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3 reasons to start biking

Not only is biking a great workout, it boasts other benefits as well. Check them out

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biking outdoors

Bike your way fit

If you haven’t been on a bicycle since you were 10, why not embrace the two-wheeler once again? It’s an ideal way to get a great workout, or just go from A to B while improving your health-not to mention saving money and helping the environment. Here are three reasons why you should saddle up more often.

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women on bikes

1. You’ll lose weight

Whether you’re out for a multi-hour Sunday ride in the country or pedalling 15 minutes each way to work, cycling is a great way to burn calories-without ever setting foot in a gym. Case in point: A 2010 American Journal of Public Health study determined that adults involved in active travel, such as commuting by bike to work, were less likely to be overweight. A 130-lb. female out for a 30-minute moderate bicycle ride (19-22 km/h) will torch about 240 calories. So, given that to lose one pound in a week you have to cut 500 calories a day (3,500 calories equals a pound), that means if you trim 250 calories from your daily diet and pedal about half an hour a day, you could shed a pound in a week.

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woman bicycle

2. It’s eco-friendly

According to Statistics Canada, personal motor vehicle use accounts for 63 percent of total household greenhouse gas emissions. Why pollute the air driving to the corner store in pursuit of milk? Draw a circle on a map with a two-kilometre radius around your home. Start by making one bike trip per week within this radius to run errands, be it to the dentist, mailbox or supermarket. Gradually use your bicycle to make more trips to places within the loop. Then start expanding the radius as you get more fit.

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biking cycle fitness outdoor

3. You’ll tame stress

A 2011 Swedish study found that people who drive to work are more stressed, more likely to miss work due to sickness, get less sleep, and report being in worse health than those who bike to work. While stress can affect your mental, emotional and physical health, a fresh breeze and the wave of feel-good endorphins you’ll get as you pedal away can make you feel like a million bucks. As well, you may begin to feel connected to your community in a way that you can’t while stuck behind a steering wheel. Social riding within a group can also provide benefits to your outlook, so consider joining a local bicycle club; many often organize group rides and provide instruction such as proper bike handling in traffic and bike maintenance.

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