Fitness

7 great reasons to start cycling

Cycling is great fun, good for your health and one of the easiest ways of getting from A to B. So, while the sun is shining, get on your bike!

1. Cyclists live longer
Researchers in Denmark found that cyclists live longer than people who aren’t active, and that the benefits of cycling increased the more regularly they pedalled.

2. It helps fight flab
You’ll get a great workout that improves your stamina – and the faster you pedal, the more calories you’ll burn. On average, an hour’s cycling burns around 500 calories (based on calculations for a 10st person). And, as it’s low weight-bearing, it’s kind to your joints.

3. It’s cheap
Think before you grab your car keys. Most of the journeys we make are ridiculously short. Government figures suggest that 41 per cent of all trips made in England are less than two miles, which would be an easy 15-minute bike ride. Going by two wheels instead of four can drastically reduce your fuel costs. And you won’t have to shell out for parking.

4. It’s fun
Join your kids on their bikes and you have the ultimate family activity that doesn’t cost a lot. Cycling can brings families together - and it’s a fantastic, free way to explore new places and have a lot of fun.

5. Cycling makes you happy
Extensive research suggests that being active, like going cycling, can boost your mood. Moderate exercise has been found to reduce stress and cut rates of depression. The mood-boosting hormones produced during exercise will help you feel better.

6. You’ll breathe in less CO gas than drivers
Cyclists absorb fewer pollutants from traffic fumes than drivers. Research for the European Commission found that although cyclists breathe in two to three times as much air as motorists, car drivers breathe in two and a half times as much carbon monoxide.

7. Buy a bike and you could save on tax!
To encourage us to cycle to work, the government has introduced a scheme that lets you pay for a bike in monthly installments by hiring it. If they have joined the scheme, your employer buys the bike and reclaims the VAT, then takes an installment from your salary each month to cover the cost. It comes out of your gross salary, so you save on tax and national insurance and, after the loan period (usually a year), you can transfer ownership of the bike for a small amount. For more info, visit cyclescheme.co.uk.