After a recent article from the BBC(link). Although that article has had some backlash - I still think that there is so much we can do on a individual basis to help the planet with small changes. One of my goals for this academic year at university was to cycle more. As you know, I live a healthy and active lifestyle. I want to incorporate fitness into everyday practises, through the choices I make. Not only have I taken towards a healthy lifestyle for myself, I have also found myself caring more about the planet and sustainable living choices that impact not only myself but environmental factors.
I am lucky that my university is only a 4 mile cycle and relatively flat (until the biggest hill climb at the very end!). So I decided to get a bike, helmet and a secure lock and cycle to university. I honestly decided to do this mainly because it was a quicker mode of transport than the bus. I could go when I wanted to (I hate waiting for buses on their schedule) and it was another way to get in some more exercise. I found that after a month of cycling I have gained so much more than I thought I would.
Here's what my cycle commute has done for me...
1. Give me space away from my phone.
I am a classic case of being hooked on my phone 24/7. As someone who is pretty active on social media (almost too active). I never really switch off from my phone. It is something I am trying to get better at but cycling has made it impossible for to be on my phone for at least an 1 hour of my day. YOU CAN'T PHYSICALLY RIDE AND BE ON YOUR PHONE. YOU JUST CAN'T! Therefore it actually gives me a chance to have me time and reflect without distractions. I didn't even realise it was a nice 'forced' break from my phone until I realised I had message come through but physically couldn't touch my phone (I've tried to multitask on a phone and it doesn't up well!).
2. It's saving the planet
As I said earlier on, after all the pollution that gets fuelled into the air, it makes me feel positive that I am not negatively effecting anything whilst I ride. I am not harming anyone or anything. Yet it means I can still travel around and get places. Small changes from using the bus everyday maybe twice or 3 times a day to using the bus once or twice a week is such a significant difference on a individual basis (although I know to make an actual real difference we need far more people to change their public transport habits). But it's a great place to start.
3. Fixing problems
For 2x 30 minutes of my day (or more sometimes) I have to listen to my own thoughts. It's something I don't really do a lot (I try and practise mindfulness when I can) however during my cycle ride, I have to listen to me. For some reason, maybe the setting I ride in, the people I see, the mood I am in. It just makes me really think. THINKING. I never really think. Not without distractions or other influxes around. I rarely get to share m own thoughts with myself. I've fixed a couple problems (with some great solutions) just by allowing my brain to completely let go of everything else. The same goes for any exercise (walking or running) but I found I most listen to my thoughts when I have a breeze in my hair, travelling quickly and peddling to my own rhythm.
4. A form of training to aid my other sports.
As you know, I am a massive fan of running and general cardio. It's my preferred style and I love it! I found that after progressing my cycling, I became a lot quicker, stronger and could cycle in higher gears at bigger inclines which has helped with my running, swimming and plyometric workouts! Sometimes switching a different form of exercise can assist really well with your main ones. I didn't think cycling would help so much, but it really has.
Hopefully you can see the massive benefits to cycling. Even if you cycle once a week, thats one less car or bus or train joinery which not only makes a big environmental difference but can make a big difference for yourself.
Simply Martha x