Why cycling can boost your health during times of crisis

  • Riding a bike proven to strengthen the immune system to fight infections
  • Insync Bikes pledges to support independent bike dealers during coronavirus outbreak
  • Olympian Shanaze Reade shares mental health benefit as she urges riders to saddle up 

With the effects of the coronavirus being felt around the globe, we’re living in difficult and uncertain times. It’s during such unprecedented challenges as these that our physical and mental health becomes more important than ever.

Though it may be tempting to slow down your usual exercise regime for now, it is these routines that will keep us all going during this period of social distancing and, for some, self isolation.

Insync Bikes will be doing all it can to support public health through the crisis and that’s why we are urging people to stay physically active.

Improving fitness will have a knock-on effect on the immune system, leaving you better placed to fight infections such as flu.

We’re also backing our network of independent bike dealers during these testing times by doing all we can to help them survive. We’ve pledged to support any entrepreneurial initiatives they come up with and we’re looking to support even more IBDs going forward.

Riding bikes offers a “unique solution”

Currently government guidance on social distancing still suggests we can go outdoors, as long as we stay two metres from others. Exercising regularly, along with eating healthily, is recommended and cycling is the perfect way to follow this advice. The chief executive of British Cycling, Julie Harrington, has written to health secretary Matt Hancock to encourage the government to add cycling to its recommended activities during the current coronavirus outbreak. In a statement published on March 19, she said: “Riding bicycles offers us a unique solution to several of the key challenges facing us. It is a safe form of local transport and gentle recreation, keeping us the required distance from others, while at the same time strengthening our immune systems and bolstering our mental health.”

Benefits to the immune system

Saddling up for a ride has a number of benefits for physical health, including increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility and improved joint mobility. Whether it’s a short ride for ten minutes around the block or a lengthier trek on two wheels, there are advantages to be had from keeping the body moving and the blood flowing while you pedal.

A 2018 study of 125 long-distance cyclists, many in their 80s, co-authored by Prof Norman Lazarus of King’s College London and Prof Janet Lord of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, found they had the immune systems of 20-year-olds. They concluded that being physically active in old age will help people respond better to vaccines and, therefore, be better protected against infections such as flu.

Exercise as stress relief

Insync brand ambassador and Olympian Shanaze Reade says she rarely falls ill after spending most of her life riding, as a BMX racer and track cyclist. Equally, cycling improves her mental health, she says, which is all important in such challenging times.

“Everyone’s thoughts and feelings are going at a million miles an hour at the moment, so getting out and doing some exercise is important to boost mental health,” says Shanaze. “Whenever anyone is going through a stressful situation, my biggest piece of advice has always been to exercise, because it’s the best thing you can do for yourself and I think this is going to be essential during the coronavirus pandemic.”

While keeping up-to-date with government advice, riders of all ages can still enjoy the body and mind benefits of cycling. It may be that you choose less congested times to get out on the roads or select routes that are quieter so that you avoid large groups of people, but there are still opportunities to keep yourself active.

Keep things normal

Shanaze says: “Being mindful of getting a bit of fresh air as often as possible can help clear your mind and keep things as normal as possible. Find places you can go as a family with the kids, whether it’s just getting out on the street or on a trail in the countryside, and keep it fun. You’ll all feel the benefits to your physical health and your mental health, too.”

With gyms likely to be places on the recommended avoid list in the coming weeks, exercise bikes won’t always be an option, but there are other means of cycling indoors. Shanaze suggests a turbo trainer, which enables you to turn your usual road or mountain bike into an exercise bike, could be a good option for those who are self-isolating.

Standing by our dealers and our customers

Insync’s network of more than 400 independent bike dealers offers a range of affordable bikes for families and other riders, including our Coyote range, available at a price point of £224.99 to £249.99, and our Lectro e-bikes which range from £999 to £1199. To offer further support, Insync is backing Local Bike Shop Day in celebration of independent stores on Saturday May 2, which aims to celebrate the community and culture that is independent bike shops, giving them a chance to show what makes their offering stand out. In times of crisis, we’re pledging to do all we can for our customers and the dealers we work with.

Whatever you choose, there are plenty of options for all riders when it comes to staying fit, healthy and coping during the crisis. And, by staying fit, you’ll be more than ready for an enjoyable summer of cycling when restrictions are hopefully lifted.

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