Health benefits of biking

Out and about: Health benefits of biking and walking

We’re halfway through the summer holidays which means it’s the perfect opportunity to get out and about. Swapping the car for a bike helmet or a pair of snazzy walking sandals (socks optional) is one of the easiest ways to get your 30 minutes of recommended activity a day. Plus, cutting down on car use during the warmer months saves significantly on carbon emissions.

If you walk or bike for just 30 minutes a day this summer, you’ll be:

Happier

Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which are a natural high for the body. That’s the feeling of glowing satisfaction after a day of activity- you’re literally full of happiness! According to research, the mood boost from a 20 minute physical activity session can last up to 12 hours. Check out this infographic for details on how exercise makes you happier and less stressed.

Healthier

Walking and biking regularly can have huge health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, strokes and type 2 diabetes. Sunshine exposure produces vitamin D in the body, which is crucial to maintaining healthy teeth and bones However, always wear sunscreen when exposed to direct sunlight, to protect against the risk of skin cancer.

Here are our top 6 tips for getting out and enjoying the sunshine by foot or by pedal.

 

Walk to work

If you’re lucky enough to live close to your job, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of the longer days and get some exercise. Walking or biking to and from work early and late at night are no longer depressing slogs through the bitter winter cold and darkness.

Starting the day off with a burst of exercise improves productivity and lowers stress levels throughout the day, leaving you more alert and less likely to nod off during that 3pm meeting.

 

Go with friends

If you’re generally not fond of exercise, remember that misery shared is misery halved! Invite friends and family to come with you for a weekend stroll or ride and a memorable time is guaranteed. Take the kids on a bike ride round the neighbourhood, or go on a nature walk. You can also look online at sites like Meetup.com to find fellow walkers and bikers and make some new friends on your travels.

 

Pretend you’re a tourist

Look at your home with fresh eyes and take a walk in the shoes of a new arrival. ‘Going on holiday’ to your own town is a great and cheap way to spend a weekend. Take a look at the Ramblers website which recommends nearby walking paths and get out and have a go. Or take a weekend stroll around town and look at all the buildings and attractions you usually hurry past. Tripadvisor is handy for finding out what tourists love about your city or town. We don’t often remember to enjoy our home towns or their surroundings, but you’ll be surprised at how much you can discover.

 

Take a picnic

There’s no better feeling than finally arriving at a park bench or hilltop and settling down to a lavish lunch spread to enjoy the view. Bring a backpack or picnic hamper and fill it up with some of these great food ideas, or stop off at the supermarket and just grab a salad or sandwich and your favourite drink!

 

Soundtrack your life

There may be nothing more blissful than a good pair of headphones, a better playlist, and a long walk. Music can make all kinds of exercise more enjoyable, but walking along looking at a beautiful view with your own personal theme music playing in your ears is hard to beat.

This option is ideal if you want space to consider your thoughts, or just recharge on your own. Go in the early morning or late evening and you’ll likely have space to yourself as well. And if you start singing along to Adele, well, there’s nobody around to stop you!

For musical inspiration, head to Spotify which has a wide range of playlists like this perfect for all kinds of walks and adventures, or jog.fm which recommends music tailored to your walking speed.

There you have it! Now what are you waiting for? Go get your shoes on and have fun.