Fitness Exercise This Summer by Running or Cycling By BodyChangers, June 10, 2014 It’s Summer. Get Outside! After one of the most dreadful winters imaginable, now’s the time to take advantage of some of summers most famous pastimes – hitting the local trails for a jog, or grabbing your bike and cruising around town. We all know that as soon as the sun starts shining, you can’t go long without seeing a person jogging or cycling. And for good reason. The health benefits of exercise can’t be ignored. Here are some quick facts on how running and cycling can keep your health where it needs to be this summer. Running Can help keep those pesky viruses away. Running improves your health as it boosts your immune system, increases lung function and use, and raises your levels of good cholesterol. Obviously, running can help burn off the extra calories that accumulated while you were stuck inside this winter. If you run regularly, then you should be able to lose weight as well as maintain it. Has been known to help boost your confidence. You might feel a stronger sense of calmness as you tackle nerve-racking situations. Is a quick and easy way to relieve that stress. A run on your treadmill or through the park will exert excess energy and hormones from your body. By the time you finish, you will feel more relaxed. Can help eliminate depression. As you run your brain will start to secrete hormones that improve your mood, which might even put a smile on your face! Cycling Is low impact and can be beneficial to people who suffer from joint or knee pain. Will make you more agile. Balancing while peddling and steering around obstacles and trails will help develop your coordination skills. Can improve your heart health. According to the British Medical Association, cycling 20 miles a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent. Will help build strength and muscle tone. You just don’t use your legs; your entire body is involved, which helps strengthen nearly all the muscles in your body. Step Up Your Game If you’re feeling comfortable in your running and biking shoes, you might consider putting those skills to a test with a race, such as the first annual UPMC BodyChangers DriAthlon. The DriAthlon is an entry level and “at your own pace” running and cycling event (no water sports included) that features: No clock No prizes No bib numbers No pressure Because there is no clock, each individual participant is accountable for their own start/finish time and there is no mandate that each participate bike the full 10-miles. To learn more, or to register, visit Active.com.