Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 6

FEATURE
vessels, and lungs energized and moving. It
will cause you to breathe deeply and raise
your body temperature, which increases
your overall fitness level. The following are
some of the benefits outlined among various
clinical journals:
* Increased cardiovascular fitness
* Increased muscle strength
and flexibility, improved joint mobility
* Decreased stress levels
* Strengthened bones, improved
posture and coordination
* Decreased body fat levels, obesity,
and weight control
* Reduced anxiety and depression
LET'S LOOK AT BODY FAT
Extensive research done in countries
where cycling to work is commonplace has
shown a correlation between riding a bike
for transportation and weight reduction. One
study conducted in the United Kingdom
by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and
the Centre for Diet and Activity Research
(CEDAR) showed a body mass index (BMI)
reduction of 0.32 for those who traveled
by bike rather than car. That equates to
2.2 pounds for the average person. While
that may not seem like a lot, the percentage
multiplied the longer the study participants
were on the bike. When they rode more than
30 minutes on a regular basis, for example,
the BMI reduction was 2.25, or 15.4 pounds.
Another study, conducted in a collaboration
of universities in Finland, Austria, Australia,
Belgium, and West Virginia in the USA,
showed that 30 minutes of cycling a day
compared with no activity resulted in a
significant decrease in weight (3.5 pounds).
The benefits were stronger among overweight
and obese women (those with a BMI greater
or equal to 25). Women in the study who
decreased their bicycling gained more weight
(26.7 pounds).
According to the Mayo Clinic, to lose 1½
pounds a week, you need to reduce your daily
calories by 500 to 750 calories. Steady cycling
burns about 300 calories per hour, since it
raises your metabolic rate, builds muscle,
and burns fat. To effectively make progress
against obesity, cycling should be combined
with a healthy eating plan.
CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH, CANCER, AND
OVERALL MORTALITY
Cycling has been shown to have extraordinary
benefits for our cardiovascular systems.
After all, it's an activity that stimulates
blood circulation, improves lung function,
strengthens muscles, lowers resting pulse,
and reduces body fat. Evidence that it has
positive effects on our hearts can be found in
research conducted by a team of investigators
at the University of Glasgow. They tracked
263,450 people for five years who traveled to
work and lived in England, Scotland, or Wales.
The effects of walking and cycling were
measured by comparing them with non-active
modes of transportation. Cycling to work
was associated with solid health benefits.
Commuters who cycled to work had a 41%
lower risk of dying from all causes than people
who drove or took public transport. They also
had a 46% lower risk of developing and a
52% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular
disease, and a 45% lower risk of developing
and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer.
The British Medical Association reports that
cycling just 20 miles a week cuts the risk of
coronary heart disease in half when compared
with staying sedentary. (That equates to three
miles a day, or five miles four times a week.)
The reference to cancer above relates to
colon cancer specifically. In the Glasgow study,
the risk for colon cancer was significantly
reduced for both men and women who
cycled weekly. The risk reduction was greater
than 50% for those who cycled more than
two hours a day compared with those who
cycled less than 30 minutes a day.
A similar study as the one above conducted
by the Copenhagen Center for Prospective
Population Studies was completed with assessments
of health, blood pressure, cholesterol,
6 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | SUMMER 2021
A 2018 study that supports cycling's impact
on our brains and emotions appeared in The
Lancet and noted that bicycling was one of
BMI, and risk factors such as smoking. The
researchers concluded: " Even after adjustment
for other risk factors, including leisure time
physical activity, those who did not cycle
regularly (to work, for example) experienced a
39% higher mortality rate than those who did. "
COGNITION, MENTAL HEALTH,
AND STRESS RELIEF
While our physical bodies can grow stronger
with this kind of aerobic exercise, good things
are also happening in our brains and our
emotional state on a bike. As we pedal, we
increase blood flow throughout the entire
body, including the brain.
Pumping oxygen and nutrients into the
brain is like fertilizer, growing rich capillary
beds in our brain's gray matter and increasing
the brain's capacity to function and repair
itself. Feeding the brain's nerve cells boosts
the creation of brain-derived neurotrophic
factors (BDNFs) that stimulate the formation
of new brain cells. This process helps energize
neural areas such as the hippocampus, which
plays a critical role in memory and spatial
navigation. It also increases neurotransmitter
activity, allowing regions of the brain to
communicate more effectively, improving
cognitive abilities.
Research also shows that cycling improves
our subjective mood, reduces anxiety, allows
us to handle stress more effectively, and raises
self-esteem. That's because this type of exercise
increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine
production in our brains. Scientists have
confirmed this effect by analyzing serotonin
levels in the brains of lab rats as they got
more exercise. Serotonin and dopamine are
not the only feel-good chemicals produced
when we cycle. Our bodies also produce
endorphins, the brain chemicals known as
neurotransmitters, which function to transmit
electrical signals within the nervous system.
Secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of
euphoria, modulation of appetite, release
of sex hormones, and enhancement of the
immune response.

Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021

Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 1
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 2
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 3
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 4
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 5
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 6
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 7
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 8
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 9
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 10
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 11
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 12
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 13
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 14
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 15
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 16
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 17
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 18
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 19
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 20
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 21
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 22
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 23
Lehigh County Health & Medicine Summer 2021 - 24
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Summer21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Spring21
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMFall_Winter20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LehighCountyHealthMedicineSummer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Spring20
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Winter19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Fall19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Summer19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Spring19
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Winter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Fall18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSummer18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSpring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMWinter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMWinter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSummer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSpring2017
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com