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10 Reasons To Take Up Cycling Now

10 Reasons To Take Up Cycling Now

Tell me one way to get around which saves you money, cuts pollution, and helps to keep you fit.

Cycling is the answer, of course, and it beats running because you save your joints from all that pounding on the tarmac. Cycling has got some prestigious sponsors too. It needs them because only 0.5% of US citizens cycle to work compared to 2% in the UK and 27% in the Netherlands. It’s time to make a change.

Just think, all the following organizations are recommending that you take up cycling now:

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  • National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK
  • British Medical Association
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Heart Association
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • National Society for Clean Air

Here are 10 good reasons why you should be cycling instead of being stuck in a traffic jam or being a couch potato.

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”
Plato

1. Cycling will give you healthier skin.

One of the great benefits is that once you start exercising, you are getting a better supply of oxygen to all the major organs, and that includes your skin. Your skin cells will be revitalized and your own supply of collagen will be enhanced. This means that you will be better able to protect against UV radiation, provided you do not forget your sun block.

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2. Cycling helps the environment.

Cycling is the greenest form of transportation out there. It is quiet and it is, above all, cheap. You do not need to buy expensive equipment or clothing. Experts calculate that the material and energy used to manufacture a bike are about 5% compared to those needed to make a car. In addition, you are not polluting the atmosphere.

3. Cycling helps you burn off those calories.

One estimate says that a woman (weighing 135 pounds) can burn almost 500 calories in an hour, just by cycling at a speed of 14 miles an hour.  If you work reasonably close to your workplace and could cycle there in 20 minutes, you could aim to do this healthy commute just twice a week, weather permitting. Result? You could burn 3,000 calories in a month, according to Women’s Health.

4. Cycling protects your heart.

Ask any doctor about how exercise will help to protect your heart. Cardiovascular disease still remains the number one killer in the USA. Any physical activity done on a regular basis, such as half an hour a day for five days a week, is recommended by medical experts all around the globe. Cycling is one of the easiest, cheapest, and safest ways of doing this provided you wear your cycle helmet, of course!

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5. Cycling protects your mental health.

With all the extra oxygen getting to the brain, neuro pathways are strengthened and renewed. This means a sharper mental focus and a protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Research studies show that biking may be a key factor in improving your mental health.  After cycling, some researchers observed a 15% increase in mental and cognitive ability.

6. Cycling helps to ward off diabetes.

If you eat lots of sugary snacks and never exercise, you could be at risk of developing diabetes which has many serious health implications. Cycling for half an hour a day could actually lower your risk of becoming a diabetic by as much as 40%. This is what researchers in Finland discovered.

7. Cycling can help arthritis.

If you suffer from arthritis and do not want to do too much walking or running, which will put a strain on your joints, cycling is ideal. When there is no impact and no weight bearing, the joints benefit greatly. Let your bike do all the hard work!

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8. Cycling can help your performance at work.

Guess what? Those employees who were able to build in some physical activity, such as cycling, performed better in the workplace. They were performing better on:

  • finishing tasks and deadlines
  • had higher motivation
  • dealing with stress
  • managing interpersonal relationships

9. Cycling helps the economy.

Denmark is a very bike friendly country and there are sound economic reasons for this. First of all, the country hopes to save up to $60 million a year in health costs. People are healthier and the number of days lost because of illness is reduced.  Think of the other economic benefits:

  • Cycle lanes are much cheaper to build than highways
  • You can park 20 bikes in a space for one car.
  • Bikers have more time and freedom to shop—this helps the local economy
  • The typical American household spends about $9,000 on car maintenance and transport annually. Bike owners spend a fraction of that.

10. Cycling helps you save money.

In the recession, we are all looking for ways to save money. Transport costs are inevitably high. But most people live within cycling distance to work or school. Think of the savings on fuel, parking fees (and fines!). Bike maintenance is really cheap and the money you save could be put towards a really exciting holiday.

As we have seen, there are many benefits to taking up cycling right now. Before I forget, think of the times when you got a buzz coasting down a hill on a bike when you were a kid. You can do that again now!

Featured photo credit: Cycling family/Tejvan Pettinger via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, go to my website (find my website here in my profile) and take the smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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