On your bike! The health benefits of cycling
As the iconic Tour de France bike race hurtled through Yorkshire, Cambridge, and London this week, millions of spectators cheered on the athletes who are trying to claim the coveted yellow jersey prize.
The route, which began in Leeds and covers 3,664 kilometres over 21 stages, is the world’s largest annual sporting event.
While only the fittest of people can endure such an arduous challenge the sport has certainly captured the UK’s interest, with fans camping out on the Yorkshire moors to watch the race.
It should come as no surprise that there’s been a surge of interest in the sport – cycling offers a wealth of benefits to those who saddle up.
Firstly, getting on your bike is a fantastic way of keeping fit. Regular physical activity, like cycling, can help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity, a condition that is linked to a variety of cancers.
Our exercise calorie calculator can help you estimate how many calories you can burn when you take your bike out for a spin.
For example, someone weighing 10 stone 7 pounds can burn 400 calories during a 45-minute cycle – roughly the equivalent of a medium milkshake or six chocolate digestives.
Another benefit of cycling is that it can easily be incorporated into daily life, too.
By cycling to work, school or even when you pop to the shops, it conveniently contributes to the daily 30 minutes or more of physical activity that we recommend people do to reduce their risk of developing cancer.
Being regularly active has been proven to help protect against bowel, breast and womb cancer, which is why it’s so important to take time to be active.
It’s no wonder that cycling has become so popular. It can be adapted to suit your lifestyle and mood; from a gentle bike ride on a lazy weekend, to an invigorating race that gets the heart pumping, the work-out opportunities are myriad.
And it’s not only your waistline that will benefit from regularly cycling. By replacing trips in the car with a ride on your bike it quickly saves you money on your commute, making it not only good for your body, but also your wallet.
Another beauty of cycling is that it can also be a sociable activity. It’s the perfect pastime for families and friends who want to spend time together while exploring the world on two wheels.
Numerous organisations can help you get the most out of your cycle. Transport charity Sustrans offers advice on how to make cycling a daily part of your life and suggests bike routes all across the country. Cycle Route is a website that holds an extensive collection of itineraries for every ability.
There are plenty of reasons to get on your bike – but perhaps the most important one is that by making cycling part of your routine, this regular physical activity will help protect you from cancer and make you fitter, happier and healthier.