We can all agree that some physical exercise is critical for maximal health, and that most of us don’t get enough activity. According to the National Center for Biotechnology (NCIB), an international survey of 122 countries by the World Health Organization estimated that 31.1% of adults are physically inactive, and that adding even a minimal amount of activity can make a huge difference in overall health. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association guidelines has discovered that a minimum 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can increase energy and resilience to disease. It also helps improve sleep pattern, control weight, and boost overall mental health. At first glance this may seem like an unreasonable amount of time, however, the best way to increase physical activity is to incorporate it into your everyday life, like on the way to work, for instance. The Oxford Academic Journal of Public Health completed a study and found that people who regularly commute to work by bike are four times more likely to achieve the 150 minutes of exercise recommended by the World Health Organization. Most of us think that cycling requires the fancy lycra shorts and inordinately expensive professional sneakers There is a much better way to envision cycling that includes casual attire and a nice, slow to moderate speed that allows you to enjoy the scenery as you go. If you are a bit leery of jumping on a bike after being a couch potato for several years, there is a great way to ease into bike riding. It is called an ebike, or a bike with a motor that can be powered by either the onboard motor or by pedaling. This way, you start out with all your good intentions intact, without worrying you will be stuck walking your bike. Some bikers are also concerned about the danger of riding in traffic and areas without bike lanes. This is a very valid concern for many residents in urban areas.In the U.S. there are 4 million miles of roads, but only 200 miles of protected bike lanes. However, there are signs of significant improvement. Over the past decade the number of people who get to work via bicycle has increased by 60%. The highest bike commuting rate goes to Portland, Oregon at the rate of 6.1%. During the years 2008 to 2012, the rate of cyclists jumped from 1.9% to 4.1% in Minneapolis. The cities that have had the best increase in biking activity are those that have made significant efforts to create infrastructure like bike lanes, bike share programs, and more pedestrian friendly streets. Thanks to these city improvements, biking to work has more than doubled in since 2000, and more extensive plans for bike and walker friendly infrastructure is coming soon. For government policy makers, adding this kind of infrastructure should be a no-brainer. They can’t make people join gyms or play racquetball, but they can however, build infrastructure that encourages people to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine. Organizations like BikeLeague.org help collect all the data necessary for policy makers to clearly see the benefits of adding biking infrastructure to their cities. Bike parking and other amenities that make bicycling easy and convenient are helping many citizens worldwide rediscover the benefits of cycling. The Copenhagenize Design Company advises cities and governments on bicycle-friendly infrastructure and has helped enforce the idea that biking in the city is also good business. The cycling population In Copenhagen generates $261 million a year in public health savings, which is enough to pay off the cost of the infrastructure in about 5 years. Copenhagen is the city to model when it comes to pedestrian and biking urban design. Since 2015 the city has implemented new traffic light systems that give priority to cyclists, and opened new bicycle superhighway routes. As a result, more than 62% of the population ride their bikes to work or school daily, and only 9% drive. This innovative city is one of the few places in the world that has made innovation a priority. Many U.S cities are coming to this same realization and understand how supporting cycling can improve many aspects of urban living. You can help this movement by supporting organizations like Bike League and others pushing for more bike friendly roads, and by jumping on your own bike. You will be improving your brain performance, saving on gas money, and keeping the air clean. As an added bonus, you won’t have to fight for a parking space either.
August 28, 2019 0 Comments