Did you know that regular cycling not only helps you improve your fitness, but also reduces stress? As a low-impact exercise, it’s easier on the joints than other aerobic activities such as running, but is still effective for weight loss and releases the same feel-good endorphins. Many find it a relaxing yet exhilarating hobby that can bring you back to nature, and discover a new way to get in shape.
It’s also a fun and fulfilling way to get the family together and enjoy some fresh air outside, not to mention good for the environment. If it’s conducive, you can even save money on petrol by cycling to work on a daily basis, or even just to pop down to the shops.
In Malaysia, however, safety is a concern when it comes to cycling – particularly in Kuala Lumpur, as the city is not quite built for cyclists compared to those in other countries. If you are wary about cycling along the busy highways and roads, there are some urban-area parks as well as other cycling routes outside the city that you can utilize. You can also sign up for some of the many cycling events that are available most of the year, a great way to explore new routes and meet potential new cycling buddies.
1. Health Benefits
Cycling is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, as well joint mobility. Your flexibility and bone strength also increases when you cycle regularly. Furthermore, you burn fat and improve your posture and coordination. While there may be other activities which provide the same benefits, cycling is a good way for older or sedentary people to embark on a fit lifestyle due to it’s low-impact nature. Even just cycling at a low to moderate pace is beneficial, and still torches those pesky calories.
2. Cycling on the Brain
When you cycle outside and are exposed to daylight, this increases your vitamin D intake, leading to a happier and less stressed-out you. Plus, because cycling boosts blood flow and oxygen in the brain, your mental agility gets sharper. You also get an awesome energy boost from the dopamine that your brain releases from cycling, and you’ll sleep better at night.
3. KL Car-Free Morning
Photo credit: KL Car Free Morning, Facebook
One terrific way to cycle uninhibited by motorists and traffic on the roads is during the KL Car-Free Morning. Held twice a month, the 7-km route in the heart of KL is closed from 7:00am to 9:00am to encourage more people to take up car-less activities like cycling. You can also rent bicycles there on a firstcome, first-serve basis.
4. Buying a Bicycle
With cycling a booming trend among Malaysians, there are endless options if you need to purchase a bicycle, whether it’s a road bike, mountain bike, or foldable bike. Though much less costly bicycles are available, at the top of the list, prices can range from RM4,000 to RM12,000, depending on your choice of brand or specialty. There are also numerous bike shops in the Klang Valley where you can also get your bike serviced or complement them with accessories.
5. Renting Bikes
If you don’t want to invest in a bicycle but still want to enjoy cycling from time to time, many of the parks offer rentals for the whole family. The Putrajaya Botanical Gardens, FRIM, and Perdana Botanical Gardens are three examples of such parks that offer beautiful green scenery, dedicated cycling routes and affordable
6. Stay Safe
In Malaysia’s hot climate, cycling can be a daunting exercise if you’re doing it in the afternoon. Make sure you bring enough water, and some energy gels or bars if you’re out for a long period of time. A GPS band or smartphone is also a good idea to not only track your workout but also keep you from getting lost. Tack on some elbow and knee pads too, and never forget your helmet!
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Source: The Expat Magazine April 2015
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