We all want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, particularly when the world is facing such a serious health crisis.
With most of our time being spent at home lately and the shorter winter days, we’re all having to think creatively about how we can continue to incorporate outdoor exercise into our daily routine.
Here at Halfords, we believe cycling is a great and safe way of getting fresh air, clearing your mind and working those muscles. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of cycling and how you can continue to ride during the winter months.
Advantages of cycling
A bike for everybody
As long as you know how to ride, cycling is an exercise for all ages, disciplines and fitness levels. It’s particularly good for people who have problems with their hips, knees or feet, because it’s a low-impact exercise that takes the pressure off these weight-bearing joints.
With the right equipment and a little guidance, there’s no reason why most people can’t reap the health benefits of cycling. Check out our helpful cycling guides for more information.
Keep your heart happy
By jumping in the saddle, you’re committing to using your own body to get you from A to B, which is pretty impressive when you think about it. You’ll get your heart pumping, burn off a load of calories (more than a walk or run would), and be working on your core and resistance without even noticing.
Fresh air is free
Spending more time at home is bound to feel restrictive, which makes exercising outside all the more important. Hop on your bike for a trip around the block or along your favourite trail. Bring your kids along and spend some time together as a family outside of the four walls of your home. As long as you’re mindful of your distance to others and show your kids how to stay safe while riding, it’s a great way to get some fresh air into your lungs.
How to keep cycling
Take advantage of the sunlight hours
Riding while the sun’s out will increase your serotonin levels, something that contributes towards mental wellbeing and happiness. Even when the sun’s hiding behind clouds, you’ll still get a serotonin boost.
So, hop in the saddle before work in the morning and go for a quick spin. If you’re not a morning person, take advantage of your break to go and refresh your body and mind with a bike ride. It’ll be a welcome break!
Prepare for riding in the dark
Even without restrictions, it can still be difficult to spare time in sunlight hours for a bike ride. This isn’t a problem, and your mental health and fitness will still benefit from riding in the dark.
When riding later in the day, try to pick a well-lit route. Also, make sure to add lots of lights to your bike. Front and rear lights are a bare minimum, but the more the better. So, why not also use reflectors, reflective clothing and wearable lights? You may resemble a Christmas tree, but at least you’ll be seen!
Wear the correct clothing
Temperatures and the weather can vary, so always be prepared for the conditions by wearing the correct clothing.
Plan ahead and have your clothing prepared ahead of time. If you plan on going for an early morning ride, you’ll be more motivated if your clothes are laid out ready to go.
If you’re unsure what clothing you’ll need, head over to our Cycling Clothing Buyer’s Guide for help.
Mind over matter
It’s a simple equation, exercise = endorphins and endorphins put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. Cycling is a great way to keep those little neuropeptides and peptides high and the more you ride the better you’ll feel.
Once you’ve got that good feeling going, heading out on a bike ride is easy! (Maybe not in the pouring rain, but there are some things even endorphins can’t help!)
Hopefully that gives you all the motivation you need to head out on two wheels – something that will help keep you healthy and provide some much-needed respite from the pressures we find ourselves under.
Remember when riding that you still need to adhere to social distancing rules.
Stay healthy and keep a good distance! We’re all in this together.