Is your commute such that you could imagine travelling by some other means than driving or hopping on public transport? Summer holidays are soon behind us and many are thinking about some way to maintain their fitness. Exercise doesn’t always have to be a sport that is performed separately in the gym or outdoors. Any exercise has all the same benefits regardless of whether you do it in your free time or as incidental exercise as part of your daily life. If you’ve ever considered bicycle commuting, then read this article – you could find inspiration.
Text and images: Anu Kiiveri-Sahila
- Bicycle commuting is incidental exercise at its best. Pedal to work and back five times a week for a long enough distance could have you covered for reaching the recommended level of physical activity for the whole week. No more dragging yourself to the gym or group exercise classes completely exhausted. Not more going for a run or a walk every evening. You can boost your physical fitness just by pedalling to work – where you would go anyway. Cycling helps with weight management, improves the function of the circulatory system and oxygen uptake, strengthens the muscles of the lower limbs and is a joint-friendly way to exercise. In addition, it challenges balance and coordination. Don’t forget to pay attention to your cycling position. Grip the handlebars firmly, but don’t squeeze too tightly. Keep your shoulders relaxed, look forward and keep your neck and head aligned with your body. Of course, the upper body also needs movement, so working the upper body a few times a week at the gym, for example is a good addition.
- After all, bicycle commuting does save time. Although bicycle commuting may take a bit longer than driving, you will save time. Usually, hobbies you do after work require you to first go somewhere, the hobby itself takes time, and then you have to return home. When you use your commute for useful exercise, you can save time after work to dedicate for your family or getting some “me time”.
3. What do you need for bicycle commuting? With winter in mind, get studded tyres and appropriate lights. Lock your bike from the frame with a sturdy lock, and remember that store it in a supervised location is always better. Maintain the bike at regular intervals and check parts such as chains and brakes. Maintenance should be done at least once every autumn and spring. Cleaning the bike of dirt and sand between rides will extend its life. If you have an e-bike, store the battery indoors in the winter. A good helmet is a life insurance policy. In addition, accessories with reflectors are a good way to improve visibility. A wind and rainproof jacket and pants are a must in wet weather. Mudguards, on the other hand, prevent getting splashed with mud. Goggles are also necessary, especially on muddy roads. Decent, gloves with good grip protect against the wind and cold. Pack a change of clothes in a (rainproof) backpack. It can also be a good idea to carry a pump and patches in case of a flat tyre.
4. Bicycle commuting saves money. Once you’ve invested in a high-quality bike, you can ride it for a long time. A high-quality bike has high-quality parts and does not require replacement or repair as often as cheaper models. As is the case with so many things, in bicycles the cheap ones rarely are the good ones. You can calculate how much you pay for driving to work or buying public transport ticket regularly. The calculations should also include car insurance and other expenses. Compared to public transport, cycling also saves time, as waiting for buses and trains is a thing of the past.
5. Bicycle commuting reduces stress. Several studies show that cycling reduces stress. Instead of jumping straight into the car in the morning, you can get some fresh air by cycling. Your brain gets some fresh air and the mind is refreshed. Getting your body moving first thing in the morning, jumpstarts the circulation and you will wake up to the new day full of energy.
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