The benefits of Cycling for Wellbeing (Tour de Yorkshire)
With the famous Tour de Yorkshire coming up this weekend, cycling will be all around the region, and on everyone’s minds – as well as on the glass ceiling of Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre! (Credit: ITV Yorkshire)
I used to think that Sunday riders are crazy: waking up early to cycle along roads in the Yorkshire Dales, going up and down the hills, painfully. Why would you impose this on your body?
Well, because cycling is good for our wellbeing! It indeed has a 5 out of 5 on the ‘5 ways of wellbeing’ created by the charity ‘Action for Happiness’:
‘Be active’ is the most obvious one! Cycling is a great way to exercise and improve your muscle tone and cardio-vascular system. As cycling takes place outside, mostly in the countryside (how lucky are we with the beautiful Yorkshire’s landscape!), you also get to breathe in a lot of fresh air, which is good for your lungs!
‘Learn’: When you start cycling, you learn the basic mechanics of a bike and how to fix it, obviously, but you also learn a lot about yourself, your body and your mind. You learn about your physical limits, how to overcome them and how to take care of your body before and after the ride: stretching, warming up, and maybe some massage if your body feels soar the day after! You also learn about your inner self if you cycle on your own and get into an introspection’s state (see following).
‘Take notice’: when you are on your bike, you can’t do much more than… cycle! Which means you don’t get to check your phone or multi-task. Your body is physically very active, and simultaneously your mind is free to wander. You can easily take notice of your surroundings, enjoy the beautiful landscape around you and just be in the present moment. You can also have an introspective moment, for yourself, which can help you process and digest thoughts and events that have happened to you lately. It is a great opportunity to take notice of what’s going on in your mind!
‘Connect’: if you ride as a team, you will obviously connect with the other people in the team. However, even if you ride on your own, you are likely to share waves and smiles with other riders and with drivers taking over. You connect with others, and this can only improve your wellbeing!
‘Give’: there are many cycling clubs in Yorkshire, and they are all an opportunity to share with others, to give your time to run the club, and maybe even give financially to support a new club or one with a specific project. Liferiders for example, run by Simon Thomas, has been created to talk while cycling, and using cycling for all the benefits we mentioned in this article, as well as an opportunity for riders to talk, and consequently improve their mental health.
As one of the fastest growing leisure activities in the UK, cycling has become hugely popular. Since 2009, British Cycling (with Sky and now HSBC backing) have inspired over 1.7 million Britons to ride their bikes.
The implications for Workplace Wellbeing are significant. Those organisations prepared to piggyback on this popularity and invest wisely in Cycling-related projects can unlock huge benefits from a more ‘present’ and engaged workforce. We’d be happy to help!
Are you ready to get on your bike? Next time you hesitate, think about all these positive aspects! And if you are considering starting to cycle, maybe not with Tour de Yorkshire… but some loops in the park nearby, it’s great! We need to start small, this is how you can steadily build a healthy lifestyle.