The bicycle is about to turn 200 years old. Cycling provides great benefits to bikers. Doctor Stefano Aglieri, Supervisor of Cardio-respiratory Rehabilitation at Humanitas, spoke about this in an interview for Radio 24’s program “Heart and money”.
“There is much scientific evidence in favour of physical exercise with a bike. In fact, it is an excellent way to help your cardiovascular system, contributing to the prevention of modern illnesses such as heart strokes and ictuses.
From this point of view, physical activities such as running, walking and Nordic walking are just as good, if not superior. Moreover, cardiopathic patients are recommended to go biking after a heart surgery or heart stroke. This way they can restore and enhance their muscles and their cardiovascular system”, Doctor Aglieri points out.
How much Should you Pedal to make the Effort Worthwhile?
“Riding a bicycle at 10 km per hour is relaxing, but it does not help your muscles. In fact, you only are training if you stimulate your body in a certain way. You have to ride your bike for a few miles and exerting yourself. The ideal time is more or less for 30-45 minutes to an hour per day.
Covering a distance of one kilometre per day is good for your health but it is not really an exercise. However, covering ten kilometres a day is a good start to exercise in the right way”, the specialist points out.
Benefits and Counterindications
“Cycling is a sport that even elderly people practice at an amatorial or agonistic level. It is a kind of physical activity that poses no threat to them. However, there are people that walk with some effort or have knee arthritis, but they can nevertheless pedal safely and well.
As we said before, this activity is also good for those who suffer from crippling diseases that make it impossible to perform other activities (for example, cardiopathic people).
On the contrary, you should pay attention if you suffer from low back pain. In this case, go to your doctor before starting cycling, because this activity may actually damage your back. However, if you have chronic back pain you may benefit from cycling, but you should go to your doctor first.
Also, people suffering from venous insufficiency and varices should pay attention and consult their doctor (or specialist) first, because cycling requires a great effort from the legs”, Doctor Aglieri suggests.