Celebrate Bike Week

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Cycling is a big hobby for many around the country, and this coming seven days celebrates Bike Week. It is the perfect opportunity for you to either take up the hobby or just have a change and enjoy the morning sun by cycling to work for the week.

A number of people who cycle for a hobby take part in regular events, perhaps you’re a weekend cyclist or you just like heading to the park with the children and taking the route by storm. Either way cycling has enormous health benefits for you.

Did you know that cycling is associated with a lower risk of developing cancer and heart disease? Although some may prefer walking to cycling, you would need to do much more of it each week to keep as fit, and burn as many calories, as cycling. Health Shield statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men have a poor level of exercise so what better time to start improving your health and wellbeing?

Let’s take you through some of the more exciting benefits of cycling:

  • First of all, it’s fun. Riding your bike as a child is a great memory for many, so head outdoors and recreate it. You don’t have to take part in any events and be competitive — just cycle for fun.
  • Whilst you are having fun you’re feeling happy, a great boost in your hormones that just makes you smile more. You’ll reduce stress, depression, anxiety and improve your sleep pattern.
  • It goes without saying you’ll improve your fitness. The amount of calories you burn will vary between each person and the route you choose but it’s much easier on your joints and burns just as many calories as running.
  • Research has shown that daily exercise can improve the functionality of your brain. Studies show that it can prevent decline in your cognitive abilities, sharpen your memory and learning ability as well as your overall brain performance.
  • You’ll save money! Petrol, wear and tear on your car, car parking fees — it’ll all add up!
  • You will explore your area. Whether you just stay local to where you live or you venture a bit further afield, you may find something new exploring the community. Those quiet country lanes with stunning views, or a quaint country pub you can stop at and have lunch to refuel.

If you want to cycle to work you will find many employers are now offering cycle to work schemes that offer savings on bikes and cycling equipment. Offering a cycle to work scheme for employees will help you to build cycling into their keep fit routine and help promote a healthy lifestyle for employees’ health and wellbeing.

Taking that first step to ride a bike is often quite daunting; here are some top tips to help you feel safe and prepared:

  • Ensure that your bike fits you well and is comfortable; if you’re unsure then a bike shop should help to guide you.
  • Bike maintenance is important; check brakes and tyres regularly and simple maintenance such as oiling the chain and pumping the tyres will make for a more comfortable ride.
  • Have the appropriate reflectors and lights on your bike, a front light should be white and rear light should be red.
  • Although helmets are not a legal requirement, they can help prevent injuries in case of an accident. Helmets should meet the British safety standard and can be relatively inexpensive.
  • Do not buy a second hand helmet as it may have suffered an incident, and ensure that it fits well meaning it should be snug around the head and just above the eyebrows.
  • When cycling, be aware of other road users, signal your intentions and obey the rules of the road.
  • There can often be nicer routes to take than the main roads used by the majority of traffic, plan your route ahead and look for some more enjoyable and interesting routes.

A 2016 report states that Cycle to Work schemes generate more than 9,000 extra cyclists each year, and found that people were cycling an average of 18 miles a week more than before they signed up.

If you are not aware of what a Cycle to Work scheme is, it is a taxable employee benefit where your employer essentially buys your chosen bike from a specified supplier up to the value of £1,000 and you pay it back on a monthly basis directly from your salary.

If you are a member of Health Shield and want to take up cycling but on a smaller scale, why not use mywellness to get discounts on sportswear, cycling retailers and fitness equipment. If you want to ride indoors, then a gym membership may be for you! Or perhaps you need a relaxing massage after a long and gruelling cycle, so take advantage of our health and wellbeing benefit.

Being a Health Shield member means we’ve got you covered.

Sources:

https://www.healthinsurancedaily.com/health-insurance/product-area/occupational-health/article482497.ece

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/pages/cycling.aspx

https://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/issues/february-2017/45-buyers-guide-to-bikes-for-work-schemes/

Health Shield Insights