Health benefits of biking

Jul 10, 2017 | News

We all know that cycling is brilliant for the mind, body and soul… but just in case you were in any doubt, we’ve analysed the most recent research and picked out the most surprising benefits of taking to two wheels

It can lower your risk of CVD
That’s cardiovascular disease to you and me and researchers at the University of Glasgow (who tracked 263,450 over a five-year period) found that those who cycled to work had a 46% lower risk of developing CVD and a 52% lower risk of dying from CVD.

It’s brilliant for your brain
Research conducted in the Netherlands found that carrying out a motor skill (in this case cycling) increased the integrity of white matter in your brain. Described as the “subway of the brain”, the white matter connects the different regions of grey matter to one another. If this subway system breaks down, then access to the different regions of the brain is compromised. The study followed patients over a period of six months and found that regular cycling improved brain connectivity.

It’s brilliant for your brain: part 2
A study of volunteers with either type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome found that regular cycling helped boost their BDNF levels. Psychology Today says, “it’s well established that exercise can beef up BDNF levels” – a good thing as BDNF is the protein that helps maintain existing neurons, create new ones and supports healthy brain function.

It can help reduce stress… even after a commute
Yes, you read that right. The clever folk at Stanford Calming Technology Lab analysed the heart and breath rate of 1,000 commuters over 20,000 commutes and found that those who relied on motorised transport displayed shallower breathing than their cycling counterparts – shallow breath and an increased heart rate are typical signs of stress.

It improves wellbeing
Again, this study, carried out by researchers at the University of East Anglia, found that switching from a car to a bike (or simply two feet) resulted in commuters arriving to work better able to concentrate and under less strain. “Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological wellbeing,” says Lead researcher Adam Martin.

All the more reason to get on your bike… not that you needed any encouragement.