According to a United Health Foundation study, only one in five adults meets the US physical activity guidelines. “Physical inactivity increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, certain cancers, depression, and premature death.” These are startling statistics but the solution is easier than you may think. In my eBook, 7 Habits to Make Next Week Your Best Week, I share that it only takes 30 minutes daily to meet the guidelines.
The best way to create new habits is to make them enjoyable instead of a chore. Activities like dancing, bowling, kayaking, and cycling are fun and have the added benefit of exercise. If you’re not sold on the activity itself, there are plenty of ways to make it exciting. Using a fitness tracking app provides satisfaction by measuring your progress. Taking up an activity with a friend provides social support. Turning your activity into a game helps pass the time and creates a positive connection.
For anyone new to my blog, let me share a secret. My husband, Jer, and I are OBSESSED with cycling. What started as a fun activity we could do together while paying down debt has become an important part of our lives. It doesn’t hurt that we live in the only US city to make the World’s Best Cycling list. (Humble Brag)
What’s so great about cycling? For starters, nothing is more fun than flying down a road with rolling hills and no stop signs. But I would be amiss not to share the other remarkable benefits that make cycling one of the best forms of exercise. Without further ado …
The Top 5 Ways Cycling Will Change Your Life
1 – Cycling will Boost Your Confidence
It may surprise you to hear that cycling can burn as many calories as running, making it an excellent way to shed excess weight. While you’re shedding fat, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll tone up those legs. As you grow stronger, you’ll take pride in how much faster you ride each week. Cycling could even help you to age more gracefully.
Last but not least, if you have the confidence to ride around in skin-tight spandex, you have the confidence to do anything. 😉
2 – Improve Your Happiness and Mental Health
When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins that are known to reduce stress and trigger positive feelings. Don’t believe me? Hang out along a bike route and count how many cyclists have goofy smiles on their faces. There’s something about cycling that makes you feel ridiculously happy.
3 – Boost Your Intelligence
Did you know that you can grow new brain cells? It’s true. Neuroscientists are well on their way to uncovering the secret formula. In addition to rebuilding your brain, studies show that exercise can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Cycling is known to spark creative breakthroughs. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas while cycling. Dr. Arthur Kramer found that “adults who exercise display sharper memory skills, higher concentration levels, more fluid thinking, and greater problem-solving ability than those who are sedentary.”
4 – Enjoy Improved Physical Health
We all know that regular exercise is good for our cardiovascular system. Cycling is unique because you can enjoy the benefits of a high-intensity workout with very low impact. These benefits include better sleep and a stronger immune system. Remarkably I found a number of studies that show cycling not only reduces the risk of cancer but also increases survival rates.
5 – Save Money (Or Not)
In many cities, you don’t need to own a bike to enjoy the benefits of cycling. Shell out a few bucks for a helmet and you have a fun and inexpensive family activity.
Looking to kick-start your savings? Forbes suggests the average bicycle commuter saves between $7,000 – $8,000 per year by not driving. Just think how that could add up over a 40-year career. (Unless your husband has an expensive jersey habit. 😉 )
Cycling has played an integral role in creating positive change in our lives. We’ve become more confident, happier and healthier. It’s also a passion we can pursue as a couple into old age. It’s a perfect activity for your entire family. Give it a try and watch your life transform before your eyes.
What’s your favorite thing about riding a bike?
Share in the comments below.