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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

05/08/2013- It's National Bike Month!

A nationally recognized observance created by the League of American Bicyclists, May is National Bike Month and this week, May 16-20, is Bike to Work Week; May 17th is Bike-to-Work Day. Whether you have a classic Huffy or a fancy Trek, there is no better time to dust off the ole' two-seater and use it to get to work. And you'll kill two birds with one stone; as you side step the carpool you'll be getting some low-impact, high-result cardio exercise. A win-win situation if I've ever heard one!

As we all know, regular exercise is a major factor in reducing/preventing the occurrence of obesity and obesity related chronic illness, such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. The USDA suggests that adults get at least two and a half hours each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level or one hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level. Either of these are achievable through cycling! Cycling is a great form of exercise for many reasons. One of the many advantages about riding a bike (or taking a spin class) is that you can, for the most part, go at your own pace. You control the gears on your bike and can push yourself to what makes sense for you on a particular ride. So whether you are casually commuting or if you are vigorously training for a race, cycling is a customizable activity.

In regards to health benefits, cycling has incredible positive benefits for burning calories and improving heart health. Some of most beneficial relate to heart health, including improved blood flow to the heart, lowered blood pressure, and increased muscle strength. The British Medical Association found that riding your bike only 20 miles a week could reduce your chance of coronary heart disease by as much as 50 percent. Not to mention those concerned with weight/body composition, cycling aids in energy expenditure (calorie burning), bone strengthening, and stress level reducing.

And for those who may be concerned about the rewards-vs.-risks of cycling, research found that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the potential risks associated with air pollution and accidents. Furthermore, the study suggested that if you switched from driving your car to work to cycling, you would add between three and 14 months to your life. The most important health benefit of the activity is that it increases overall life expectancy, so the more you bike, the longer you'll live!



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