The viral menace has compelled the entire human race to be locked down forcing us into social distancing with no social gatherings, no health clubs, no swimming pools, no community participation and no sporting activities. In such a dark time, cycling has come in handy as a healthy exercise and has kept rolling the wheel of life and health. During this COVID pandemic, this age-old mode of transport and a fun activity has proved to be the biggest blessing for Delhiites, if done properly with all COVID-safety-protocols in place.
Mask is a must during cycling also but rest of the COVID restrictions are easily adaptable for this form of exercise. As cycling is an individual activity, there is obviously no social crowding. It is done in open sun-exposed spaces, therefore closed infected surroundings are totally ruled out. During this time when gymnasiums, health clubs and swimming pools are closed due to COVID restrictions, cycling is helping enthusiasts keep fit and fight boredom. Since the roads are generally empty of the routine hustle and bustle of busy traffic and life is mostly arrested withing the four walls, cycling has slowly become the most popular, safe and favourite past time of most people.
Over the last few years, Delhi-NCR has also experienced drastic air-pollution and environmentalists have been trying to get the attention back to cycles as a safe and non-polluting mode of transport. Covid has almost proved to be a turning point bringing back the glamour of cycling. Early morning cycling is now trending as a healthy habit to keep fit. Pedaling to a clean and green surrounding on a cycle has its own advantages over gymming which can get quite monotonous considering that it confines people to a closed, crowded and cramped space.
Another advantage of cycling is that it doesn’t involve huge financial investment or training. There are a variety of cycles available that suit everyone’s pocket offering same health benefits across models. With no air-pollution, no noise pollution and being safe and affordable, cycling has almost become a new age fashion trend.
A holistic exercise, exercising our entire body and with immense benefits to the lungs, cycling is the perfect antidote for all our lifestyle diseases in the era we live in. Sedentary lifestyle, fast food / junk food, working in shifts and long working hours have all led to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, poor sleep, cardiac diseases and even cancer. Cycling is the one stop shop cure for all these diseases and even WHO has accepted that cycling helps reduce risk of cancer, heart diseases and diabetes. It improves muscle strength, general well-being, quality of sleep and also mental health.
Since its invention, a bicycle had been a mode of transport, recreation, exercise, exploration and sport. In fact, it was the most important mode of transport in the pre-independence era and even after. However, over a period of time, with the development of faster commutes and larger vehicles, the humble cycle had lost its glory and was mostly considered only for the poor. Now is the time to go back to the benefits of cycling, so fit it into your daily schedule and reap the enormous benefits.
By Dr Sharad Joshi, Principal Consultant, Pulmonology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali