There are lots of ways you can adjust your lifestyle to have a smaller impact on the planet. Installing solar hot water systems, buying locally grown food, cutting back on your meat consumption and being a conscientious recycler are all great ways to start. Another great way to reduce your impact on the planet is to begin biking to work. Just how popular is biking in Australia, and how can this form of active transportation impact your health?

Health benefits of biking

Biking – even on flat urban streets – involves both cardiovascular exercise and muscle movement. And it’s not just your heart and your physique that will benefit from this activity – your brain could, too! A recent study put forth by researchers at the University of Adelaide found that just 30 minutes of exercise can impact brain health.

“We saw positive changes in the brain straight away, and these improvements were sustained 15 minutes after the exercise had ended,” research leader Associate Professor Michael Ridding said in a news release. “Plasticity in the brain is important for learning, memory and motor skill coordination. This exercise-related change in the brain may, in part, explain why physical activity has a positive effect on memory and higher-level functions.”

Biking in Australia

If you’ve decided to get on board with this form of active transportation, you’re not alone. New data collected by EuroMonitor International found that bicycle ownership is on the rise globally. However, Aussies are lagging behind countries like Canada, France and the United Kingdom when it comes to bike ownership.

As it turns out, getting started with biking may be the hardest part. A paper published in Preventative Medicine titled ‘Predictors of initiating and maintaining active commuting to work using transport and public health perspectives in Australia’ stated that people who lived sedentary lifestyles were less likely than their more physically active counterparts to begin biking to work.

Once you give active transportation a try, though, you’ll likely find that you never want to go back to the world of traffic jams and expensive gas.

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