To celebrate Men's Health Week (14-20 June) Bicycle Network is calling on Australian men to catch up with a mate and go for a pedal.
Men's Health Week is a timely reminder for men to check in on their own health and the health of their friends – something that is often neglected. And after the year that is has been, it's never been more important.
Not only has the pandemic restricted physical activity by limiting our movement, it has undoubtedly taken a toll on our mental health with many people experiencing heightened levels of anxiety, isolation and depression.
According to the data, the health of Australian men is generally worse than women, especially when it comes to lifestyle-related health conditions.
Aussie men are nearly twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease and one in two Aussie males also suffer from a chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. One in two men have also experienced a mental health problem.
Unfortunately, Australian men are also less likely to talk about their health with others or get checked by a doctor if something is wrong.
That's why we're calling on all men do something for their health and happiness this week. It doesn't have to be hard, simply reach out to a mate and go for a pedal.
Why ride a bike?
Bikes are the cheap, easy and readily available wonder drug to help get men’s health and happiness back on track.
It is no surprise that in the new COVID-normal world, many of us turned to our trusty bikes. When everything was limited, bikes quickly became our outlet for exercise, freedom and social connection.
It’s been proven time and time again that riding a bike can improve and lengthen lives. Studies continually show that the impact of even a casual pedal can have near-miraculous health outcomes, both physically and mentally.
Incorporating bike riding into your daily life is also cheap — you don’t have to find extra time or money for a gym membership you won’t use.
Plus, it’s fun. It gets you off the couch and out of the house, giving you plenty of opportunities to connect and socialise with mates.
What can you do?
Finding motivation to exercise on a regular basis isn’t easy, particularly in the midst of a global pandemic.
Many men report lack of interest, time, motivation and ability as they key reasons they don’t get enough exercise.
However, here are some things you can do to motivate yourself to hop on the bike and stay healthy:
Schedule a regular group ride with mates
Bicycle Network team member Richard Cross (Crossy), who many will know as a wave leader for Team Bicycle Network, catches up with a group of mates for bike ride three times a week.
They call themselves “Pelottone” after their fondness for getting coffee and panettone following their ride.
Crossy says their rides kill two birds with one stone.
“Our Pelottone rides are a great to keep up a fitness routine, but also be social and check in on each other”, said Mr Cross.
“Questions are asked and if people aren't turning up to those events, you know it's time to reach out.”
Set yourself a goal
Many people find motivation in setting realistic exercise goals to help you direct your energy, make plans, push through barriers and get buy-in from your friends and family.
Goals are more effective when they’re yours and when it comes to riding a bike, there are plenty to choose from.
It could be riding to work once a week, riding with the kids to school or on a weekend or even training up to tackle one of the six ride distances in Around the Bay.
Launching today, there are a range of Around the Bay training plans for all abilities that are specially designed to help you achieve your riding goal – no matter what your distance.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.