Article #3 of Series – ‘Getting Ready for the Sportive Season’
By Siobhan Horgan
Despite the fact that I have been on the cycling scene for a long time now, many might be surprised to learn that I only bought my first bike when I was 24 years of age.
It was a running injury which forced my onto the bike at the time and I was looking for another outlet for my energy. So, I took to the bike.
Then, after retiring from the professional scene in 2012, I again started running and unfortunately suffered yet another stress fracture. So I transitioned over to the bike yet again.
Obviously, my body is trying to tell me something… ‘stick to the bike …stick to the bike’ ……..!
So, what is it about cycling that keeps drawing me back… what makes cycling so great?
Cycling is for Everyone
Cyclists are a diverse group. Some of us ride fat tyres down rocky trails, some of us ride road bikes up burly hills, some of us ride to win and some of us ride just for fun. Find what you like and go for it.
Cycling is good for your Body
Cycling is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness as well as a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. Riding a bike is also great for toning and building your muscles, especially in the lower half of the body – your calves, your thighs, and your rear end.
Cycling is good for Rehabilitation from Sports Injuries
It’s a great low-impact mode of exercise for those with joint conditions or injuries to the legs or hips, which might keep them from otherwise being active.
Cycling is good for your Waistline
You can burn a lot of calories while biking, especially when you cycle faster than a leisurely pace, and cycling has been associated with helping to keep weight gain down. Also, cycling has the added benefit of ramping up your metabolism, even after the ride is over.
Cycling is good for your Mental Health
Riding a bike has been linked to improved mental health. Cycling outside gives you the opportunity to get some fresh air and see the countryside. It give you ‘head-space’, and many a problem has been resolved with a bike ride. It’s a means to rejuvenate your body and your mind.
Cycling is good for your Social Life
The social side of riding could be doing you as much good as the actual exercise. University of California researchers found that socialising releases the hormone oxytocin, which buffers the ‘ﬁght or ﬂight’ response. Regardless of what type of cyclist you are, cycling is a great way to meet people and make friends – the weekly social coffee rides which many clubs complete every week being a prime example. You can make the best friends of your life out on a tough spin as you ride together to beat the elements. Or you could take things a step further like I did, and one day marry someone you meet out training..
These are just some of the benefits from cycling… what’s not to love about a sport that creates a positive addiction, benefits your health, allows you to have guilt-free snacks, helps you make the best friends of your life and potentially provides you with the opportunity to meet the person you are going to marry.
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