Now more than ever, the streets of Metro Manila are filled with bikers. In fact, maybe you’re part of a biker club. I’m not, but I’ve been recruited too many times to let this pass. “There are so many biking benefits,” I’ve been told.
Of course, when I asked these recruiters what these benefits are, almost all of them answered: “Biking lets you leave your house.” I have barely left my house since March, for obvious reasons. But after countless requests plus an official announcement from the government that the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) allows bikes as public transportation, I decided to think about getting a bike.
Guess what? After a quick search on Google, I found numerous biking benefits that have nearly convinced me to join one of those biker groups. Let me share some of them to you!
1. It strengthens the immune system
Especially in the age of a pandemic, a strong immune system is a top priority. And, a study has found that biking can keep the immune system young. (I have a real-life tita who can prove this. She bikes to work every day. She’s now a senior citizen, but she could pass as my sister!)
Evidently, regular bikers are generally healthier than those who don’t exercise regularly. But a closer look shows us that biking has anti-ageing benefits that promote a healthy immune system. How? Research says that bikers tend to generate more T-cells, or immune cells, that help keep them young and healthy longer.
2. It’s good for the heart
Hate cardio exercises? You are not alone. But no matter how much you hate cardio, your body needs it to keep the heart muscles strong. A good alternative? You guessed it — biking.
Fun fact: Working your lower body always makes a good cardio workout. And, biking definitely keeps your lower body working by making you push those pedals. Keep biking regularly, and you’ll reduce the chances of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attacks by 50%.
3. It improves respiratory function
Bikers follow a rhythmic pattern of push and pull — inhaling oxygen-rich air; exhaling carbon dioxide. As bikers pedal forward, fresh air flows into their lungs. According to research, biking can improve endurance and lung capacity by up to 15%.
In other words, biking improves lung function. If you’re often out of breath, consider taking biking as your go-to workout. (Bonus point: With more people biking, local air pollution decreases — and don’t we all need that in Metro Manila?!)
4. It provides a low-impact exercise
Let’s be honest: Some of us just can’t take high-impact workouts anymore. If you’re overweight, injury-prone, or suffering from unhealthy joints or arthritis, high-impact workouts might do you more harm than good.
The good news is that there’s an exercise routine for everyone. And if you particularly need a low-impact exercise, check out biking! When you ride a bike, your hips are supported by the seat. Unlike high-impact workouts, biking is also weight-inclusive; it doesn’t put pressure on your joints, either.
5. It promotes weight loss
The “Quarantine 15” has become a thing — but who can blame us? It’s just become so convenient to eat, what with the stressful times and with everyone learning how to cook and bake!
With that, many of us have been looking for ways to get back in shape again. Some yays from the bikers — biking promotes weight loss, as well! Just a tip: If you’re biking to lose weight, do remember that you should go on a higher intensity bike ride to burn more calories.
6. It boosts mental health
I’ll always remember Elle Woods’ iconic words of wisdom: Endorphins make you happy. Indeed, as all forms of exercise do, biking boosts mental health. As it encourages blood to pump throughout your system, it helps reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Endorphins, after all, are nature’s very own painkiller.
To back all that with science, here’s something from the University of Toronto: Even inactive adults who exercise at least three times a week reduce their chances of depression by 19%.
7. It supports economic recovery
You might think this is a bit of a stretch, but research has shown that bikers are more likely (on average, three times more) to support local businesses. (Say what?!)
Honestly, I had a hard time believing this the first time I saw this study, but come to think of it: Small businesses generally have less budget to build a huge parking space. Bikers, unlike car owners, don’t need that. In my mind, bikers are also more likely to make stopovers because it’s convenient for them.
Supporting local leads to faster economic recovery. If you ask me, this is one of the best biking benefits there is!
All these biking benefits are just pieces of evidence that we should jump on the bandwagon of bikers. Now the question is: Where do we get a bike?