With the warmer months approaching, now is a perfect time to get your bike out of the shed. But research suggests fair-weather cyclists are missing a trick; there are additional benefits to be had by making cycling a long-term habit.
A study recently published in the journal Sports Medicine has shown those who habitually travel by bike live longer, healthier lives. The review looked at 17 previous studies, encompassing a total data set of 478,847 participants, and found that casual cyclists – those for whom riding was a way of life and not merely a get-fit-quick fix – had a 23% better chance of avoiding premature death, as well as a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular illness.
Crucially, you don’t need a Peloton parked in your living room to benefit. Epidemiologists concluded that just 130 minutes a week is sufficient to benefit life expectancy; that’s one commute to work and back, plus a trip or two to the shops. On top of that, there is a myriad of benefits to spending time outdoors, from getting your dose of vitamin D to significantly improving your mental health.
It's easier to get into the habit of cycling as the weather gets warmer, when it's more enjoyable to be outside. But for best results, make it stick.
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