Pedal your way to healthy liv­ing

As a pop­u­lar bi­cy­cling race held in France draws to a close, we speak to ex­perts about the health ben­e­fits of the fit­ness op­tion

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Su­san Jose ■ su­san. jose@ hin­dus­tan­times. com WITH IN­PUTS BY DR ANIL BAL­LANI, PHYSI­CIAN,

Cy­cling is con­sid­ered one of the health­i­est habits an in­di­vid­ual can cul­ti­vate, ac­cord­ing to many fit­ness ex­perts. “It is one of the eas­i­est ways to ex­er­cise. One can go cy­cling any­time and any­where, re­gard­less of the weather con­di­tion,” says Dr Anil Bal­lani, con­sult­ing physi­cian. It also proves to be highly func­tional as a pock­et­friendly and a green means of trans­port. With the on­go­ing an­nual cy­cling event, Tour De France, mak­ing head­lines, in­ter­est in cy­cling is at an all­time high. Here, fit­ness spe­cial­ists re­it­er­ate the ad­van­tages of the ac­tiv­ity.

In­door cy­cling ver­sus out­door cy­cling

In a metropoli­tan city, cy­cling also means get­ting out on crowded roads, and deal­ing with the hu­mid­ity, pol­lu­tion and traf­fic. One tends to won­der then whether in­door cy­cling is a bet­ter op­tion. But ap­par­ently it is not. In fact, ex­perts say that in­door cy­cling is only rec­om­mended for peo­ple with prob­lems of im­bal­ance, ver­tigo and vi­sion. “Out­door cy­cling helps one’s co­or­di­na­tion skills much bet­ter than static cy­cling can. Ex­po­sure to sun­light is also good for gen­eral health, as nowa­days, most peo­ple in cities are tested pos­i­tive for Vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency,” says Dr Vivek Al­lah­ba­dia, a con­sult­ing or­tho­pe­dic and joint sur­geon. Stud­ies have shown that wind drag can re­sult in much greater energy de­mands dur­ing 40km of out­door cy­cling than the same dis­tance on a sta­tion­ary bike.

Recre­ational cy­cling

Although recre­ational cy­cling is con­sid­ered ben­e­fi­cial, it is only so when done for at least three hours a week or 32km per week. Open-air cy­cling gives one a sense of well­be­ing. Also, if peo­ple change their cy­cling routes regularly, then it breaks the monotony of their daily rou­tine. “I still re­mem­ber cy­cling to my school as a kid. It con­tin­ues to be one of the most thrilling ac­tiv­i­ties for me. Re­cently, I vis­ited the Lak­shad­weep Is­lands, where I cy­cled at the beach. It was one of the most pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ences of my life. I would def­i­nitely rec­om­mend recre­ational cy­cling to all,” says ac­tor Richa Sony.

Neg­a­tive ef­fects of cy­cling

In rare cases, cy­cling may cause angina. Hence, those with del­i­cate health con­di­tions should al­ways take the ad­vice of their doc­tors be­fore tak­ing up cy­cling. If cy­cling is not done in a grad­ual man­ner, it can worsen arthri­tis.

Cy­cling and di­a­betes

A re­search car­ried out in Fin­land found that peo­ple who cy­cled for more than 30 min­utes per day had a 40% lower risk of de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes. Ex­perts agree that cy­cling helps in con­trol­ling di­a­betes, as an in­tense car­dio-ex­er­cise works like in­sulin when it comes to re­duc­ing blood sugar lev­els. But, if di­a­bet­ics do not com­ple­ment their cy­cling lifestyle with a good diet plan, it can cause havoc.

MANOJ CHADHA, DI­A­BETOL­O­GIST AND ENDO CRINOLOGIST, AND VIVEK AL­LAH­BA­DIA, OR­THO­PE­DIC AND JOINT SUR­GEON

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