Your Mode of Transportation Affects Your Health and Your Safety

By Patrick George

Recently I wrote concerning bicycling and the safety that needs to be exercised when engaging in that activity. However, as has been shown by various universities, bicycling can improve your health and mental outlook on life.

Exposure to the sun actually increases happiness. We seem to recognize this when we go outside for breaks or walk down the street for lunch. Bicycling to work or leaving the roof down for the drive might be a healthy move. This has been recognized by the Stanford University School of Medicine. Serotonin levels in our body are boosted by exposure to sunlight and can make you feel happy. This also potentially raises Vitamin D levels which in turn plays a role in your happiness. Obviously, you need to protect against over-exposure from the sun or dehydration. A good quality sun screen, along with drinking plenty of fluids should do the trick.

Another benefit of riding a bicycle is the fact that studies have shown that people who ride their bikes to work actually sleep better at night. Of course, it stands to reason that people who get more physical activity will sleep better. This study was shown by the Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Center. Sun exposure and being outdoors regulates your body and helps reduce stress and the hormones that go with it. It’s hard to imagine anyone in this day and age who does not need to reduce their stress levels and increase their ability to sleep. If you can’t ride a bicycle to work, perhaps find an outdoor activity that you can engage in such as walking your pet to the park, jogging, or bicycling through the neighborhood. All of these moderate activities will help.

Finally, exercise is good for your heart. Our busy lives often seem to give us excuses not to exercise. However, the consequences of not exercising can be severe. Not only does it keep us from having healthy hearts and sleeping well, it leads to weight gain and a more unhappy, unhealthy lifestyle. One study suggested that regular bicycling could cut heart disease risk by nearly 50%. It is important not to simply conclude that by riding a bicycle your heart disease risk will reduce by 50%. Rather, exercise is an important part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle just as eating right and engaging in other healthy activities. Of course, this includes getting ample sleep.

In short, it is important to exercise, eat right, sleep well, and drink plenty of fluids. These things will lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle.


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