AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Cycling in the South can almost be a year-round activity. It is also an activity that has significant health benefits for those looking to hop on a bike for exercise.
Riding a bicycle is a low-impact exercise that’s easy on weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and feet. Those recovering from an injury may also turn to cycling. It can be a great way to start adding activity back into a routine without adding stress to the injury that running or lifting weights might do.
Cycling is also a great way to hit daily physical activity recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adults and children can both hit their goals together while spending time together. According to the CDC, children ages six and older need at least one hour of physical activity each day. Adults should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week.
“If your day doesn’t allow for 30 minutes of physical activity all at one time, it’s possible to break up your exercise into smaller chunks throughout the day,” said Erin Reznicek, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System family and consumer sciences specialist. “Make small goals and then work to improve upon them. The best exercise is the one you will do.”
While cycling is easy joints and a great physical activity choice, the health benefits it provides are also apparent. Pushing the pedals on a bike can improve heart and lung health, build muscle and burn fat. Additionally, mental health conditions, such as depression, stress, and anxiety, may benefit from regular bike riding. This act releases endorphins, which may help boost a person’s mood.
The CDC also reports that regular physical activity can help protect from obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes and arthritis.
An added bonus for cycling is that it can serve as a family activity. Getting the whole family on their bikes and going for a ride around the neighborhood or on a local trail is a great way to get in some valuable family time. It will also help families meet their daily physical activity recommendations.
For more information about physical activity, visit www.LiveWellAlabama.com, or like and follow Live Well Alabama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.