September marks the start of the autumn semester for university students. On the minds of many will be the Freshers Week parties and then getting stuck into some serious study in the long term to Christmas.
Being a student in 2017 is a seriously expensive business with fees, food, accommodation and spending money costing tens of thousands. Often, using public transport to get to and from lectures can cost a couple of pounds a day – soon adding up to hundreds a term!
One great way to save money is to use a bike. Not only does this keep your cash in your pocket, it is a fantastic way to stay healthy; cycling improves cardiovascular fitness, reduces body fat and builds strength meaning you can also save on gym fees!
Dependent on how hard you pedal, you can burn between 400 to 1000 calories per hour according to Cycling Weekly, and because there is a resistance aspect to cycling, you don’t just burn fat, you also build muscle with the quads, calves, glutes and hamstrings getting a great work out.
Exercise is a fantastic way to help students reach for the stars in class as it improves alertness, attention and motivation. Cycling before and after lectures will also boost areas of the brain involved in learning; research published by Harvard Health, found that regular aerobic exercise helps memory and thinking directly and indirectly. Cycling, as an aerobic form of exercise, helps to maintain the flow of blood to the brain meaning that there is a steady stream of oxygen and nutrients to feed all those hungry brain cells.
Exercise also boosts mental well-being, helping to maintain a positive and happy outlook. A study by the YMCA found that people who take regular exercise have a well-being score that is 32% higher than those with inactive lifestyles. Cycling prevents and relieves stress, anxiety and depression, with just 15 minutes pedalling shown to reduce the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body.
Cycling outdoors magnifies the mental health benefits of exercise as being natural surroundings also boosts motivation and anxiety.