Thursday, 10 May 2012
Just to share some of the scientific articles and journal found on web on health benefits of Cycling....
Health benefitsBelow are summarised some of the health benefits of cycling, for the individual and society as a whole. Many of the benefits are not unique to cycling but are a consequence of moderate physical activity. In several cases, however, cycling enables that benefit to be achieved more easily, more widely or more effectively.
This should not be regarded as an authoritative treatment of the subject, relying as it does on the primary sources (Froböse, 2004; Cavill and Davis, 2007) referenced below. Those sources provide much more detailed information and full references.
Immune systemThe immune system serves to protect the body from infections and diverse systemic diseases. Studies show that moderate activity, such as cycling, strengthens the immune system and thus contributes to a healthy life. It can also increase activity against tumour cells, assisting the prevention of related illnesses.
Humans have several hundred muscles, which have to be used regularly in order to maintain fitness and health. A week of inactivity reduces the strength of the muscular system by up to 50% and can harm them long-term. This is particularly true for older people as aging causes muscles to shrink.
During cycling, most of the body's muscles are activated. The leg muscles are responsible for the pedalling movement; the abdomen and back muscles stabilise the body on the cycle and cushion external influences; and the shoulder-arm muscular system supports the body at the handlebars. All this trains and tightens up the muscular system, making it stronger and able to function efficiently.
The skeletal system
This is the body's supporting framework, held together by muscles, tendons and ligaments. Exercise and the accompanying strain on the skeletal system strengthens it and increases mobility. Cycling has a positive effect on bone density and strength. Moreover, a muscular system strengthened by cycling supports and protects the skeletal system.
Spinal diseases and back pains
Posture when cycling is optimum, and the cyclic movement of the legs stimulates muscles in the lower back, where slipped discs are most likely to occur. In this way the spine is strengthened and secured against external stresses. In particular cycling can stimulate the small muscles of the vertebrae which are difficult to affect through other exercise. This can help reduce the likelihood of back pains and other problems.
Cycling is especially good at protecting and feeding cartilages as the support given by the bicycle means that the forces that act as a result of body weight are significantly reduced. The circular movement of cycling assists the transport of energy and other metabolic produces to the cartilages, reducing the likelihood of arthrosis.
Balance and equilibrium
Physical activity serves as a regulator to relieve the stress that is common in current lifestyles. It produces the balance between exertion and relaxation which is so important for the body's inner equilibrium. Cycling is especially ideal for this process, countering stress in two ways: by satisfying the need for activity where people lack movement or exercise; and by balancing out increased strain, particularly mental and emotional.
Cycling has a considerable relaxing effect due to its uniform, cyclic movement which stablises the physical and emotional functions of the body. This counteracts anxiety, depression and other psychological problems. The exercise also controls hormonal balance.
Oxygen and circulation
Oxygen is vital for all biological organisms and the basic prerequisite for the respiratory processes of humans. Respiration is often impaired by adiposity and lack of exercise. Among other things, regular physical activity strengthens the respiratory muscles, which leads to improved ventilation of the lungs and thus has a positive effect on oxygen exchange. Enormous positive health effects can be achieved in energy uptake and processing, through moderate cycling.
Heart and cardiovascular diseases
The heart is one of the most important organisms for a healthy life but can be damaged by inactivity. Cycling is ideal for training the heart to be stronger which results in less stress of the heart. All the risk factors that lead to a heart attack are reduced and regular cycling reduces the likelihood of heart attack by more than 50%.
Body weight, adiposity and obesity
Cycling is ideal for targeting these problems as 70% of the body's weight is borne by the saddle, thus enabling people who could not otherwise move easily to exercise to increase their physical fitness and stimulate fat metabolism. Cycling also contributes to weight reduction by burning energy.
Body fat and hypercholesterol
Cycling can train the organism to use up fat reserves and also changes the cholesterol balance, favouring the protective kind over that which is threatening to health. As body weight reduces and cholesterol is optimised, a protective mechanism is enabled by continuing to cycle. Regular exercise during youth is a prevention factor against excessive body weight in adults.
Moderate cycling can prevent, or at least reduce, high blood pressure and so help to avoid stroke or damage to the organs. Blood pressure is also reduced by a lower heart rate, which is a result of regular cycling.
Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of colon, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers, and possibly lung and endometrial cancers too.
Cycling is especially good for aerobic exercise as the strain on the body is less than in other endurance sports. Improved stamina reduces tiredness and fatigue and promotes a sense of well-being..
Beauty and attractiveness
Beauty and attractiveness are much linked to body shape and condition. Cycling can positively influence these by controlling body weight and muscular form. Skin also benefits from the metabolic processes that are stimulated. In addition, cycling affects physical feeling which influences the perception of others.
In addition to regular moderate exercise, the body benefits from more demanding activity from time to time, which improves fitness and provides greater diversion from everyday problems. Cycling can provide more intensive activity as easily as by pedalling faster or harder.
Quality of life
Physical activity has a direct effect on well-being and health. Cycling has numerous advantages that can directly affect quality of life, as it provides benefits both physically and emotionally. Regular exercise, taken as an integral part of daily life, is needed to permanently enhance the quality of life.
More cycling, especially as an alternative to motor vehicle travel, would bring substantial health benefits for society as a whole due to improved air quality, reduced noise and danger, and greater independence for children.
Andersen LB, Schnohr P, Schroll M, Hein HO, 2000. All-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work. Arch Intern Med 2000 Jun 12;160(11):1621-8.
Cycling towards health and safety. British Medical Association ISBN 0-19-286151-4.1992.
Cavill N, Davis A, 2007. Cycling and Health: what's the evidence?. Cycling England .
Froböse I, 2004. Cycling and health compendium. Wellcom / Selle .
Hillman M, 1992. Cycling and the promotion of health. PTRC 20th Summer Annual Meeting Seminar B, pp 25-36.
I've been asked many times by friends, colleagues...on bicycle set-up..the most suitable one...etc
Many thought that cycling is about going into a bike shop, buy a bike and pedal on!
While it is can be as simple as that...it's good to have some knowledge before u spend the money..
I guess I might just lay down the basics for reference to those who are new into cycling.. experienced bikers comments are welcomed!
The Bicycle AnatomyBasically there are 3 type of mountain bike (MTB) :
1. Hard Tail (HT)
2. Full Suspension (Fulsus)
3. Downhill (DH)
Hard Tail (HT)
Hard Tail bike usually very light (9-12 kg), have only front suspension (80mm -120mm), used in cross country (XC) where lots of tarmac(road), flat and rolling terrains with minor jump (< 1 foot). Price varies according to components used and whether the frame (body) made of aluminium or carbon. Good beginner bike usually in the range of 2k - 4k. HT bikes are the most common bike sold in the bikeshop!
Full Suspension (Fulsus)
Full Suspension bike slightly heavier than HT (11-15kg), have front suspension (120 - 150mm) & rear shock, can be used in both XC and all mountain (AM) type of terrain with small jump (< 4 foot). Fulsus bike offer comfortable and more confident ride...if u can only have one bike...this the one! Price starts from 5k and above...
Downhill (DH) bikes are for hardcore riders...usually very heavy (15 - 25 kg), have long front suspension (150 - 250mm), rear shock combination of air & coil spring, used for descending purpose from top, usually towed/push from bottom as it too heavy to pedal up..but the descending speed is mindless! Price starts from 8k - 30k....Only for the Hardcores!!!
The Right Size
After selecting the type of bike...the most important step is to get the right size of bicycle...
not every bicycle size is suitable for everybody!
While there are a lot of factors involved in determining the right size for the pro riders...
for us the beginners and common cyclist...usually it goes into the seat tube length!
Size 17 (M) usually refers to 17" of the seat tube length...
I recommend using the tools in http://www.ebicycles.com/ website to easily determine the right bike size for us...e.g for 165cm male..with 76cm inseam (inner leg length), your right size is:
The Saddle Height
After getting the right bike size...please adjust your saddle height & position to have optimum set up for cycling...your leg should almost 90% straight to produce maximum pedalling power!!! e.g as belows:
Having a corect tyre pressure is the final set up before u set for pedalling...
Correct pressure will ensure comfortble ride and great control...
Refer to chart below for a quick set up: