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The Clinical Catch-Up: National Bike Month

May 21, 2015

WHY IS EVERYONE BIKING?

May is National Bike Month – another reminder that Americans are buzzing about biking, cycling, and commuting. From the city streets to the country back-roads, this hobby has turned into a lifestyle that’s growing in popularity.Like a lot of people, I got into cycling simply to catch a break from the monotony of running. At first, it was refreshing – it was new, exciting, and much easier on my legs than the pounding they took each time I went for a run. Now, it has turned into a habit, and something that I continue to enjoy with my friends and family.Ask around, and the answers will vary on why cycling seems to be the new “it” fitness trend. It may be because it’s one of those activities that can be seen through multiple lenses. Biking can be exercise, a simple mode of transportation, or just something you do for sheer enjoyment. So everyone seems to be doing it, but why?

BENEFITS FOR YOUR BODY

Whether you’re trying to train for the Tour de France or simply hopping on that old stationary bike in the garage, cycling has tons of healthy benefits. It builds and tones leg muscles, burns calories, and helps improve our hearts with improved cardiovascular fitness.The medical community has taken note of the cycling trend and has begun studying its effect on individuals’ health. Of course, it’s dependent on time or distance, but studies have shown that cyclists experienced improved cardio-pulmonary fitness as well as increased HDL (the good cholesterol). Other benefits include an increase in cardio respiratory fitness in individuals with low fitness baselines and improved protection from cardiovascular disease1.

CAREFUL, YOU MAY GET HOOKED!

It took some time to convince myself to get into it, but once I began, I quickly added cycling to my daily routine. I’ve come to enjoy it so much that I’ve even started to compete in triathlons. I have seen countless benefits in my overall health, and I greatly enjoy its low impact on my body.With the wind in your hair, you’ll quickly remember that feeling of freedom you had as a kid on a bike. Now, with bike stands popping up on corners across the country, it is even easier to have access to bikes without making a big investment. Rent a bike this weekend or simply borrow one from a friend. Like me, you may enjoy it, and at the same time, you may find your new favorite way to exercise, your new way to commute to work, or a new lifelong hobby!- Ryan Henderson MSN, APRN, ACNP-BC Director of Clinical Services1. Health Benefits of Cycling: A Systematic Review | Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports

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