Benefits Of Cycling – 50 Reasons Why NDIS Participants Should Ride A Bike
OpenTrax is regularly introducing new NDIS participants from all over South East Queensland to the joys and benefits of cycling – as well as putting many cyclists who are no longer able to ride a standard bike back on the trails. However, it can be difficult for people to find out about the wide range of solutions on offer. That’s why we have our program options section available on the OpenTrax website.
The numerous benefits of cycling are incredible. If you’re still on the fence about picking up this particular activity, then please allow me to provide you with the many reasons why cycling regularly is a great idea.
Quality of Life Benefits
You shouldn’t be surprised that cycling regularly can be beneficial to your health. However, it may surprise you to learn just how good for your body this activity is.
1. Improves Your Heart Health
You encourage your heart to get in gear when you ride your bike regularly. Regular exercise conditions the heart to pump blood more efficiently throughout your body. Also, since you can dictate the intensity of your exercising, there will be no need for you to push your heart. Riding with OpenTrax is so enjoyable, exciting and fun that most of the time participants forget that they are working pretty hard (relative to their level) so improving fitness and other ideal outcomes is not a grind.
2. Strengthens Your Lungs
Bike for long enough, and you should start to feel a satisfying slight burning sensation in your chest. That’s an indicator of your lungs working. Keep going at your own pace while biking in order to condition your lungs better. Your AEP will be able to instruct you as to what level is going to be most appropriate.
3. Increases Your Stamina
Because of the positive impact biking can have on your heart and lungs, you can also expect this activity to profoundly increase your stamina level. If you found yourself getting tired after just biking for about 30 minutes or so when you first started out, that should improve as you bike more frequently. OpenTrax is an active adventure program which means that it’s going to have participants using and developing their body, strength, endurance and many other neural and motor control capabilities…this can quickly make any of your daily activities feel like a breeze. Oh, and for all that hard work you’re going to be doing, don’t forget to drink a lot of water!
4. Burns Your Body Fat
Cycling is a good activity to take up if you want to burn more calories regularly. With so many parts of your body in motion, you can’t help but expend those calories you have consumed. Cycling is especially effective for getting rid of belly fat, so give it a try if you’ve been trying to get rid of your excess mass there.
Tip: If you want to track all the calories, you are burning, map your ride, speed, elevation and other great data points. Be sure to read the article about using Strava.
5. Strengthens Muscles and Improve Functional Range Of Motion & Flexibility
Many forms of exercise target only specific muscle groups. Things are different when you’re cycling because you’re engaging more muscles. All that cycling will work to strengthen the muscles and the constant motion will also improve their range of motion and your flexibility. As a part of the program, participants are also provided with a clinical exercise physiologist designed:
Pre-ride stretch, mobility and activation program, and
Home and/or gym exercise program to improve strength and endurance for rides
6. Helps Your Joints Stay Healthy
Joint pain is something most people will have to deal with at some point in your life, especially when you are a senior or an older adult. However, cycling will help delay the onset of it by a significant amount of time. Unlike running, you can control the impact on your joints by cycling, making it a significantly better option to consider. Our allied health professionals regularly see the outcomes from years of high-impact activities like running in their day-to-day rehabilitation sessions with our injury clients…we advocate for cycling as one of the best low-impact options.
Tip: Check out our programs section to find exercise programs designed by our Clinical Exercise Physiologists – you can do them at home or gym with little or lots of equipment to keep your body seriously healty and fit. If you would like a tailormade, individually designed program you can book an online initial assessment here – after which your AEP will be able to provide you with a program that has an app with video demonstrations, detailed pictures and instructions, outcome & session tracking, session reminders, live chat to your AEP.
7. Exercise Without Causing Pain, Inflammation and Further Injury
The ability to control the intensity level of cycling means that you don’t have to push your body to its limits. You can get a full workout in by cycling without having to deal with an aching body the day after. Sure you might be a little bit stiff, but only enough to remind yourself what a great session you’d done the day before!
8. Protects Against Injuries
Injuries can happen with just about every kind of physical activity. With cycling though, we are able to decrease risk participants of compensatory injuries due to poor movement patterning and movements by optimizing and re-patterning motor patterns to be optimal. And, the fact that you will always be able to ride at the intensity of your choice enables you to avoid injury from pushing it too hard (which won’t happen with an AEP around!).
9. Improve The Richness Of Your Life
People who get out into nature are happier. It’s a fact. Just getting out amongst the trees, the birds singing and watching the wallabies hop around and koalas lazily chewing the tips of gumtrees, filling your lungs with the freshest oxygen-rich air coming straight out of the leaves, has significant benefits of their own. As humans, we have a connection to the outdoors having survived and evolved in it for millions of years – it’s a real thing, and people who embrace this fact reap the rewards. Any of our participants will tell you why they love to get out onto the trails!
10. Makes It Possible for People to Live Longer
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow looked at how the method of commuting affected the lifespans of numerous individuals. Of the 263, 450 participants, those who commuted via cycling were the individuals who were least likely to be deceased. So, people who ride more, tend to live longer! Simple.
Cycling will do more than just improve your health. Participants that ride with OpenTrax regularly, will also improve their chances against several modern-day diseases that are tearing through the world…
1. Improves Your Cholesterol Levels
The doctor said you need to decrease your cholesterol? You’re on so many tablets that it’d be nice to have a few fewer? Well, riding can help with that. There are two types of cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is the one you want to reduce, while high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol is the one that protects your body. By biking more, you can lower the level of LDL cholesterol in your body. That activity will also boost your HDL cholesterol levels which is what your doctor would like to see!
2. Regulates Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is an issue many people deal with as they age and even for younger people with particular medications (ADHD, ASD, Autism etc). There’s medication for it, but that alone won’t be enough. Exercising is important as well and cycling just happens to be among the forms of exercise that can seriously combat high blood pressures. Aside from lowering it, cycling also makes it easier to maintain an ideal blood pressure level. Doing even a 10-minute bout of aerobic activity can drop your BP by 10mmHg immediately afterward. We’ll take that, thanks!
3. Lowers the Risk for Heart Disease
Considering that cycling helps with improving your cholesterol levels and regulating your blood pressure, you’ve probably already guessed that it also protects you against heart disease.
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Cycling will help lower the chances that you are also victimized by that disease.
4. Fights Obesity
Along with helping you burn calories and fat, cycling also boosts your rate of metabolism. All those health benefits of biking will help with the cause of you shedding the pounds. For individuals dealing with the difficulties of obesity, cycling will make it easier to get back on track.
5. Prevents the Onset of Type 2 Diabetes
It is believed that more people growing inactive is contributing to more cases of type 2 diabetes. Cycling will encourage people to get moving without tiring them out too much.
6. Steers People Clear of Cancer
To be more specific, getting on your road bike, gravel bikes, mountain bike, tandem or adaptive bike more often is expected to lower your risk for developing colon and bowel cancer. For women, this healthy habit will also reduce the risk level for breast cancer. With 1-in-2 men and 1-in-3 women experiencing some form of cancer in their life, it’s a benefit that is worth riding for.
7. Eliminates Certain Issues with Your Digestive System
Constipation may be a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but it can really make you feel uncomfortable. Cycling more gets the muscles inside your body moving and that will lead to more regular bowel movements. Feel less bloated, full, gassy or clogged up, go for a ride and you can drink less Metamucil.
8. Provides a Better Way to Cope with Arthritis
Arthritis can be incredibly painful and the last thing some people will want to do when they have it is to exercise. Gentle cycling provides people with a way to still get their joints moving without having to subject them to the high amounts of pressure that can cause pain. In fact, moving the joint through the range of movement required on a bike thoroughly lubricates the joint with nutrient-rich synovial fluid which encourages healing, repair, and decreases pain over time.
In the case of arthritis or injuries it’s extra important you use a bike that properly fits your body. Our AEP’s can assist you with a bike size chart for this, or they can perform a proper biomechanical bike fitting on you.
9. Reduces Fatigue
Compared to other types of exercise, cycling is not as hard on your body. That is especially true if you don’t bike with great intensity. Seeing that the program is individually tailored to your personal experience, fitness, and many other factors, you will be just the right amount of tired after your rises with us.
10. Deeper, More Restful Sleep
There were rumblings not too long ago that cycling can create powerful changes for your sleep. Research indicates that cycling more can improve the quality of our sleep through a number of different processes.
The Mental Health Benefits
Cycling does more than just improve the condition of your body. This activity can also offer different kinds of mental health benefits.
1. An Ally Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Unfortunately, there is still no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but there are ways to fight against its symptoms. Staying active through cycling will help delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. Cycling will also prevent brain cells from becoming tangled. There has been a lot of research showing many positive benefits around exercise improving Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Lowers Your Risk Level for Developing Parkinson’s Disease
The prospect of developing Parkinson’s Disease is understandably frightening. There is no guarantee that cycling will keep Parkinson’s Disease away from you for good, but simply carrying out that activity at a moderate or vigorous pace more frequently can decrease your risk factor. Strengthening and regularly using your neural pathways, the nutrients, and oxygen transport to the brain with powerful antioxidants can also help in keeping this disease at bay.
3. Helps You Break Free of Addictions & Negative Behaviour Cycles
Some people are more prone to getting addicted either to substances or to activities. Getting rid of those addictions can be a challenge, but cycling can help. The runner’s high you can obtain from cycling can take the place of your previous addiction and as long as you manage your level of activity, you can also avoid getting addicted to cycling.
4. Alleviates Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are quite prevalent and they can also be crippling. Aerobic exercises can help alleviate anxiety. You can bike with more intensity to get rid of anxiety faster, but even gentler cycling should help you reach a better mental state. Just like your session in this program, research has shown that regular exercise can have a significant on people’s anxiety levels. In your 1-on-1 sessions, you will be with your friendly AEP (and if applicable your support worker/family member/carer), peace, quiet and just ride. Riding has the profound ability to literally leave your anxiety behind on the trails. Yes, please!
5. Serves as an Anti-Depressant
Along with alleviating your anxiety, cycling can also help you deal better with depression. Adopting a more active lifestyle will reduce your chances of developing depression. Even if you have already been diagnosed with depression, becoming more active by cycling should help improve your mental health. Some participants are able to get off their anti-depressant medications with the supervision of their doctors after they start riding regularly with us. This is fantastic because it means they save money, they no longer experience common side effects of the drugs like significant weight gain, emotional numbness, and/or suicidal thoughts.
6. Frees You from Stress
Living life means that you are exposing yourself to stress. You need to do what you can to reduce your stress or else it may eat you up alive. Hop on one of our premium provided ‘Giant’ brand bikes and pedal the stress away. It doesn’t take long to get rid of the stress that has been building upon you.
7. Lightens Up Your Mood
Cycling aids with anxiety, depression, and stress. By virtue of being freed from those debilitating mental health impediments, you will gradually notice your mood change for the better. Participants regularly report that they have never felt better. The program is so much more than just ‘going for a ride’. It’s an experience. With social events and group catchups, it’s a super fun way to meet people who enjoy the same thing you do. An easy instant conversation.
8. Boosts Your Self-Esteem
Cycling can do so much to improve your current state of life, ranging from getting you in better shape and staving off mental health issues. Even if it is already going pretty well! You can feel like a changed person after becoming a cyclist and it’s a change for the better, one you will look back on fondly and realize that it was actually a big turning point in your life. It’s a common occurrence.
9. Sharpens Your Focus
You need to properly execute a variety of tasks at the same time whenever you are riding a bike. To accomplish all those things, you have to work at building remarkable focus. The ability to focus better when you’re on top of a bike is something you can utilize when tackling other tasks in everyday activities.
10. Ignites Your Creativity
Aerobic exercises like cycling can work to increase your creativity. Do you enjoy music, painting, drawing, singing or something else creative? Keep a bit of energy left in the tank because after your ride, so that you can still create a masterpiece when you get home. This kind of exercise really sparks our brain’s creativity and is such a great feeling!
The Social Benefits
Even your social life can benefit immensely from taking up the habit of cycling. Listed below are some of the ways in which this activity can help improve your social life.
1. OpenTrax Participant Meet-Ups / Group Rides
OpenTrax often creates social events for participants of different ages, with families with picnics & barbeques in Karawatha Forest Park’s Discovery Centre Parkland. Participants can make friends through the program on group rides. All group ride participants need to have completed a number of 1-on-1 sessions with their AEP before this is possible so their skill, experience, and fitness levels can be accurately assessed.
2. Biking Trips with Friends
When friends get together, they usually want to head somewhere special. If you and your friends are all avid riders, then all of you can hop on your bikes and discover new destinations together. We are so lucky in South East Queensland to have so many beautiful and varied landscapes and areas to ride. The council has done a pretty good job with many bike paths being rejuvenated and turned into very user-friendly paths around Brisbane. Mountain biking and road/path cycling alike have many options for participants to get out with friends for rides too.
3. Stronger Familial Bonds Can Be Built Through Biking
Siblings may all use the same bike as they grow up. As the bicycle is passed down, that gives siblings a better chance to spend more quality time together. Not only that, often one sibling teaching another a new skill can break down barriers even if it’s only for a little while.
4. Teaching Opportunities
You can pass down your biking knowledge to friends, family and even potentially your own children when the time comes for them to get their own two-wheeler. Teaching someone a skill is a skill in itself and a very useful one at that. Boosting confidence, ability, and knowledge, riding with OpenTrax is often the confidence boost participants have needed.
5. Become a Role Model
It’s important for young adults to have a role model to look up to. Habits rub off on young minds…if they are surrounded by fit, healthy, and active people, they naturally become encouraged to adopt healthier habits. By becoming part of any of our OpenTrax programs, leading a healthy lifestyle is possible and easily achievable when you have the right advice!
The Economic Benefits
Cycling can do more than just improve your health and social life. It will also help you save more money by helping trim your list of expenses.
1. More Affordable than a Car
You may end up having to take out loans and saving money for years just to have enough money to buy a car. Bicycles are way more affordable and they can still get you around town effectively.
2. No Need to Spend on Fuel & Transport
All you need to get your bike in motion are your legs. You can say goodbye to your worries about fuel prices by riding places. Of course, you may not be able to ride everywhere all the time but you can certainly do a lot of local trips.
3. Parking Expenses Greatly Reduced
Whenever you’re heading out with your car, you always have to factor parking expenses into your budget. Many establishments will offer free parking for bikes. Even those that charge for bike parking are still way more affordable.
4. Cut Down on Exercise Expenses
You will have to spend a bit of money to maintain your bike, but the cost of doing so is nothing compared to how much you may have to pay for a gym membership. Take the
5. Inexpensive Maintenance
Compared to how much you will have to pay to get work done for a car, the cost of maintaining a bike is significantly cheaper.
The Environmental Benefits
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any mode of transportation that’s better for the environment than bikes.
1. Reduces Your Carbon Emissions
According to the EPA, a “typical passenger vehicle” produces around 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Needless to say, bicycles don’t get anywhere close to that level.
2. Assists with Smog Reduction
By riding your bicycle to and from work on a daily basis, you are no longer contributing to the production of smog that can be harmful to the atmosphere.
3. Does Not Make Use of Batteries
Used-up batteries can still pose a threat to the environment when not disposed of properly. You don’t have to worry about that if you’re using a bike. An E-Bike, however? Some of these are being made with recycled batteries now which are helping the environment.
4. Does Not Make Use of Fossil Fuels
Using a mode of transportation that is not reliant on fossil fuels is a good thing. If more cyclists emerge, mankind’s dependence on fossil fuels can be significantly reduced.
5. Creates a More Peaceful Environment
People who live near major thoroughfares know all about how disruptive car noises can be. By cycling more often, you are doing your part to contribute to a more peaceful world – and you are finding peace within it while riding.
Other Notable Health Benefits of Cycling
1. Spend Less Time in Traffic
I saw a recent infographic that highlights just how costly getting bogged down in traffic can truly be. On top of that, being stuck in a car, taxi, or public transport for extended periods of time is not good for either your physical or mental well-being. Bike riders don’t have to get caught up in the issues caused by traffic.
2. Maximize Your Time
Since cycling allows you to spend less time in traffic, you can use those extra minutes and hours completing other tasks at work, college or chores at home or just decompressing after a long day.
3. Easier Travel
Most people have to rent cars when they are travelling to a different state or to a different country. If you know how to ride a bike, then you can just bring that along with you and use that to travel through your new location.
4. Gives You a Better Sense of Self
Many people struggle with finding a hobby that truly resonates with them. Cycling can fill that void in your life by giving you a highly enjoyable activity you can sink numerous hours into.
5. Brings More Joy into Your Life
After reading through all the many benefits of bike riding listed above, it’s not hyperbolic in any way to suggest that adopting this hobby can make you a happier person. If you haven’t given a try yet, then you should do so in the near future.
Biking truly is more than just another hobby that you can pick up to kill time. By giving cycling a larger role in your daily routine, you are improving your life in numerous ways.
It’s time for you to fully embrace the many health benefits of riding a bike and use them to lead a healthier and happier life.