| Aug 19, 2016
By: Melissa W. Roti, PhD, FACSM, ACSM-EPC, ACSM-GEI
From August 5 through August 22, the ACSM Sports Performance Blog is featuring a special content series in celebration of the achievements of elite athletes participating in international competition. Be sure to follow the blog as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (acsm1954) and share using #ScienceofSport.
How can I enjoy my bicycle? Let me count the ways. Bicycles are wonderful inventions that allow for invigorating, wind-on-your-skin movement for transportation, exercise and play. It is also wondrous to see in action, as this week’s competition provides a wonderful opportunity to watch the various cycling events with different types of bikes and riding. Cycling events include road, mountain, BMX and track. Most are familiar with road and mountain biking, as they are popular activities for many. BMX and track racing are held on a dirt track or wooden/cement track, respectively, and are very fast-paced races. BMX is a form of off-road racing similar to motocross. Track cycling for both men and women has been around since the late 1800s. Cycling is also part of the triathlon.
You do not need to be a racer to enjoy the benefits and joys of cycling, and there are many kinds of bikes from which to choose. You can learn to ride a bike at any age or ability. In 1895, 53-year-old Frances Willard learned to ride her bicycle, Gladys, calling it her “harbinger of health and happiness.” Cycling is good for your physical health as well as the health of your wallet and the environment, especially when used as transportation for commuting or local errands. One less car means fewer carbon emissions; you are burning calories and saving money on gas and health care expenses, too. ACSM’s global health initiative, ActivEarth, promotes active transportation to address the dual health issues of physical inactivity and climate change. There is a cultural shift beginning here in the US with many major cities creating more cycling friendly infrastructures with protected bike lanes and bike share programs. Take advantage of these opportunities. I challenge you to take one trip by bike this month (wearing a helmet, of course). Tune in to the cycling events today for inspiration and remember the benefits for your personal, financial and environmental health for added motivation (“Carbon, Calories & Cash”). Most of us aren’t as fast or strong as elite cyclists, but we can all contribute to a healthier and happier world.
To learn more about ACSM’s healthy environment initiative, go to www.ActivEarth.org
Melissa W. Roti, PhD, FACSM, ACSM-EPC, ACSM-GEI is a professor and director of the Exercise Science Program in the department of movement science at Westfield State University, Westfield, Mass.