Investment in old age!

Commuting by bike is an investment in old age!

I read this quote on a forum that I frequent and I really had to share with you why I like to ride my bike. Here are a few reasons while I like riding my bike:

1. I find that I sleep more deeply. I find that on the days that I ride to and from work I can life is betterfall asleep within minutes after laying down on the bed. I believe that the sleep is also deeper and more restful sleep. I read Professor Jim Horne from the Loughborough University Sleep Research Centre say that “Exercising outside exposes you to daylight, this helps get your circadian rhythm back in sync, and also rids your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that can prevent deep, regenerative sleep.” I know that I have found this winter when I am not riding as much, my sleep is not as restful as it was this summer.

2. My brain is more stimulated and I am more awake. During the summer I would ride to work and people would be “you need to lay off the coffee” and I would say ”I have not had any coffee yet. I just rode to work today!” That usually made them nervous and they tried to take my coffee from me! My ride to work is 10.8 miles and usually takes around 40 minutes from door to door. It gets my blood flowing and I feel more awake after riding instead of driving. The blood flow and the oxygen pumping to the brain help regenerate the brain cells. An Illinois University study said that cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus – the region responsibility for memory. FYI in this study, memory is also noted to deteriorate starting at the age of 30. YIKES.

3. It heals my heart. This is true on a physical level and an emotional level. Purdue University conducted a study and it proved that regular cycling can cut the risk of heart disease by 50 percent. In the past 3 years, I have found out that my heartbeat is “regularly irregular.” My doctor’s prognosis was for me to keep exercising and strengthening it. So keep on pedaling is what I heard!

Salem Lake Greenway4. Many people think that they have to start running to lose weight but I have found that riding 22-25 miles multiple times a week lets me enjoy a lot of food. According to the Daily Burn website, where I record my rides, I am burning 1100-1450 calories just riding to and from work. I don’t accomplish that driving my Civic. I have also found that when I commute for a couple days in a row my metabolism is ramped up. It helps that my rides are spread between the beginning and end of the day.

5. The final reason I am going to give you today for why I like to ride my bike is that I find that it helps me to mentally disengage from work and process my thoughts to get my mind into a better place. While riding you can just think about climbing that next hill, if you are going to make it through that next light, or why that car drove so close to you (okay that might not help with mental relaxation). But it does give me space away from the demands of life and I find that I am ready to engage my kids after a long day in the office. Same effects at the beginning of the day happen at the end of the day. I awake and my blood is flowing and ready to go for my wife and our kids.

Do you ride? Do any of these reasons give you motivation to get out there and ride?

3 comments

  1. Great thoughts. What suggestions/advice would you suggest for someone to get started? Is a special bike needed, could a mountain bike be used?

  2. Thanks for posting a comment KFBCstudents. I think any bike will work. I have a friend who started commuting on a rigid mountain bike (no suspension) He later upgraded the tires and commuted to school almost every day his schedule would allow.

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