For the longest time I was perturbed by the idea of cycling into work. Rolling up to the office with hair smelling like a car exhaust, the hunger of a thousand legions and sweating profusely doesn’t sound like the best start to the day. However, there are so many health benefits to cycling that might not seem immediately obvious.
So yeah, cycling is a great way to exercise your core and tick that ’30 minutes of exercise a day’ box that barely anyone actually does. But do the benefits end there? Apparently not!
First off, cycling a few times a week will dramatically change how well you sleep. You might find yourself feeling more tired during the day but a Stanford study found that 20-30 minutes of cycling every other day halved the time it took insomniacs to fall asleep.
The exposure to sunlight combined with exercise gets your circadian rhythm back in sync and de-stresses your subconscious allowing for some healthy and deep Zs.
If you think the above is good news just you wait for this: cycling to work will help you look younger!
The same scientists found that cycling regularly can protect your skin against the nasty effects of UV radiation which exaggerates signs of ageing. The exposure to the sun coupled with good exercise creates the perfect environment for the body to optimise collagen production!
If you’re one of those people that jogs to and from work and/or at lunchtime – cycling can really benefit you too. Despite being great for the heart and making others feel bad about themselves, jogging is terrible for your knees. A bike saddle takes most of the weight so you can burn the fat without liquifying your skeleton.
Finally, and this one will really surprise you, cycling in a city means that you’ll ingest loads less pollution than taking the bus or a cab. A study carried out by Imperial College London found that cyclists ingest less than a tenth of the fumes that bus or cab riders do. This is partly due to the fact that cyclists stick to the edge of the road.
Stay safe out there, wear a helmet like your mum told you to and enjoy the benefits of being a two-wheeled health-machine!