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New year, new you? Get on your bike!

Jan 17, 2020 - 3min read



A new year is upon us – and with each new year comes resolutions for the months ahead. Many choose to start the year right by making healthy lifestyle changes, while others choose to clamp down on their finances. Perhaps it’s a sustainability pledge on the top of your 2020 list this year?

To help inspire a healthy, happy and more sustainable 2020, we’ve partnered with Sustrans, the UK charity who are working towards healthier places and happier people - by making cycling, walking and active lifestyle choices more attractive and accessible. Sustrans are custodians of the National Cycle Network and with 5,273 traffic-free miles on these paths, choosing to cycle more might feel a lot more achievable!

In collaboration with Sustrans, we’ve put together the following list of reasons why we think cycling is the key to a great new year…

Boost your brainpower with the power of exercise

Thanks to the release of adrenalin and endorphins through your body moving, an active lifestyle gives your mind a boost which will work wonders to be rid of the January blues. A leisurely bike ride increases your heartrate, meaning more blood pumping around your body and brain.

Enjoy the confidence that comes from achieving new things (such as getting closer to that goal, or perhaps saving money on public transport), along with the improved concentration and good mood a cycle ride can bring. The combination of being outside and getting some exercise on the bike is a great way to process things that might be troubling you. Mindfulness is something we should all make time for – so enjoy some self-care this year!

Burn the calories, enjoy the guilt-free snacks

If you’re busy cycling, then you’re burning calories. And if you’re burning calories, then over time you’ll burn fat, and build muscle. The resistance of pedalling will tone and build muscle around your glutes, thighs, calves and hamstrings and even the steadiest paced cycle ride each week can burn up to 500 calories in an hour.

If you’re choosing to cycle into work each day, then that’s a great excuse to enjoy a guilt-free second breakfast or an extra snack during the day! Cycling to and from work will see the calories you’ve burned build up in no time.

Small actions - big environmental impact

It’s possible for us all to make changes to the way we travel, and how we contribute to a cleaner, greener future for all. Consider switching your usual commute from your petrol/diesel car, to an alternative mode of transport where possible and help reduce the air pollution in our skies. Air pollution has a significant effect on our health and in recent years has shown links to a number of conditions including heart and lung disease, dementia, respiratory conditions, miscarriage, and stunted lung growth in children.[1]

Studies have shown that car drivers experience up to 5 times higher air pollution levels[2] than a cyclist due to the exhaust fumes (particularly of diesel engines), idling and traffic jams. On your bike, you have the option to avoid harmful fumes on busy roads and take quieter routes to your destination.  If car travel is the only way – why not consider an Electric Vehicle and be kinder on the environment. It’s a no brainer!

Low impact and good for mobility

Cycling is a low impact form of exercise that is good fun, good for the body and causes minimal impact on your joints (unlike weight baring exercises like running). Most people can cover up to 5 miles in half an hour, but if you’ve got a long way to travel why not put the bike in the car and cycle the last bit? You might beat the traffic too!

Get your body moving, and in time you’ll see the distance you can manage increase.

Sleep better

Taking care of yourself and making time to exercise each week will not only help how you feel during the day, but also improve the quality and amount of sleep you get each night too. Cycling to and from work, along with your usual daily activities means a lot of extra energy being used. By the time your bedtime comes around, your body will be ready to fall into a sound and restful sleep. Sweet dreams!

Save time, money, and the environment

Short journeys by petrol/ diesel vehicles are a big contributor to the air pollution levels in our towns and cities. Get on the bike, cycle past the traffic, and arrive at your destination with the extra cash in your pocket, along with zero stress caused by the busy roads. Think of the time and money you could save over 12 months!

''Our society faces some profound challenges. From climate change and air pollution to physical and mental health crises, the pressures on communities across our four nations are growing. There is no silver bullet but the work of Sustrans and our partners provides an essential contribution to tackling the challenges of our time.'' Lynne Berry, Sustrans chair of trustees.

[1] https://www.mumsforlungs.org/about-air-pollution1

[2] https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/cyclists-exposed-five-times-less-air-pollution-cars-experiment-suggests-133129#PATVMX2oPRYlzwrH.99

 

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