Take a Biking Vacation
May 04, 2011
Summer is almost here, and thoughts of vacations are starting to enter our minds. The rising gas prices are a great concern to everyone and can affect the family vacation plans. Our family has taken up recreational bike riding because it is fun and good exercise. Most everyone in the family can participate in this activity. Last October, my husband and I rode the Katy Trail from Sedalia, MO to Clinton, MO (a 70 mile trip). This summer, we hope to go to the western end of the trail.
Many states have trails that will accommodate any level of bike riding. Missouri has many such trails. A few of the books that you can use to locate trails in Missouri are found in Mid-Continent Public Library. The one book I found most useful was Biking Missouri's Rail Trails: Where to Go, What to Expect, How to Get There by Shawn E. Richardson. Our family rides on the trails at Smithville Lake regularly throughout the warm months of the year. The maps of the Smithville Lake biking trails can be found on the US Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District website.
Bike riding is not only fun, but it also has personal health benefits as well. Here is a list of the benefits of bike riding:
- Fitness/Weight Loss
Whether you want to be stronger or thinner, biking to work can help you with both. People who perform aerobic exercise a few times a week are at decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Exercise also helps people lose weight.
- Reduced Depression/Anxiety
30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week significantly reduces anxiety and depression according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Lung Health
Cyclists absorb fewer air pollutants than drivers. Even if the air in your city isn't that fresh, biking is still better than driving.
- Improved Coordination
Bicycling improves the rider's balance and coordination. This can, in theory prevent falls and fractures.
- Time to Relax
If you bike to work, you won't have to go to the gym to get your exercise. You'll save yourself time by killing two birds with one stone. Using that extra time to relax can boost your immune system.