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Four reasons cycling is good for you and your heart

Credit: British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is helping Wales keep cycling this winter by encouraging people to take on its virtual cycling challenge MyCycle.

Cycling has never been more popular. Earlier this year Forbes revealed that between April and June 2020, bicycle sales increased by 63% year-on-year in the UK. This July, the Welsh Government announced £38 million grants to help make Wales a safer place to cycle, scoot and walk.

But as the winter draws near how many of us will make our new hobby a healthy habit?

BHF Cymru says that signing up for a challenge like MyCycle is a great way to help people stay motivated to keep cycling throughout the winter months and improve their heart health.

Figures from a BHF survey showed that setting a target, such as signing up to a challenge like a bike ride or marathon, has helped a quarter (25%) of people get fitter in the past.

The BHF’s virtual cycling challenge, MyCycle, has three challenges suitable for riders of all cycling abilities. You can choose to ride 100, 200 or 300+ miles over 30 days and raise vital funds for the BHF’s life saving research. It doesn’t matter how you cover the distance – you can do it on the road or in the gym and on your own or as part of a team.

Cyclists who raise £150 or more for the BHF will receive an exclusive MyCycle medal to celebrate their achievement.

Head of BHF Cymru, Adam Fletcher, said; “It’s fantastic to see such an increase in the number of people cycling in 2020. As winter draws in it’s really important for us to keep active, especially as many of us are faced with further lockdown measures. Government advice recommends adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity, each week.”

“Setting yourself a challenge like MyCycle will not only help raise vital funds for the BHF’s life saving research, but it will keep you motivated to get on the bike even when it’s cold and wet.”

The heart charity has shared it’s top four reasons cycling is good for your heart to encourage Wales to keep cycling through the winter months:

Four reasons cycling is good for you and your heart

  • Improves fitness and cardiovascular health – Being physically active helps to reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases. Cycling is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness as it raises your heart rate and helps burn calories, which could contribute to weight loss. The resistance element of cycling also helps to build and tone muscle, improving your overall fitness.
  • Gentle on your joints – Cycling is a low impact sport compared to other aerobic activities, like running, and therefore kinder to your joints.
  • Good for you and good for the environment – Cycling is not only good for your physical well-being, it is also good for the environment. Choosing to cycle on our journeys helps create less air pollution, which in turn is better for heart and lungs.
  • Improves mental wellbeing – Many of us experience a dip in mood over the winter months. Exercise, such as cycling, helps to increases your level of endorphins which are a natural mood booster and can have a positive impact on your mental health. Completing a challenge or goal, like MyCycle, can also have positive affect on your mental health. This combined with the knowledge that the miles you’re covering are helping to raise vital funds for the BHF’s life saving research, is sure to put you in a good mood.

BHF Cymru provides vital support to the 340,000 people in Wales living with heart and circulatory diseases. Research suggests Covid-19 has put people with heart and circulatory conditions at greater risk than ever. But the effect of the virus has also cut the BHF’s life saving research in half. The nation’s heart charity needs the public’s support more than ever to enable it to continue its life saving research into preventing, diagnosing and treating heart and circulatory diseases. Slowing down now would put even more lives at stake.

Get on your bike and start riding to build up the miles and help raise vital funds for the BHF’s life saving research. Visit: www.bhf.org.uk/mycycle