Nothing Beats Cycling

August 18, 2018 12:11 PM | Dennis Carpenter (Administrator)

We don’t have to sell you on cycling: If you’re here, you already know the myriad benefits of riding a bike. Now, a group of scientists have discovered even more good news regarding two-wheeled transportation. In short, when it comes to mental and physical health benefits, nothing beats getting around by bike.

The findings, which were published in Environment International, were part of the European Union-funded—and awesomely named—PASTA (Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches) study that included surveys of thousands of people (8,802 completed the baseline survey; 3,567 answered the final questionnaire) from seven European cities over a two-year period.

The focus of the study was how various forms of transportation influence how people feel about their general health and wellness. The researchers asked participants how often they used various forms of transportation including public transportation, car, motorcycle, e-bike, conventional bike, and walking, along with a slew of questions about their mental and physical health, including energy levels, fatigue, stress, depression, and social wellbeing.

The findings, which were published in Environment International, were part of the European Union-funded—and awesomely named—PASTA (Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches) study that included surveys of thousands of people (8,802 completed the baseline survey; 3,567 answered the final questionnaire) from seven European cities over a two-year period.

The focus of the study was how various forms of transportation influence how people feel about their general health and wellness. The researchers asked participants how often they used various forms of transportation including public transportation, car, motorcycle, e-bike, conventional bike, and walking, along with a slew of questions about their mental and physical health, including energy levels, fatigue, stress, depression, and social wellbeing.

In the end, bicycle riders hit the transportation jackpot, with those pedaling to and fro on traditional bikes yielding the best results in every analysis. Here are the top findings the researchers teased out.

You feel healthier

No surprise here. Related PASTA project research found that daily cyclists weigh less than their peers, and that people who switch from driving to cycling for their daily commute lose weight and have healthier body mass indexes (BMIs). Cycling also helps keep your immune system stronger as you age and can slow down the aging process. All that shows in how good you feel.

Related: Want to fly up hills? Climb! gives you the workouts and mental strategies to conquer your nearest peak.

You’re less stressed

Exercise like cycling not only helps keep stress hormones like cortisol in check, but also makes you more stress-resilient over time, so you’re less likely to sweat the small stuff and more likely to feel more chill overall.

Other transportation research has echoed these findings: Those who bike to work arrive less stressed than those who arrive by car.

You’re less lonely

Being on a bike makes you feel more at one with your environment, so you’re less likely to feel isolated and alone. Also, the more you wave and say hi to other pedestrians and cyclists, the less lonely you’ll feel (that’s actually not a scientifically-proven fact, but is an awesome idea).

Dennis



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