Nov. 29, 2012
-- In the aftermath of the Olympics and Bradley Wiggins’ historic performance at the Tour de France there was a huge spike in the numbers of Brits cycling the UK (http://www.1sw.org.uk/
on their bikes as the nation relished in the glory of their athletes and harnessed the inspiration brought by a summer of sporting splendour.
Cycling’s fan base soared, with Halfords recording a 14.7 per cent rise in cycling sales in its second quarter. While you may not be the next Pendleton or Wiggins, cycling has endless health and fitness benefits, so here are five good reasons you should consider following in the footsteps of your cycling heroes:
1. A study done by the British Medical Association on 10,000 people showed that riding a bicycle for at least 20 miles per week lessens your risk of contracting coronary heart disease by almost 50 per cent.
2. Cycling gives tremendous results for improving your cardiovascular fitness. This is because cycling makes the heart pound steadily, increasing your heart’s fitness by three to seven per cent.
3. It can help shed those extra pounds. Depending on the speed of your rides and the terrain you're covering, mountain biking can burn between 10 and 16 calories a minute, or 600 to 1,000 calories per hour from more challenging forms such as off-road. Visit 1 South West’s mountain biking UK (http://www.1sw.org.uk/experience/mountain-biking-south-we...
) page to find some challenging MTB trails (http://www.1sw.org.uk/experience/your-adventure/guide-to-...
4. Biking just two to three hours a week can improve your lung capacity by up to 20 per cent, making hiking up stairs or running for the bus in everyday life more of a breeze. If possible, consider cycling to work or school and you will complete two to three hours in no time each week.
5. Biking gives you the same hard-core aerobic exercise as a run, but without all those shocks to the ankles, knees and hips. For the same reason, it's a good sport for those returning from injury and can help to improve tendon strength without any load-bearing.
The South West is one of the most popular destinations for cycling holidays in the UK (http://www.1sw.org.uk/experience/cycling-holidays-uk/
) and indeed Europe due to its array of beautiful scenery for the inexperienced riders and challenging trails for the more accomplished cyclists. It is home to some unforgettable cycle routes that are certain not to disappoint. So whether you are looking for a fun way to get in shape or the perfect family activity, head to the South West this Summer. Don’t worry if you don’t own a bike, there are plenty of bike hire facilities throughout the region.