Tuesday 11 February 2014

Built-in exercise is a major benefit of cycling for transport

Summary: Sometimes it's quicker, easier and more comfortable not to cycle and to use public transport or a car instead (especially if someone else is driving). However, cycling always retains one advantage over the alternatives which often tilts the balance in its favour - it's free exercise that doesn't require any extra time or effort. This post details the various advantages of using transport cycling for exercise.

How We Drive - Tom Vanderbilt's blog

1. The built-in exercise when cycling for transport has many benefits that more than compensate for the disadvantages of cycling in certain circumstances
- Cycling doesn't always have to be the quickest, easiest and most comfortable way to get around for people to use it. What matters is whether the overall advantages outweigh the disadvantages for each particular trip. The built-in exercise that cycling provides is one of the key reasons why many people choose to cycle even when they could arrive faster and more comfortably by car or public transport.

Transport time isn't wasted time- Long commutes by car are wasted time and while some people read on public transport most would also see long trips as wasted time.
- Conversely, commuting by bike is exercise, has health benefits and can save additional exercise time, so it is not seen as wasted time even if it sometimes takes longer.
Daily exercise requires no extra time- You can get exercise daily without any extra time being allocated by simply using a bike as your regular transport.
Daily exercise requires no extra cost- You can save hundreds of dollars on gym classes or activities you do for exercise by getting it through riding.
Daily exercise requires no extra organisation- You can get exercise daily without organising anything, it just happens automatically as often as you use your bike.
- You don't need special clothing or equipment either.
Daily exercise occurs just when you need it- If you commute by bike to work, getting the blood pumping is just what you need in the morning.
Daily exercise has significant health benefits including longevity- Daily exercise like cycling results in a longer, healthier life and you're also likely to weigh less and thus be less at risk of weight-related diseases.
Cycling exercise can be as easy or hard as you like- There are no types of exercise which are as adjustable to your needs.
- If you're not feeling energetic you can cruise along and still get some exercise.
- If you're after a strenuous workout you can push the speed, distance or climb hills.
Cycling exercise requires no special skills or instruction- Unlike many forms of exercise, virtually everyone can cycle.
Cycling exercise is low impact and doesn't cause injuries- Unlike running and some gym/sport activities, daily urban cycling does not result in injuries.
Cycling exercise is readily made social- Getting around with your partner or friends by bike is easy. There may be quicker or more convenient options but the opportunity to get in some social exercise is appealing.
Cycling exercise delivers practical benefits- Some exercise builds muscle or fitness but not in ways most useful to daily life. Using cycling for exercise increases the potential speed, range and enjoyment of your transport cycling,
Cycling exercise is outdoors and available everywhere- Doing exercise indoors isn't as fun and means you have to travel to a special place to do exercise.
Cycling exercise is enjoyable- It doesn't need to involve pain, exhaustion or strenuous exertion. Both transport and especially recreational rides can be scenic and pleasant.

2. People really do waste hours of their lives sitting in traffic - often driving to gyms to do exercise they could be getting as part of their transport
- It may seem absurd but people's attachment to their cars and driving blinds them both to the time they waste in traffic and their related struggles to fit in exercise to their busy days. Hence, the irony of the below tweets:

- If you don't get the value of "life exercise" (walking, cycling, etc as part of your normal life) and isolate all exertion to special places and times where exercise occurs you end up with absurd scenarios like the one below:

Further Info:
Cycling health benefits (Better Health Channel)

30 reasons to take up cycling

Cycling for Weight loss

Health Benefits of Cycling

10 Reasons cycling is the best form of exercise

Cycling Isn't 'Fun', It's Transport
- See the comments for whom cycling is much more than just efficient transport.

About that moment of silence (How We Drive)