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Even though May 15th is National Bike to Work Day, the majority of most North Americans still don’t ditch their cars and opt for cycling as their commute option. The cycling infrastructure has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years, with some of the most congested cities like Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago being named the most bike-friendly locations in the country. It isn’t just about avoiding traffic jams. Cycling has many benefits, and when you consistently hop on a bike and take it to work, you improve the rewards. Here are some of those benefits.
It’s Just Plain Fun
The most basic benefit is how much fun it can be to revisit your childhood memories of adventure. As a child, you may have spent your afternoons or weekends pedaling your Huffy, BMX, or Schwinn around the block or through the local park with your friends. It was carefree and fun, and mounting a bike as an adult can bring back that feeling of exhilaration even when headed somewhere as stressful as work. You have more time to enjoy your view and the surroundings, feeling refreshed or developing a new appreciation for the world around you.
It’s Good Fitness
Biking to work every day is a great way to get in your fitness needs. You can burn a lot of calories by riding a bike, but when you factor in the distance you have to go, the speed you pedal, and the terrain, you may have an incredible fitness routine. Generally speaking, cycling will burn as many calories as jogging but without the negative wear and tear on your joints. Cycling is also good for cardiovascular fitness, which is an important part of men's sexual health. As men age, the blood flow can start to slow down, increasing the risk of developing ED. Erectile dysfunction is where you can’t get or maintain an erection, and while medications like Mt. Everest can help you in the moment, improving the blood flow at the source (with cardiovascular fitness) can reduce your risk. The increased exercise also lowers your blood pressure, improved coordination, builds muscles, and gives you an energy boost to get through the workday.
It’s Brain Power
By biking to work, you can give your brain an energy boost. You may not become the next Albert Einstein, but research shows that engaging in moderate, daily exercise has the power to improve your overall brain performance. The increased supply of oxygen to the brain can sharpen your memory and learning skills as well as reduce and prevent cognitive decline. These benefits will help your job performance, keeping your mind sharp and focused throughout the day.
It’s a Happy Pill
The morning commute for many people starts the day off with frustration and stress, as sitting in traffic or trying to find parking is a complete headache in congested cities. When you opt for two wheels instead of four, you transform the morning stress into a calm, self-created therapy moment. Daily exercise has been shown to improve your sleeping pattern, alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety or depression, reduce stress, and minimize anxieties. The changes in your weight and shape from the increase in exercise may also boost your self-confidence, leading to better moods and a more positive outlook on life.
It Saves the Environment
A collective benefit of biking to work is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from your automobile use. Almost 30% of these emissions in the U.S. come from the transportation section. Individually, the average vehicle releases just over one pound of CO2 each mile. By biking to work, you release less than a gram of emissions each mile simply because of your respirations. One mile at a time adds up when you are biking to and from work every day.
It Saves Money
Everyone loves a little extra cash in their pocket, and by choosing cycling, you gain huge financial savings. The average household spends about $2,000 a year on gas and motor oil, and that doesn’t include all the funds needed for repairs on your vehicle, tires, insurance, registration, and parking. When combined, these average costs hit about $9,000 a year for the standard sedan. Biking, on the other hand, is affordable. Even if you buy a quality commuter bike (anywhere between $250-$1,500) and have an average maintenance cost of around $50 a year, you save more than $7,000 off your commute expenses.
It may sound a little too good to be true, especially if you haven’t ridden a bike in years. Making the switch could take an adjustment, and definitely some practice, but there are so many benefits that you should give the idea a try.
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