Saving Lives

2 Apr

It might sound over the top, but biking can save lives.  By now everyone knows that obesity is a huge problem in the U.S.  In addition to eating habits (and for some the lack of healthy food nearby), a major factor is that we don’t move much.  The vast majority of us sit for hours at work, sit for a couple more hours in the car, and then sit for at home in front of the TV or computer.

The beauty of cycling is that it can really integrate exercise into your daily routine.  That can be very important psychologically: instead of “I have to go exercise” it can be “I’m going to the store now.”

Businessinsider.com has a couple of posts that really capture this.  The most striking one is by a young woman named Mandi Woodruff.  She describes realizing at age 8 that she was overweight, and later that many of her family members suffered from illness and poor health due to obesity.

Like most Americans, her response was to diet and go the gym.  That helped some, but also proved expensive.  She later purchased a bicycle for $500 and has made back that cost in just a few months by canceling her gym membership and not having to pay for mass transit.  Chances are very good that she’ll live longer, enjoy that time more, and spend less on health care.  See Mandi’s piece here.  And see this post on 7 ways that biking (or biking more) can change your life for the better.

The health benefits of cycling and walking can also save the society as a whole an enormous amount of money.  A study mentioned by Mandi and described in another piece on the site found that if one third of Americans biked one a mile each day, it would save us $17 billion in health care costs.

May is National Bike Month and May 18 is National Bike to Work Day.  I’ll be posting soon with more details on events being planned, but you don’t need to wait until May to start or expand your cycling!

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