Is Cycling Bad for You?: Green Cycling Tips



Cycling is bad for you? Say it isn't so! What's next? Drinking water leads to dehydration? This may just be the most frustrating study done this year (keep reading to find out). Well, truth be told, and honestly this should be a no brainer to those of you looking for green cycling tips, as the following information is quite obvious to anyone who enthusiastically rides a bike for exercise and cycling competition. But maybe a few of my readers who use a bike daily to get to and from work everyday (out of necessity) or want to learn how to cut down on oil consumption by riding a bike more often do not know about the health effects of riding a bicycle.

If you live the urban life, cycling and riding your bike to and from may not be as healthy as you think, at least not for your lungs and heart. Yeah, you’ll get that cyclist physique, save gas money, achieve great form, help our environment, but what will your organs show on the inside if you live in the big city and bike regularly?

If you follow pro cycling at all, you know that the 2011 Tour de France has just come to an end. If you watched many of the stages, you saw massive crashes unlike anything you’ve ever seen right? That media car that swiped the riders and knocked them into that road and that barbed wire fence! Ouch. But what about all the fumes these poor guys have to breathe in from the media motorbikes, team cars, and officials? Beyond the danger of riding at speeds in access of 60-70 MPH, fumes are not good. If you are a bike messenger, listen up too.

For the first time ever, cycling in heavy traffic has been related to a heart health threat. In June, Canadian researchers released their findings in a new study. This new study new established that avid cyclists in Ottawa,Ontario, had heart irregularity issues in the hours after their cycling and contact with a variety of air pollutants on busy streets and roads.

Here are some super easy green cycling tips and considerations even condoned by the new study:

- Stay away from cycling on busy roads if possible. Even if you are commuting, try to find a route that is less travelled by commuting autos. Cutting through neighborhoods can be a huge help. At least you will get more exercise if you have to take a slightly longer route.

- Campaign for your city to follow the direction the state of Oregon has taken when it comes to safe, healthy cycling provisions.

- Oregon (the greenest state in the US) has developed detached bike lanes away from heavy traffic loaded roads. They have even developed green cycling lanes using greenery and shrubs. These are not only oxygen producing, but make a beautiful commute. Not all of us have the pleasure of living in a community that provides such green cycling efforts, but advocate it!

- Seek out designated areas that separate bicyclists from idling cars at traffic lights and intersections. Be safe. Not all cars are paying attention to you. This may not be the most convenient effort, but again; advocate it in your community.

- Yes you want to save on gas. But whether you are cycling to work, for leisure activity, or serious exercise, use green accessories. Cycling stores are starting to really advocate eco-friendly cycling and offer many new eco-friendly fitness products. What materials are used in your water bottle?

Worth noting:  42 healthy, non-smoking cyclists wore heart monitors before, during and after cycling for one hour on high and low traffic streets and roads during late spring to summer last year. Instruments added to their bikes calculated contact to air greenhouse gasses.

Short term contact with pollution in heavy traffic such as tiny particles, nitrogen dioxide or ozone significantly decreased heart rate variability in the cyclists for up to 3 hours after cycling. Scientists say reduced heart rate inconsistency is associated with a higher risk of heart attacks.

Given the life giving properties and spiritual role of the sun since time immemorial, it is a logical conclusion. It certainly suits us best to be in it. As with all things, moderation is the key. You don't have to worship the sun to realize its importance for holistic wellness...physically and spiritually.

Author: Amy Wermuth