulder and are much more likely to see any approaching bikers. This is called the “Dutch Reach” , maybe because the Dutch have a lot more experience with bikes and safety than most people!
So since this May is National Bike Month, enjoy the ride and stay safe!
Here is our earlier article: Cycling: The Benefits
Impact on mood
We know that stress is one of the scourges of modern times, and can be involved in many diseases. Fortunately there are things you can do about it and cycling is one of them. As a matter of fact, regular cycling can help:
• fight against depression
• lower anxiety
• boost the mood
In addition, cycling is ideal to:
• burn off excess adrenaline that is released in response to a stressful situation. Over time, persistent surges of adrenaline can be damaging, so it is important to learn how to control and eliminate it better. Read about Deep Breathing
• promote the secretion of endorphins, the famous pleasure hormones secreted by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland
• slim down and tone up thighs, buttocks and waist, encourage weight loss, which help to build up self-confidence
The practice of outdoor cycling also allows you to take your mind away from your daily concerns and preoccupations
Tip: It is a good idea to start cycling with family or friends, and practice as a social activity.
Impact on the body
Whether you ride a bike outdoors or practice on an exercise bike, the benefits to the body are undeniable. We recommend cycling outdoors whenever possible as it cultivates a sense of balance and the open air helps the mind to relax. However for some people this is difficult, especially in big cities, and the exercise bike is still a good alternative.
The main advantage of cycling is that it works at the same time the cardiac muscle and skeletal muscles. It is mainly an aerobic activity which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. Cycling develops cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
Cycling allows to:
• reduce body fat and fight against cellulite: the leg flexion-extension movement works the deep muscles and stimulates blood circulation
• fight heavy legs syndrome by promoting the return of blood flow.
• increase muscle strength: cycling engages many muscles from head to toe: abs, pecs, arms, back, glutes and especially the legs. It gives them definition and tone.
• improve stamina, better irrigate the brain, reduce blood pressure, facilitate digestion and enhance breathing capacity.
• slower the heart rate. In addition, while you are cycling, the heart beats with more power which brings more oxygen to the muscles.
• increase bone strength and therefore reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Tip: the practice of cycling improves balance and coordination. It is therefore very beneficial for seniors who want to cultivate their equilibrium. Having a good balance will prevent falls, which unfortunately happen too often after a certain age.
Regular practice of at least 30 minutes once or twice a week is a good start.
You should seek the advice of your doctor if you have balance issues or cardiovascular diseases, especially if you want to practice cycling intensively. Consult with your doctor if you suffer from joint pain too. However, since cycling is a low-impact exercise that places little stress on joints, most people can practice.
Tip: choosing a bike perfectly adapted to your morphology is essential to reduce the risk of back or knee pain.
Choice of material
To minimize the risk of pain and other trauma, make sure to use a bike that suits your body. A seat that is too high or too hard or a handlebar that is too low could cause muscle or tendon lesions.
Make sure you choose a bike that is right for your size and morphology, then adjust the various elements. Pay particular attention to the saddle. It must be straight, neither too high nor too low, not too far back, and its shape should adapt well to your body.
The first risk of cycling … is the accident. If you bike in town or on the road, make sure you wear a helmet, respect traffic laws and pay attention to your surroundings.
Cycling is a healthy, fun and low-impact form of exercise for all ages. And it is easy to fit into your daily routine. So get on that bike!