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Author Topic: What are the health benefits of cycling?  (Read 7782 times)

Jerry

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What are the health benefits of cycling?
« on: 16/04/2009 22:30:01 »
Jerry  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Helen,

We always enjoy listening to the wonderful Naked Scientist shows. They are great and we are telling everyone about them!

This latest instalment my wife and I were listening to over breakfast and were contemplating engagement in one of our favourite activities; bicycling! So it was with much interest that we tuned in to hear about how much caloric burn was involved after eating, for example, a small pizza and then going on a round of bicycling.

We train for about a month after each winter to ride 50-100 miles per day on the roads and 12-30 miles per day via mountain bikes (depending on surface).  And so we were shocked to learn from your piece:

a-very little about the sport itself.
b-perhaps you take a dim view of riding on the bicycle.
c-have a better way of eating what and how much one likes and burning off the calories but didn't tell us.

I use bicycling as a "sneaky" form of exercise as it's so much
fun. One can coast at nearly any time to catch one's breath or view the
scenery. And you can travel a surprisingly long way yet still be close to nature. I drop about 10 or more pounds I have put on by our Midwest winters in the USA and have low blood pressure (despite my family history of the reverse), low cholesterol and improved cardiovascular condition. So much so that my doctor needs to prescribe no pills, and calls me one of his most healthy patients.

We think, as penance, Helen must investigate the science, history of and complete benefits of cycling. We believe the limiting factor in Helen's enjoyment of the sport must be the seat. And therefore we recommend she get fitted on a proper, comfortable seat , bicycling shorts on a proper bike with a scientifically measured fit. Interview physiologists about what happens when we exercise-- from the
production of endorphins in our brains to lighten our moods, to the improvement of cardiovascular health.  

And how about the machine itself? One of the most efficient machines ever invented with new materials like carbon fiber improving ride comfort and power transfer, etc.. Hmm, the Most Efficient Machine sounds like a nice title piece, doesn't it? She would then think, "Hey, it ONLY takes two hours on a bicycle to burn it off!" Is there any other exercise that can claim that?

It would be wonderful to have your show advance the new paradigm of getting healthy while being environmentally friendly. Maybe you could do an investigative report on places that are replacing cycling with cars. For example, the Chinese, who in their rapid advance to urbanization, have been dumping bicycling to work in favor of larger roads filled with cars, contributing to a rapid increase in their carbon footprint. Possibly to the detriment of their overall health as well.

As always, keep up the fine work you have been doing to popularize science!

Now, my next question, where can I get your Naked Scientist T-Shirts?

Regards,

Jerry and Lisa Kuchera

What do you think?


 

Offline Chemistry4me

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What are the health benefits of cycling?
« Reply #1 on: 17/04/2009 01:06:29 »
If I could make a comment, I dare say the Naked Scientists probably don't want to spend 1000-2000 on a carbon frame bike. :)
 

Offline Karen W.

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What are the health benefits of cycling?
« Reply #2 on: 17/04/2009 08:30:31 »
well there is also the low impact as far as joint damage and helps develop and strengther muscles around the groin and hip joint as well as the knees adding in the ability to stand and keep your joints in the proper place when doing simple activity as walking etc. It takes the impat off the bones and helps build the musle insted ofd damaging fragile arthritic joints..etc...
 

Offline dentstudent

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What are the health benefits of cycling?
« Reply #3 on: 17/04/2009 08:40:18 »
I can feel very virtuous as I cycle to work too. I get to burn 1400 cal per day doing this plus all those other benefits that the first poster stated. It's a very different concept here (Germany) than in the UK - it's so much easier to cycle here since there is a superb cycle track network, and it really is part of the culture. This also means that we only need 1 car, whereas in the UK we needed 2. There are various schemes in the UK, "Cycle to Work" I think is one of them. But without a suitable infrastructure, it just doesn't work. Who wants to cycle "for fun" on the UK roads? Not me!
 

Offline Karen W.

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What are the health benefits of cycling?
« Reply #4 on: 17/04/2009 09:38:02 »
Sound scary!!

 That is cool that you can do that there...
 

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What are the health benefits of cycling?
« Reply #4 on: 17/04/2009 09:38:02 »

 

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