One in four adult Canadians and one in 10 children have clinical obesity, meaning six million Canadians living with obesity may require immediate support in managing and controlling their weight. As a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer, the condition impacts those who have obesity, their families, employers, neighbours, health practitioners and governments.

The impact of weight bias and stigma against people with obesity is comparable to that of racial discrimination, and it’s just as common. Obesity stigma translates into significant inequities in employment, health, health care and education, often due to widespread negative stereotypes that persons with obesity are lazy, unmotivated or lacking in self‐discipline.

Canadian Obesity Network

Obesity rates in adults have doubled since the 1980s. As if that wasn’t a number scary enough, the situation among children is far worse: children obesity rates almost tripled over the last 30 years.

Here are some stats closer to home, Huron County takes the title for the highest obesity rate in Ontario in 2011-2012, with a whopping 37.1% of the adult population rated as obese. Weighing in close behind are Perth, Chatham-Kent, Lambton and Oxford — all with levels above 30%.

So why use cycling to lose weight?

If you want to lose weight by cycling, you will find pedal power great fun. It's challenging, sociable and offers a great workout. Suitable for everyone, any age or level of fitness, cycling helps weight loss as it burns calories, improves health and gets you out and about.

  1. It's easy on the joints. When you sit on a bike, you put your weight on a pair of bones in the pelvis called the ischial tuberosities, unlike walking, when you put your weight on your legs. "That makes it good for anyone with joint pain or age-related stiffness,".
  2. Pushing pedals provides an aerobic workout. That's great for your heart, brain, and blood vessels. Aerobic exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's feel-good chemicals—which may make you feel young at heart.
  3. Cycling builds muscle. In the power phase of pedaling (the downstroke), you use the gluteus muscles in the buttocks, the quadriceps in the thighs, and the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calves. In the recovery phase (backstroke, up-stroke, and over-stroke), you use the hamstrings in the back of the thighs and the flexor muscles in the front of the hips.

Cycling works other muscles, too. You use abdominal muscles to balance and stay upright, and you use your arm and shoulder muscles to hold the handlebars and steer.

  1. It helps with everyday activities. "The benefits carry over to balance, walking, standing, endurance, and stair climbing,".
  2. Pedaling builds bone. "Resistance activities, such as pushing pedals, pull on the muscles, and then the muscles pull on the bone, which increases bone density,”.

An interesting statistic… If one third short car journeys (under 6km) were made by bike, national heart disease rates would fall by between 5 and 10 percent. Info from BikeBiz.

So in 2018 why not give cycling a try?