Ewan Hamnett, a retired Birmingham GP and a board member for ukactive, tells us why he thinks cycling can benefit residents in Birmingham and Solihull.
For a journey, all you need is a reason and a map.
With Birmingham now offering two car-free cycle highways, over 50km of resurfaced canal towpaths and a wealth of green bike routes, now is as good a time as any to start cycling.
But what is it about cycling that is so good? Not only is it enjoyable to discover new places, it is also great for your physical and mental wellbeing. Any activity of 150 minutes per week, where you get your pulse rate up in 10-minute blocks, will help cut your chances of getting conditions such as bowel and breast cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Something that I like to tell people is that what is good for the planet, is also really good for you! Eating plenty of fibre and being physically active are the best things you can do for your health. You can lose weight, reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, and it is even good for your mental health! Exercise can bring a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control, and the ability to rise to a challenge!
I think it is also important to remember that cycling doesn’t only benefit us as individuals; we can save the planet by ditching the cars and using bikes to get around, whether it is to the local shops on a Saturday, or to work daily. Although many people think having a hot summer in England is a positive thing, it is actually a big red flag telling us that we only have 11 years to cut our carbon emissions, before the effects of global warming become irreversible.
So, why not save money on petrol and parking, whilst saving the planet and improving your health?