Cycling has become the new normal for many around the world with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on exercise and transport routines. Bike sales in the US were up 50% in March according to market research firm The NPD Group. Overall bike sales – including stationary bikes – grew 31% in the first quarter according to the same firm year-over- year from 2019. Market experts expect that trend to continue through the second quarter as people look to bikes to replace their scaled down exercise regimes.
It makes sense that bikes have become such a big deal. Even as public transport begins to reopen, consumers have found that they prefer the open spaces and fresh air of a bike ride to work or to a local pub over the same trip in a packed bus or subway car. Biking has become so popular during the crisis that some major cities – including London in the United Kingdom – have shut off entire areas to cars with no plans to reopen them post-pandemic.
Cycling helps the body in many ways. Some of these are obvious and some a little more obscure, but your overall health will be helped by adding some cycling to your routine as lockdowns allow. The most obvious way that cycling helps is because it’s an aerobic exercise that increases your metabolism and burns calories at the same time, which is why cycling is so good for those looking to achieve weight loss goals.
According to a Harvard University study, 30 minutes of mountain biking will burn around 316 calories for someone weighing 155 pounds. This is a number that will be higher if you way more and lower if you weigh less. If mountain biking is a little too extreme – or if there are no trails around to ride – then don’t worry. Outside biking will burn around 298 for a 155 pound person, while stationary biking will burn around 260 calories assuming you are going at what is considered a moderate pace (around 12 miles per hour).
Biking is especially useful for exercise if you are rehabbing from an injury or if you are someone with joint issues. It’s a low-impact recreational activity and one that doesn’t involve high impact to the joints. This is very different to running on the road or the majority of team sports, all of which put far more wear and tear on the body.
Cycling is also an exercise activity where it’s easy to scale up or down depending on your fitness needs and goals. Sometimes it can be hard to push the pace while running, but on a bike you can work in sprints and hills to make your session as challenging as you like. On another day you can just take a leisurely ride to another activity or event. Cycling can help our health in any way you want.
Perhaps the best reason to cycle in this new normal, however, is because biking is a great form of stress relief and a study in Mental Health and Physical Activity showing that people who exercised slept better. Other factors show that a healthy, stress free way of thinking is boosted by exercise. Cycling helps lower the levels of stress hormones (cortisol) in the body, allowing for a more peaceful night and a more productive life.
Cycling – and outdoor cycling in particular – is amazing at pushing away stress. There is something about the air whipping past your ears as you fall into a pedaling cadence that allows you to focus on nothing other than the sights and smells you are passing through. Getting out into the country and getting on a bike is one of the simple pleasures in life, perfect for socially isolating with your family while having a picnic lunch in the middle of a field or for training on your own for a return to your regular sporting routine when things return to a more normal level.
Article By Vital Guidance