Canal & River Trust)
Getting out and about on two wheels is great for your health and we believe that cycling along our canals and rivers is even better for your health than cycling along the road. Being traffic free, they are more relaxing, you’ll enjoy better scenery and you won’t breathe in any traffic fumes.
While we don’t encourage speedy cyclists along our canals and rivers, a gentle ride has many health benefits. According to the NHS, regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and strokes. Cycling can help to keep your weight under control as well.
There are numerous studies to back this up including a recent study by the BMJ found that regular cycling cuts all causes of death, particularly cancers and cardiovascular disease. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London has found that cycling can even hold back ageing and keep our immune system young.
We’re all advised to do at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity activity each week and cycling along the canals can contribute to this.
Clear your mind
Cycling is also a great way to improve your mood and there are just as many studies to show the benefits of cycling on mental health. Our own Dick Vincent has put it simply for us. He explains: “People love cycling because of the sense of freedom. If you think about, it’s probably the first time you experienced it because, as a child, when you got on a bike it was the first time you were faster than your parents and could escape.
“The problem is that modern roads in the UK don’t live up to that childhood memory. Scary cars, trucks and in many places, smog, just ruin it. This is why cycling on a towpath is so special. It’s how cycling should be. A chance to reconnect with that inner-child.”