New Delhi: A cycler knows that there is no boundary to what you cannot achieve on a bike. Choose your destination and ride on. Today is a day marked as World Bicycle Day. This day is important as cycling has incredible health benefits. It fulfils all our necessities as it leads to a healthier lifestyle as well as saves money. What more is required if we get all these things in one go? All these aspects concurrently lead to the favour of the environment.
Anup Sharma, 41, a resident of Mahavir Enclave who has been cycling for the past two years said, “Well personally cycling helped me a lot during the Covid time. I have been asthmatic since childhood because more than 55 per cent of my lungs were damaged when I got it checked 6 years back. For me, cycling is very important. I have to maintain the remaining part of my lungs and cardio is the only way to do that. Though I'm very regular in gyming and only weights, cardio in the gym is something that never attracted me.”
“Running on the treadmill on the stationary bike was all boring. Then came this cycling which was a forced workout due to covid's first wave as the gym got closed. So as I said, it started as a forced workout then slowly I started enjoying it and it became a hobby and now it's kinda passion for me as it became a part of the routine. I started cycling in May '20 and for few months I was doing it regularly on daily basis then I got infected with covid in October last year (1st wave of Covid), being an asthmatic with weak lungs it was scary for me but the only thing which I think made me recover from covid was the stamina I gained through cycling. It made my lungs stronger. Apart from my personal experience, I feel cycling is the best cardio workout one can opt for with the added advantage of exploring the city,” he said.
Anup also created a group on WhatsApp named Power Pedallers which has 239 members. He started the group with four of his friends in which two of them never used to cycle but Anup encouraged them to buy a cycle and join him for rides. They initially rode in Dwarka but later rode more places outside Dwarka. Through the Facebook post, other cyclers also joined them in their rides. Later they created this group on WhatsApp and now from a forced workout, it became a fun group where people started encouraging other people to ride. They say it is like a big family who leaves all worries behind when riding together.
Neha Raizada, 39, blogger, cyclist and runner said, “I started cycling as a passion around 5 months ago. It somehow pumped the energy in me which is needed to keep oneself mentally and physically healthy. In times when there is a panic, emergencies in family and friends, cycling has helped me to keep calm, composed and positive while at the same time helped in keeping a healthy body. I wish people would be more inclined towards physical activities rather than glueing themselves to digital devices. It is indeed a detox for both mind and body.”
Abhilash, 33, a business analyst said, “I have always been an active person throughout my life. From running to cycling to hiking, I am always into those kinds of activities. I actively started cycling in July 2020 when I gifted myself an MTB. Slowly I started exploring Delhi a bit by bit along with some like-minded checking out many underrated places which I didn't even know existed before this lockdown. It made me fall in love with both cycling and Delhi itself. Covid hit me during mid-April 2021, when the second wave was at its peak and finding a hospital bed was next to impossible. In addition to that, my treatment also got delayed by one week as I was getting negative RTPCR results despite all Covid symptoms. Finally, it was the HRCT scan that confirmed the lung infection as well as Covid. I believe it was the running and cycling which helped my lungs during the first week when my symptoms just seemed to get worse and worse, however, the lung infection was thankfully mild.”
Neeraj Prabhakar, HR leader with an MNC organisation, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives in many ways. While the number of avenues of health and fitness has plummeted during lockdown with restrictions on gym and sports activities, cycling has come as an alternative option to stay tuned to fitness goals. Cycling can ease any feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. When we are focusing on the road while we are cycling, it helps us improve concentration and mindfulness. This may help take your focus away from the mental chatter of your day. If you find yourself feeling sluggish, you may want to get on the saddle for at least 45 minutes. Exercise releases endorphins, which in turn help you feel better while lowering stress levels. Cycling for me is a way of staying sane while we are continuously bombarded with negative news 24x7. I think it's like a meditation on wheels which not only allows me to keep my weight in check but also an activity on which I can bond with my both kids. It is noticed when you start your day with a healthy activity like cycling which boosts blood circulation – it allows you to start your day with a sense of accomplishment. In such cases, people are observed to feel more inclined to make healthy, positive choices as the day progresses.”
Puneet Kumar, 49, a resident of Pune, working as an Enterprise Sales leader in the ICT services domain said that he learnt cycling during his childhood and has been actively cycling for the last 10 years. He also said that he is no pro by any means but cycling every day is something he enjoys. His passion for cycling is such that he maintains two cycles - one each at Pune and the second Mumbai home. He said, “I prefer morning timing during Covid times as I don’t have to get ready and go to the office. I get plenty of free time in the morning. Evening time I go for a walk. Before Covid times I used to go cycling at night after my dinner. Even at a recreational pace, cycling sparks metabolic and physiological changes that turn into a highly efficient fat and carbohydrate burner all day long. Cycling is a cardiovascular activity, so it makes the heart stronger and healthier. It also induces good sleep at the end of the day. Cycling lifts spirits – nearly immediately. It burns off the excess adrenaline I’ve built up during meetings with the team members or boss and the hassles of the day. Money can’t buy happiness but everyone can buy a cycle as it is affordable and it is close to happiness. It is environment friendly – all ass, no gas – so I am sure people will get inspired to ride more and inspire many more.” He ended his note by saying, “Keep calm, ride on. Cycling is an environment friendly, inexpensive way of staying fit and exploring nearby places.”
Dr Mudassar Amin, an MBBS said, “For a healthy lung, we need to do some exercises. The lung ventilation capacity is higher in cyclists, swimmers in comparison to a person who's not into exercise. With cycling, there is low risk of hypertension, controlled blood sugar, low risk of obesity and higher lung ventilation. If we see who are into daily exercises like walking, swimming, cycling etc, they have much lesser rate of getting respiratory diseases. 150-200 minutes weekly can improve the lung functions of any person. Cycling is a quality form of social distancing.” He also mentioned, “These are all pre covid precautions or prevention methods. We don't recommend post-Covid any exercise which is going to cause physical exertion. That would lead to a poor condition of the lung.”