At the age of 55 I have suddenly found out about the joys of cycling and the health benefits. A year ago I huffed and puffed at cyclists getting in my way on the road – now I just admire their ability to get up a hill, though I still mutter heavily when they cycle two abreast – why do they do that??
Since the spring ( I am definitely a fair weather cyclist ) once a week at least my husband and I don our natty padded cycle shorts ( vital for bum protection) and load the bikes on the back of the car and off we go, to cycle one of the many dedicated cycle routes that have been created over the past few years. Our favourite is National Cycle Route 1 – Dover to Inverness I think, but we have so far only managed Dover to Whitstable, and I have to say have no urge to go further! The great thing about all these routes is that they are flat (ish!) and generally circular, being part on the national cycle routes, and part on very quiet country roads with few risks of potholes. And its a great way to see the countryside.
So, why cycle?
FITNESS – it will increase muscle tone, and raise your heart rate to build fitness and stamina
HEART HEALTH – The BMA (British Medical Association) says that cycling 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%
REDUCE STRESS – regular exercise of any kind is known to reduce stress and anxiety levels
LOW IMPACT EXERCISE – cycling is the ideal cardiovascular exercise that wont put strain on your joints
BURN CALORIES – cycling will burn 300 calories an hour. Increase calorie burn by stepping up the speed and doing intervals of faster peddling
TONING – believe me, it tones your tum and thighs much more than a work out in the gym.
There are lots of local cycle groups starting up all over the UK for all levels as cycling gains in popularity. Go to British Cycling
For biking routes go to National Cycle Network