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Bike Week
May 16, 2012

Bike Week

by Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director

May 7, 2012

If you love cycling, this is probably one of your favorite times of the year. And, with the growing number of bicycle paths along our city streets and in our parks, it is easier for you to enjoy this sport in Independence.

In honor of National Bike Week, the Health Department, as part of the Building a Healthier Independence is sponsoring a Bike to Breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. Monday, May 14 at City Hall, 111 E. Maple Ave.

The event is being held to promote physical activity and give citizens an opportunity to meet and speak with members of the Bicycle Transportation Committee. This will be your chance to speak with policymakers about cycling issues in your community.

The Health Department recognizes that there are many health benefits associated with cycling. Let’s look at just a few of those benefits.

Cycling is predominately an aerobic activity, which gives your heart, blood vessels and lungs a great workout. You breathe deeper, perspire, and experience an increase in body temperature--all of which help cleanse the body of toxins.

Other health benefits include improved muscle tone and strength, managing weight, and preventing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition cycling, like most aerobic exercise, assists in reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

Cycling is a great way to spend time with friends and family, to explore your community, discover new places and is an environmentally friendly way to get around town. In short, cycling can be enjoyed almost anywhere.

If you are new to cycling, it is a good idea to start on the City’s numerous bike paths. Later when you have developed confidence in the sport, you can choose from a wide range of biking such as track and road to mountain biking.

With cycling, as with any sport, it is important to remember to maintain your safety and the safety of others.

First choose a bicycle that is the right size for you. Riding on a bike that is the improper size is dangerous because it is hard to control. A good bicycle retailer will help you make the right choice.

Always wear a bicycle helmet and, if riding at night, reflective clothing or vests. Wear covered shoes--not flip flops--and comfortable clothing. Make sure your pant legs are not too loose so that they won’t get caught in your bicycle chain or wheels.

Before you ride, warm up and stretch your muscles and joints. When you hit the road, take and drink plenty of fluids. It is also important to plan a route for each ride and let others know where and when you are going.

Make sure to include the Independence Bike to Breakfast in your workday May 14. To make sure we have enough on hand to eat, please RSVP to Alicia Nelson at anelson@indepmo.org or 816-325-7006.

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