The Hidden Health Benefits of Cycling
For years, the health benefits of exercise have been well-publicized: it helps you manage your weight, lowers your blood pressure, supports heart and lung health, and generally keeps you feeling good. Over the past decade or so, however, researchers have also been studying the effect of exercise on mental health.
In 2018, a research study published in The Lancet analyzed the exercise habits and mental health of over 1.2 million people and overwhelmingly discovered that exercise improved overall mental health. And the type of exercise that topped the list? Cycling.
As a retired lawyer and Common Pleas Court Judge, Hill resident Victor DiNubile deeply understands the psychological benefits of cycling. In fact, during the years that he spent working, he would ride his bike around Chestnut Hill to help clear his mind when faced with tough cases.
“Aside from the exercise, I find cycling to be very relaxing and it helped me when I was working,” says DiNubile. “But I didn’t start cycling daily until about 10 to 12 years ago when I finally had more time to schedule it into my life.”
DiNubile admits that unlike many of the other cyclists he knows, he isn’t very competitive about his rides and often rides alone. Having lived most of his adult life in Chestnut Hill, and now as a resident of The Hill at Whitemarsh, DiNubile forgoes trails in the Wissahickon for suburban roads.
“I still like biking into Chestnut Hill and I try to avoid heavy traffic along the way,” says DiNubile. “It’s been a great way to stay in shape, it also really clears my mind unlike any other activity.”
After moving to The Hill last year, DiNubile started to branch out from his road rides by joining another resident and cycling enthusiast on rides along the Schuylkill River Trail. He notes that safety is important, no matter where you ride.
“I have three rules that I follow: always wear a helmet, try to pick a flat area that’s not heavily trafficked, and if you ride on the road, be sure to follow the same rules that cars must abide by,” DiNubile says.
He credits modern clothing and equipment for allowing him to ride nearly year-round, and now that he is a resident of The Hill, he utilizes the health club facilities on days when he doesn’t want to get on his bike.
“I try to take two fitness classes each week,” says DiNubile. “One to help with balance and one that focuses on strength training. The trainers have really been wonderful.”
He pauses for a moment before adding that although he enjoys his new workouts, cycling is still his preferred method of exercise. “You just can’t beat it!”