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Od boljeg sna do boljeg ljubavnog života: najveće prednosti bicikliranja

Winter is finally coming to an end, and with the first longer days many people feel is a desire for outdoor activities.

From year to year more and more popular, cycling is a combination of pleasant and useful: it is certainly better to spend two hours riding a bicycle through the woods rather than sweating in a stuffy gym.

If you have not yet jumped onto the speeding train of this trend, you may be prompted to join by the news that the Krka National Park has set up fourteen bike routes in its area, enabling the exploration of lesser known, but not less fascinating, natural features. This in itself is a pretty good reason to jump on two wheels, but if you need more reasons, we cite the ten ultimate benefits of bicycle riding.

1. You will sleep better

An early morning ride may tire you in the short term, but in the long run it will make you sleep better. The Stanford University Medical School conducted an experiment on people suffering from insomnia: they had to ride a bike from twenty to thirty minutes each day. The results showed that the time it took for them to fall asleep was lessened by a half hour, and sleep was extended for almost an entire hour. In addition, outdoor exercise exposes you to sunlight, which helps regulate the natural circadian rhythm, while simultaneously decreasing cortisol secretion, a stress hormone that can affect sleep.

2. You will look younger

Stanford University researchers have found that regular bicycle riding protects your skin from harmful UV rays and reduces signs of aging. In fact, increased circulation resulting from exercise brings oxygen and nutrients to cells more efficiently, and simultaneously cleanses toxins from the body. Of course, this is true only if before riding you apply sunscreen with a protective factor of at least 30.

3. It sharpens the mind

Scientists from the University of Illinois found that improving the fitness of cyclists by five percent leads to a fifteen percent increase on intelligence and memory tests. The reason for this lies in the fact that riding a bike encourages the development of new brain cells in the hippocampus, responsible for memory, which weakens after thirty years.

4. It fights against viruses, but also serious illness

Certainly you know the saying "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away". Did you know that thius proverb is completely wrong, and actually is just a marketing trick by apple producers from the beginning of the last century? If you want the doctor to stay away from your home, you do not need an apple, you need a bicycle.

Moderate exercise activates the immune cells, meaning that they are ready to respond when viruses and bacteria attack the body. One study has shown that people who ride a bike thirty minutes a day, five days a week, have less than half the illnesses than those who spend their spare time on the couch. In addition, numerous studies have shown that moderate physical activity, including riding a bike, reduces the risk of cancer by almost half in men, while for women who ride bikes, the risk of breast cancer is lower by thirty-four percent.

5. It saves the planet

Twenty bikes can be parked in a place for a car. In order to produce one bicycle, it takes about five percent of the material and energy consumed to produce a car. Additionally, bicycles do not pollute the environment: they do not need propulsive fuel (just your feet), they do not release gases. In addition, the bicycle is also an efficient means of transportation: you travel three times faster than walking, while spending the same amount of energy.

6. Bicycle riding will improve your love life

Physical activity improves the functioning of the bloodstream system, which has a beneficial effect on the libido, claims Cornell University researchers, whose research has shown that the “intimate skills” of athletes at a level of men five years younger, while women who are engaged in fitness enter menopause five years later. Research from Harvard discovered that men older than fifty who bicycle at least three hours a week have a thirty percent lower risk of impotence than men to whom exercising is a foreign word.

7. It burns more fat (which means more effective weight loss)

Bicycle riding accelerates the metabolism, not only while riding, but even for a few hours afterwards. That means you can lie on the couch but your body will burn calories as if you are still exercising or riding. You do not have to do marathon training to achieve such results: sports physicians explain that riding for thirty minutes is enough, and as the degree of physical fitness increases, so will the positive effects. The logic is clear and simple: more burned fat means faster and more efficient weight loss.

8. It helps in creative processes

Writers, musicians, painters, top managers, and many other professionals use riding a bike to break a creative block and make decision making easier for them. This is not without reason: one scientific study has shown that twenty-five minutes of aerobic training has a positive effect on creative thinking due to increased oxygen supply to the brain. If it is a particularly difficult decision or a creative block that lasts longer than you expected, try regular training on one of the Krka NP bike routes. Such a combination of natural beauty and physical activity is equal to the most difficult creative tasks.

9. “Stimulate” yourself legally

It was once thought to be a myth, but the existence of the feeling of euphoria after a training was finally confirmed by German scientists who compared the level of endorphin, the hormone of happiness, in the brain of the subjects before and after a two-hour training. In addition to enhanced secretion of endorphins, endurance training also affects the production of dopamine, which provides a sense of satisfaction, and serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood.

10. Meeting new people and expanding social networks

The social aspects of bicycle riding are as important as health care. A nine-year study carried out at Harvard has shown that people surrounded by many friends have a 60 percent less chance of a premature death: blood pressure is better and the immune system is stronger. The results were so significant that the scientists concluded that the lack of close friends and colleagues with whom we can share interests is as equally disastrous to health as smoking or excess body weight. Fortunately, riding a bicycle is quite a social sport, and most cyclists share similar views of the world and lifestyle, which often involves common active weekends in nature. If you're new to cycling, we suggest you join a bicycle club – you'll meet new people and receive excellent advice about training or equipment.