Whether it’s congested city streets, lack of public transportation options or the variety of chronic health conditions affecting Americans, cycling can be a solution to many of our country’s problems.
While physicians often look to prescribe medication to treat illness, prevention — perhaps in the form of exercising, like cycling — might provide a better path to avoid chronic conditions like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and some forms of cancer in the first place. It may be time to rephrase the “apple a day keeps the doctor away,” saying to “a bike ride a day keeps the doctor away.”
WHAT ILLNESSES CAN CYCLING HELP?
If there is one thing COVID-19 has taught us, it’s the importance of a healthy and fully functioning immune system. While nobody suggests cycling can cure viruses, it has been shown to help boost the immune system, which can help your body fight off illness and may prevent severe complications that require prolonged hospitalizations. This study shows how cycling can help improve adaptive immunity — a key to fighting off new illnesses that enter the body.
“We know that cycling and exercise, in general, can maintain cardiovascular and brain health,” says Dr. Wes Clements, a physician at SteadyMd. “But by living an active lifestyle, it also makes it easier to fight off infections and illness.”
Our immune system isn’t the only thing daily cycling helps. One of the most significant crises facing the U.S. today is obesity. According to the CDC, the obesity rate in the U.S. was 42% in 2018, the most recent measure available, and the statistic continues to rise.
Since obesity can lead to other illnesses or diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and some types of cancer, figuring out how to combat this issue should be at the top of our priority list. Fortunately studies show cycling can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels and promote weight loss.