Everyday cycling, where the exercise leaves you breathing heavily but not being out of breath, is an effective and enjoyable form of aerobic exercise.

This is the type of exercise that is most effective at promoting good health. For example, cycling reduces the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and the most common form of diabetes.

One rough calculation suggests that new cyclists covering short distances can reduce their risk of death (mainly due to the reduction of heart disease) by as much as 22 per cent.

Cycling will help with weight management

Cycling can be part of a programme to lose weight because it burns the energy supplied by a chocolate bar or a couple of alcoholic drinks in an hour (about 300 calories). A 15-minute bike ride to and from work five times a week burns off the equivalent of 11 pounds of fat in a year. That kind of cycling pattern also meets the Government's latest target on exercise: that we should take part in some mild to moderate physical activity that leaves us out of breath for at least 30 minutes five times a week.

Cycling can improve your mood

Cycling can have positive effects on how we feel too. Moderate exercise has been found to reduce levels of depression and stress, improve mood and raise self-esteem, and has also been found to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Cycling can help to maintain strength and coordination

There can also be indirect benefits in terms of reducing injuries from falls, which can be seriously disabling, especially in older people. The strength and co-ordination that regular cycling brings make them less likely. Physically active older people have much reduced rates of hip fracture.

Who can cycle?

There are no real age barriers to cycling, and people of most fitness levels can cycle, slowly and gently if necessary. Anyone with heart disease or other conditions affecting their activity should, of course, consult their doctor before starting any exercise programme. Those of all body shapes and all but the most extreme body weights can ride a bike.

Cycle paths in Ceredigion

For more information on local routes follow this link: www.discoverceredigion.co.uk

Local cycling groups

Local cycling groups also exist in Aberystwyth and Cardigan and the links below will lead you to their websites for further information and contacts.

www.velo-teifi.org.uk

National links to Websites:

www.bikeweek.org.uk

www.sustrans.org.uk