It’s National Bike Month — the perfect excuse to dust off that old thing and start pedaling! Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, May is dedicated to biking to work, cycling with your family, and moving naturally.
Our society has become dependent on cars. According to a CNBC article, commuters waste an entire week each year sitting in traffic, resulting in a drop in activity level, which in turn raises our risk of chronic disease. If you live in Honolulu, you understand. People in Blue Zones® – where inhabitants live longer with less chronic disease – live in an environment that makes it easy to move naturally, and that includes biking. Blue Zones Project® works with communities to emulate those environments and make healthy choices easier. They support policy changes that implement walking and bike paths and encourage natural movement.
So why else should you be inspired to jump on a bike? Well, I bike because I am not a fan of running! In addition though, here’s a few more of my favorite biking benefits:
- Look younger. You don’t need “magical” face cream anymore. Scientists at Stanford University have found that biking regularly can protect your skin against the harmful effect of UV radiation and reduce signs of aging. A side effect of increased circulation through exercise is the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells and the flushing of harmful toxins. In addition, it optimizes collagen production, helping reduce wrinkles.
- Increase your brain power. According to research done by the University of Illinois, a five percent improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness from biking led to an improvement of up to fifteen percent in mental tests. This is because biking builds new brain cells in the hippocampus — the region responsible for memory.
- Live longer. A Blue Zones Project fave! King’s College London compared over 2,400 identical twins and found those who did the equivalent of just three 45-minute rides a week were nine years “biologically younger” even after discounting other influences such as body mass index (BMI) and smoking.
- Save the planet. Need we say more? A few highlights: twenty bikes can be parked in the space that it takes to park one car, building a bike only takes about five percent of the materials and energy used to make a car, and of course bikes produce a whopping zero pollution!
- Cycle away from cancer. A long-term study by Finnish researchers found that men who exercised at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes a day were half as likely to develop cancer as those who didn’t. One of their forms of exercise? Biking to work. For all the ladies out there, frequent biking reduced the risk of breast cancer by 34 percent.
- Enjoy healthy ohana time. No matter how old or how young, biking is an activity that the family can do together. Children are influenced by their parents’ exercise choices, so if you bike regularly with your kids, they’re likely to continue this active lifestyle when they grow up.
Are you interested in learning more about how you can move naturally or want to volunteer with the Blue Zones Project? Visit us at info.bluezonesproject.com/Hawaii to get involved!