During high school, I had tried to join the track and field team. Not only would it have given me an after school activity with new friends and a passion, but I would have had an opportunity to exercise every day.
One day while running, I felt a strange pain in my knee. It wasn’t like the muscle cramps I had experienced before in my legs and it was incredibly sharp. When I told the coach, his eyes widened and he had told me immediately to go home and go to the doctor.
The very next day I did, and I found out that what I was experiencing was the precursor to Osgood-Schlatter disease, the development of a bump on the kneecap that required between half a year and two years to heal. My doctor had explained to me that the reason why I was especially at risk of it was that I have flat feet, which even with the proper equipment would have a high risk of putting stress on my knees. I was forced to quit the track team and was devastated that I most likely wouldn’t be able to do long-distance running since it was bound to put stress on my knees regardless.
But there was an alternative: biking, an activity that has made me enjoy the breeze in my hair and the high speeds I can go. And in this article, I am going to list 4 reasons why biking is a good alternative to running as a form of exercise.
Biking is better for chronic conditions
Biking is much less stressful for those suffering from chronic conditions. The free motion of cycling means that there is less impact on the joints, including the hips and feet and especially the knees. Furthemore, the movement of cycling lubricates the joints, meaning that there is less of a chance of pain and stiffness to begin with. It also helps to both reduce lower back pain and not exacerbate it.
It is good exercise
Cycling, like running, is also a form of cardiovascular exercise. This means that it will help the heart pump blood more efficiently and therefore decrease the risk of developing heart disease. Although running burns more calories due to engaging more muscles, biking is something that can be done for a longer amount of time due to its lower amounts of stress on the body and therefore also provide a high-calorie burn. This makes it helpful in losing weight. Lastly, it helps build leg muscles due to the resistance of pushing the pedals on the bike.
There are social benefits
Biking provides community benefits by having a small road footprint and serving as a form of transportation to many who may need it. Additionally, biking is accessible to a wider range of people and it tends to be affordable, so it allows people to be together more often and build relationships. Plus, there are more likely to be social encounters, facilitating social cohesion.
Biking is environmentally friendly
Biking, in comparison to cars and other forms of vehicular transportation, releases no carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, making it pollution-free. It also takes up much less space on the street than cars, creating room for more pedestrians and greenspace and therefore more oxygen into the air and more beauty in urban life.
One of the most amazing features of the Bronx River is its 25-mile bike-friendly Bronx River Greenway. With both pedestrian and bike traffic, it serves as a wide space for everyone to appreciate. I recommend everyone to try biking on it but make sure to follow proper safety measures that can be accessed by clicking here.