101 reasons to love cycling in London #15 - not killing off those old brain cells...

This week's reason to love cycling in London comes from blogger The Bronze Bombshell in Georgia, USA.  She came across a couple of studies that show cycling is better than driving a car at keeping those valuable ever-diminishing grey cells of ours sharp - if like me you're convinced most mornings that you have early-onset Alzheimer’s, this is really something!

She found a study (via Anna at Cycling is Good For You) that shows that "Cardiovascular fitness is associated with cognition in young adulthood." ie. exercise keeps your brain sharp.  The other study she found showed that exposure to unleaded fuel can encourage aggression and anxiety, and furthermore that the changes happening in the brain as a consequence of this exposure can be described as 'damage'.  No thanks....

In a seperate study traffic-sourced air pollution has been observed to reduce the I.Q of children - we'll come back to this later...




Lots of people I know believe that cycling through a big city like London must be like a perpetual battle through the smog of a hundred and one engines, but I rarely find this is the case - most of my route is on quiet back roads and where I do cycle on a main road (High Holborn, which, incidentally has some of the worst air pollution in the UK) being out in the open and breathing fresh rather than recycled air is enough to keep me feeling free.  That master of cycle advocacy discourse Mikael Colville-Anderson of Copenhagenize first alerted me to a study which showed that air quality inside a car is much, much worse than outside of it.

Keeping mentally alert whilst pootling along on your push bike?  It's reason number 15 to love cycling in London!

Raising your kid's I.Q by getting them to ride a bike? Call it reason 15 and a half ;)

P.S  I'm well aware that there's a couple of inches of snow on most people's doorsteps at the moment and that cycling might be the last thing they'd consider doing right now - that's why I've included so many links in this post - reading about cycling is a close second best for brain-warming!

3 comments:

Cait said...

I biked in yesterday - I do 9 miles from Streatham but Lambeth are wretched with their salting - absolutely awful, so discretion being the better part of valour, I decided to bus/tube it today.

Yesterday coming home was madness, but still, not as bad as that day before Christmas, when I realised that one cannot walk on soft snow wearing neoprene overshows, unless you want extremely wet feet.

Anne said...

Oh, so THAT's why I'm so brainy now!

(LOL! Not really. I was always brainy.)

I had never heard that air quality inside a car is worse than out. Yay! One more reason to keep on cycling.

Mark said...

@Cait that's the problem with neoprene - fab for warmth but like a sponge when it comes to moisture - brrrr!