Benefits of cycling
Rob Lee of Plymouth Corinthian Cycling Club talks about the mental and physical benefits of cycling
First and foremost, many will think of cycling as “exercise” and for good reason; it takes some effort to get a bike up to speed and to keep the thing moving. With gears, and freedom, comes the temptation to push faster and harder, and as many of us will have had bicycles as a child it’s easy to dismiss the sport as a hard and sweaty undertaking that might also involve danger, spilt blood or at least a line of wet mud up the back of your coat and trousers!
Given a little more investigation we discover that there are in fact many options to how and where one might cycle, and a great many opportunities when it comes to taking up cycling as a regular endeavour.
Aerobic exercise is a part of human evolution, we evolved to move, relatively slowly, for fairly long periods of time. Your body wants you to do that, and if you take it up on its request then you will very quickly find that your aerobic condition improves, and this makes life much easier. The modern bicycle is the perfect tool for the job, with a huge range of gears, light weight even in very basic models, and geometry to suit us mortals as well as the elite.
Any form of aerobic exercise is of course a beneficial to your health, but few other forms of exercise can honestly touch cycling for its versatility and multiple scenario usage. A lot of us are short on time these days; finding time for exercise? Not a chance! But many people have found the huge benefits to be had by combining the tasks of exercise and getting to work by riding a bike.
Cycling is substantially faster than many other aerobic exercises, yet it can still be carried out a gentle effort for that greater pace. In many cities it can be faster in the commuter hours that driving, and this makes it an excellent option as transport.
Cycling can be used to find solitude, and a time to think. You are in a flow state where physical effort can help to clear you mind. The improvements to your mental health are two-fold: you are changing your hormonal profile whilst simultaneously giving your mind the space it needs to process the important details of life. You can access nature faster and find remote places. Solitude is good for us from time to time.
When it’s not, when we need others, we have the humble cycling club. These are a great place to meet other people with similar outlooks of life, or at the very least a shared desire for company, support, friendship and occasionally challenge or competition. Becoming good at one thing is often the catalyst to become good at everything else that we value. Doing it with others enhances the experience. Doing it on a bike means you also have both a pastime and a tool that can do many jobs, to suit your mood, your desires, and your day.
Plymouth Corinthian CC is a friendly club with 127 years of history. It’s tradition is in competitive racing but that doesn’t mean that everyone in the club races, far from it. We are a multi-discipline inclusive club. Some riders just like being part of a club to meet like minded people and enjoy a social ride or sportive together often including a nice cafe stop too! Click the link below for more details.
Rob Lee is a full time professional endurance coach with 27 years experience in cycle sport www.rlp-coaching.com. He is a committee member of the Plymouth Corinthian cycle club
www.plymouthcorinthiancc.co.uk a club with a long tradition (the club was established in 1892!) of catering for many different levels of cyclists, across the disciplines of road, time trial, cyclocross and mountain bike. A welcoming club, with a policy of gender equality, they run social events off the bike, social rides, training sessions, races, race support, and are instrumental in the running of the Plymouth chain gang, a regular summer tradition for many years.