Regular exercise is an important activity that everyone should try to perform in order to maintain health and fitness, and to prevent illness and injury. There are so many ways for patients to get their exercise. With so many options, practically everyone could potentially find some activity that works for their individual needs. Physical activities alone allow the body to create a natural barrier to preventable diseases and trauma. Not only that, but exercise also naturally contributes to the brain’s release of feel-good chemicals, creating both a physical and mental reward for engaging in physical activities. Other lifestyle choices, such as diet and sleep schedule, also contribute to the body’s overall health and level of immunity or resistance to physical and mental ailments. Biking is one activity that may be beneficial. Many patients are able to participate in the activity, and there are modifications that might be made in order to compensate for variation in patients’ physical state and lifestyle. Cycling can be done for many different reasons, such as for transportation. Someone who is visiting a nearby friend or commuting to work might find bicycling to be a convenient and beneficial means of travel. When the distance is reasonable, enough time is left between departure and scheduled arrival time at the destination, the patient is in good health, and the weather is safe, workers who are able to cycle to work are encouraged to do so. It is “green”, or beneficial to the environment, saves gas money, and it can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Bicycling is greener than carpooling. A lot of cities are making an effort to enforce bike lanes for safety and convenience. Many people just bike for fun, others do it for fitness, and some perform cycling as professional or competitive athletes. Whatever the reason for bike riding, it does have several health benefits. Cycling can reduce heart disease, it can burn calories and improve metabolism, and it is helpful for “longevity” or “life-years”. Patients who bike regularly gain an increased likelihood of a longer, healthier, and happier life. Biking improves the immune system, mental health, and coordination. Bike riding is also excellent for muscle health, and it is especially beneficial as a “low-impact…exercise for those with joint conditions”. Biking may also be a social, group activity, both during the work week and during the weekend. It is a great family bonding experience, and biking is something that people of a very wide age range are able to participate in.1
Types of Bikes
There are many types of bikes widely available to the general public, in many configurations and price ranges. There are single-person bicycles, and those built for more than one person, such as tandem bikes. Some bikes fold to make commuting easier. Some are geared towards specific sports, such as indoor track, outdoor racing, and mountain biking. There are electric bikes, recumbent bikes, pedicabs, and, of course, stationary bikes. The general bike categories, by function, include road bicycles, touring bicycles, cyclo-cross bikes, utility bicycles, freight bicycles, mountain bikes, hybrid bicycles, track cycles, triathlon bikes, BMX, and cruiser bicycles. For people with certain health conditions, a recumbent (seated) bicycle or tricycle might be ideal, compensating for difficulties and even built to focus on working different muscles due to their varied shapes.2 Weather, seasonal allergies, geography, and time constraints need not be an obstacle to performing cycling for fitness. People can use stationary bikes at a gym, or in their home, to maintain fitness through rain, sleet, snow, hail, and every inclement weather condition in between. During the winter, outdoor bikes can be converted to indoor use with a trainer, which turns a regular bicycle into a stationary bike.
Bike Seat Controversy
There has been some controversy regarding the effects of male fertility produced by cycling. Wearing tight biking shorts and sitting for more than a half hour on a bike saddle, can raise body temperature and temporarily affect sperm production. It is important to take breaks and find the right bike seat that fits the patient’s body type.3 Another issue with bike seats is that nerves and blood vessels in the perineum can be affected, an issue that might affect both males and females. This can lead to tingling, numbness, and blood-flow issues.4 Proper bike adjustment, fitness levels, and length of exercise time all contribute to these issues. Bikes must be properly fit to the rider and their physical needs. This includes saddle and handlebar adjustments, as well as choosing the right sized bike frame. Height is one of the most commonly considered adjustments that is required. Bicycle saddles are not meant to carry the whole weight of the rider, and this is where fitness comes into play. As fitness levels improve, riders will help distribute their body weight over the pedals, handlebars, and seat. A recent study has shown that a “noseless saddle” may be beneficial to those who suffer from persistent numbness.5