The health benefits of cycling

Regular physical activity is extremely important for our health. In particular, it can protect you from serious diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes and arthritis. Riding your bicycle regularly is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of health problems cyclephotoassociated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Cycling is a healthy, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It is also fun, cheap and good for the environment.

Cycling is:

  • Low impact – it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.
  • A good muscle workout – cycling uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal.
  • Easy – unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skill. Most people know how to ride a bike and, once you learn, you don’t forget.
  • Good for strength and stamina – cycling increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness.
  • As intense as you want – cycling can be done at very low intensity to begin with, if recovering from injury or illness, but can be built up to a demanding physical workout.
  • A fun way to get fit – the adventure and buzz you get from coasting down hills and being outdoors means you are more likely to continue to cycle regularly, compared to other physical activities that keep you indoors or require special times or places.
  • Time-efficient – as a mode of transport, cycling replaces sedentary (sitting) time spent driving motor vehicles or using trams, trains or buses with healthy exercise.

And cycling regularly has several health benefits such as:

  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • improved joint mobility
  • decreased stress levels
  • improved posture and coordination
  • strengthened bones
  • decreased body fat levels
  • prevention or management of disease
  • reduced anxiety and depression.

Riding to work is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine. It only takes two to four hours a week to achieve a general improvement to your health.

As well as the many health benefits of cycling, there are also several economical, environmental, social and mental well-being benefits of regularly riding your bike.

Information retrieved from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/cycling-health-benefits


The Road to an Active Lifestyle

road21

We all know that it can be hard to find the motivation to get up and get active, especially when emerging from a dark and cool winter. It’s difficult to keep yourself going, and we’re all great with coming up with reasons not to be active.  But then we remember the many benefits that being regularly active brings, from the obvious health ones to having more energy and feeling more positive, and we want to get going! So where to from here?

1. Start small – Throwing yourself in the deep end often results in a loss of interest, so start by doing something small and light. Keep the momentum going and gradually add a little bit more time or intensity to the activity.

2. Do bite-size sessions – Break a large session up into a few smaller sessions.

3. Variety is key – Don’t let yourself get bored. Whatever activity you are doing, make sure you vary the locations, distances and terrains where possible to maintain interest.

4. Be flexible – People who adjust their exercise routine to accommodate for their lifestyle are more likely to keep exercising than those who don’t. Avoid an all-or-nothing mentality – making it work for you will help you achieve your goals faster.

5. Get active together – There is no better motivator than exercising with friends, family or a group. Having support and encouragement to get out there when you least feel like it can make all the difference. Find someone who shares your goals, then encourage each other and enjoy your activities together.

6. Be kind to yourself – It is important that you take care of your joints and muscles as best you can to prevent injury. Be sure to stretch and warm up sufficiently, take rest days regularly to give yourself a chance to heal and treat yourself to frequent massages to soothe away any aches and pains. This will all help you to keep in top shape and enjoy your exercise for longer.

7. Reward yourself – When you reach a milestone in your new plan, treat yourself to something that is important to you.

8. Set an achievable goal – Your motivation will be much easier to maintain if you set a goal for yourself that is both achievable and rewarding. Make sure it really matters to you and working towards it will become so much easier.

Follow these 8 simple steps and begin your journey towards a healthy and active lifestyle.

Source: http://beachseries.co.nz/top-tips-for-getting-active-after-the-winter-hibernation/


Is coffee doing more harm than good?

Flat White Coffee

There is often much talk about whether coffee consumption is beneficial to our health or whether it has a negative impact on our body. That morning wake-up coffee is enjoyed by thousands of Australians every day, but many of us don’t really know the effect that it is having on our body. Previous studies have found conflicting evidence on the impact of coffee on health, with some evidence suggesting that it has beneficial effects on the immune system and cognitive performance, and others suggesting it can raise blood pressure and alter insulin activity.

However, recent studies suggest that people under the age of 55 who drink an average of four cups of coffee a day are at a 56% greater risk of death from all causes. This may be due to heavy coffee consumption influencing other unhealthy behaviours, such as going to sleep late and having a poor diet. This study also found that those who drank larger amounts of coffee were more likely to smoke and had less healthy lungs and hearts. 

Because drinking coffee forms a large part of modern living in our society, it’s easy to lose track of how much we are actually consuming. Drinking coffee in moderation, like most other things, can be beneficial to our health, however drinking too much can have a greater impact on our health than we may realise. 

 

Image and Source:  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/aug/15/coffee-drinkers-risk-death-rate


Go Bananas!

img-banner-4

It’s simple – Smart Bananas are smart bananas. Not only are they environmentally smart, they are also energy, size and health smart. Grown in North Queensland, the warm and wet climate provides the most ideal conditions for these bananas to grow.

The family-run Smart Banana industry ensures that the trees and environment are both balanced and undamaged in order for the sweetest and perfect sized bananas to be produced. All bananas are hand selected and ideally presented in nature’s clean, hygienic and biodegradable packs which actually use less plastic packaging than other bananas sold at stores and supermarkets, making them a friendlier and more sustainable product.

These Smart Bananas are sold in various markets around Australia, but more excitingly in Australia’s first fresh banana vending machine! They are nature’s perfect health food, being both a natural source of fibre and absolutely fat free, so grab one from the new and exciting vending machine located in Post Office Square.

For more information about Smart Bananas, visit their website www.smartbanana.com.au

Source and Image: www.smartbanana.com.au


The Importance of Zzz’s

Sleeping_Man_Web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent studies have shown that not getting those 6-8 hours of sleep that our body needs each night can lead to serious health implications – even losing just one single night’s sleep can have an immediate effect on the body. Extensive research has demonstrated that a lack of shut-eye and disrupted sleeping patterns can suppress the immune function and increase the chances of heart attacks and potentially fatal cardiovascular disorders. Various other negative factors have been associated with sleep deprivation, including evidence that it could physically shrink the size of your brain. Other factors include:

  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Visual and auditory delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Weight loss
  • Tissue-damaging inflammation
  • Sugary and fatty food cravings
  • Risky decision-making
  • Changes in gene activity

Therefore the importance of a good night’s sleep is crystal clear – ensure those 6-8 hours of Zzz’s are acquired each night and your body will without a doubt thank you for it.

 

Image: http://www.sprypub.com/tag/dr-moyads-mens-health-newsletter/

Source: http://news.discovery.com/human/health/sleep-loss-deprivation-health-effect-20130624.htm

 

 


NEED SOMETHING TO HELP PUSH THOSE PEDALS?

Recognise this face? This is SJ, an active Cycle2City member and also one of Australia’s leading Nutritionists, Holistic Health Practitioners and Yoga Teachers. SJ is co-founder of A Conscious Life, a Health and Wellness business transforming lives one mouthful at a time! 

SJ Culley Nutrition Tips

As a commuter cyclist SJ knows how important it is to get the right nutrition to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Today she shares with us one of her favourite recipes for a simple snack that helps her pedal through that peak hour traffic!

SJ’s Scrumptious Pumpkin Protein Squares

I like to have these as a snack (particularly before/after a ride or workout) however; I have been known to eat them for breakfast if I am in a hurry! They also happen to be very popular with ‘little people’ who are oblivious to there being any kind of vegetable in them at all (see ‘Things to note’ below – I throw zucchini in them some times) with the bonus of absolutely no preservatives and being a low glycaemic snack they will keep you feeling fuller for longer.  When it is warm, make sure you store them in the fridge.

SJ Culley slice

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

 

Wet Ingredients

  • 450g Steamed Organic Pumpkin
    100g of Organic Rice Malt Syrup
    125ml Almond Milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • Optional Ingredients: ¼ C/30g Walnuts (roughly chopped) – this adds another ~200 calories per 24 square

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and lightly spray a baking dish (approximately 32 x 24 x 6cm in size) with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.  Sift in the baking powder and soda. Create a ‘well’ in the centre and set aside.
  3. Place all the wet ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the ‘well’ of the dry ingredients and gently fold the two together until a batter forms and you have no dry ingredients left at the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Evenly spread the mixture in to the baking dish (Optional: Gently press Walnuts in to the batter) and place in the oven.  Set your timer for 35 minutes.
  6. Once cooked, use a knife or skewer to check that it comes out clean.  This indicates that it is cooked all the way through.
  7. Once removed from the oven, slide a knife around the outside of the baking dish and cover with a clean tea towel to allow it cool completely before cutting (this is the hard part!).
  8. Cut evenly in to 24 squares. Taste test a few and store the rest in an air tight container.

 

Things to note…

  • Butternut pumpkin and Sunwarrior Protein Powder are my favourites but any kind will do!
  • On the first attempt, check at 30 minutes as cooking time will vary depending on the type of oven and baking dish you use.
  • If you forget to sift the rising agents (i.e. the baking soda and powder) make sure you mix them in very thoroughly; crushing any lumps otherwise you might bite in to a clump! Bleh!
  • When combining the wet and dry ingredients fold the batter gently, over mixing will result in very flat squares!
  • Be aware that Organic Ground Ginger is much stronger in taste (and colour) so don’t be too heavy handed with this, stick to ~2 tsp.
  • Some times I make a variation and fold shredded Zucchini in to the mixture.  If you want to try this, omit 1/3-1/2 C of the milk and leave it in the oven for a little bit longer, ~5 minutes.

 

Nutritional Information

Calories: 64 (~56 without Walnuts) per square
Kilojoules: 269
Fat: 1.9g
Protein: 4.4g
Carbohydrates: 8g
Sugar: 1.4g

 

 

Enjoy!

signature

To learn more about A Conscious Life and the services they offer check them out here:

conscious life tag