Ride on!

Bicycling regularly is not only a great way to keep our environment clean, it’s also a terrific way to stay healthy. Since 40 percent of all vehicle trips made by Americans are within two miles of their homes, bicycling is a feasible and nourishing activity to incorporate into daily life.

Many health advantages can be attributed to bicycle riding, according to the British United Provident Assocation, a global health organization. Here are just a few benefits listed on BUPA’s Web site:n New cyclists covering short distances can reduce their risk of death by as much as 22 percent.

• A 15-minute bike ride to and from work five times a week burns off the equivalent of 11 pounds of fat in a year.

• Cycling four miles to and from work in a day increases one’s aerobic fitness by 17 percent.

• Cyclists and pedestrians actually absorb lower levels of pollutants from traffic fumes than drivers.

• Cycling reduces the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and the most common form of diabetes.

• Due to the strength and coordination gained through riding, cyclists are less likely to have injuries from falls.

• Moderate exercise, such as cycling, has been found to reduce levels of depression and stress, improve mood, and raise self-esteem. It also has been found to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.