Yacin Zawam of Northwest Arkansas is a physician and avid cyclist. In the following article, Yacin Zawam discusses how bicycling initiatives are promoting health, wellbeing, and sustainability.
Biking, an exercise enjoyed by people of all ages, has continued to remain a popular hobby. In a busy society run by cars, trains, and buses, biking has risen as an alternative source of transportation in its autonomous commute.
As citizens and cities alike become more environmentally conscious, biking has also proven to be a sustainable alternative to driving. Below, a discussion of the health benefits of biking as well as popular ways cities are promoting the activity to their residents.
Yacin Zawam Explains the Health Benefits
Cycling has many benefits to an individual’s mental and physical health, such as:
Decrease Chances of Cardiovascular Disease
Yacin Zawam of Northwest Arkansas explains that biking regularly exercises the lungs and heart. In doing so, the lungs work harder, which requires cyclists to take deeper breaths and increase their oxygen intake. This also helps improve heart muscles, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like strokes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks.
Assists with Weight Management
Riding a bike can help people manage their body weight. It not only works the leg muscles but increases one’s metabolism rate, which can help the body burn more calories and fat. Researchers found a 155-pound person can burn 298 calories in just thirty minutes if they bike at a moderate speed of 12 to 13.9 miles per hour.
Yacin Zawam of Northwest Arkansas also says that unlike other exercises, biking can be easily incorporated into a person’s everyday life, which can be a key motivator in helping people exercise. For example, try to replace a short-distance drive with a bike ride to get to the destination.
Improves Mental Health
Biking also has benefits for mental health. During the exercise, endorphins are released in the body which can help promote positive thoughts and lower stress. This can decrease feelings of depression and anxiety.
Exercises the Brain
Yacin Zawam of Northwest Arkansas notes that just like any other muscle in the body, the brain needs to be trained. Cycling provides great exercise for the brain as well, which can help improve the cognitive function and slow down mental decline as we age.
When bicycling, the brain receives new supplies of nutrients and oxygen which increases blood flow. This allows for increased protein production that is needed to help create brain cells, which helps improve the mind’s overall performance.
Common Sustainable Cycling Initiatives
To lower greenhouse gas emissions, many cities are beginning to promote sustainable cycling initiatives to reduce gas-fueled vehicles on the road. Below are some common initiatives cities have adopted:
Promoting Bike Lanes and Safe Cycling
Yacin Zawam of Northwest Arkansas says that in cities across the globe, bike lanes have been incorporated onto roads. These bike-friendly lanes are carefully constructed by city planners to design spaces that are safe and efficient for cyclists. These lanes can span several miles and even across different cities, allowing cyclists to go long distances for their rides.
Additionally, cities are supporting cyclists by providing extra safety guards for them. In streets where there is heavy traffic, physical segregation around bike lanes may be needed to protect cyclists from oncoming traffic. These barriers are best if they are made of heavy-duty plastic or rubber, as they provide less of a safety hazard in case of a crash.
Bike-specific traffic lights are also a new introduction in heavily trafficked areas. Some of these bike traffic lights give priority to bikers to move first, which can help reduce the number of crashes related to car blind spot turns.
Rise in Bike-Sharing System
Yacin Zawam of Northwest Arkansas also notes that in addition to bike lanes, many cities have also adopted a bike-sharing system. This provides bike access to city dwellers as well as an alternative source of transportation.
Bike-sharing systems are quite popular in cities and their residents, with an estimated number of users expected to be one billion by 2027. With the ease of access, worry-free parking, and cost-efficient transportation, more people are reaping the benefits of bike-share programs.
Increase Bike Education
Yacin Zawam of Northwest Arkansas reports that in cities across the U.S., pop-up workshops promoting cycling are becoming more popular as well. These pop-up workshops may include giveaways and free sizing of helmets as well as providing free bike maintenance services.
These workshops are great for educating cyclists on bike-safe practices.
Biking is a fun, easy exercise that has both personal health and environmental benefits. With cities promoting this beneficial activity as a sustainable travel alternative, more people can hit the road for a safer and greener ride.