What’s the best exercise to stave off diabetes, heart disease, and more? How about cycling? Riding a bike can offer a number of health benefits, all the while protecting older joints, tendons and muscles from too much jarring and pounding on the ground.
PLUS: How Cycling Three Times a Week Could Help Prevent Disease
This is great news. But before you head out onto the streets, consider this advice from researchers at the University of Alberta: wear a helmet! The Canadian research team recently conducted a large review of clinical trials regarding bicycle use and injury.
In particular, the researchers were interested in helmet use and injury reduction. They came up with some interesting statistics about cyclists. One study compared the prevalence of correct helmet use across multiple factors like age, gender, riding companionship, riding location, average neighborhood family income, and region. Observations were made on 9,734 cyclists. Here are the results:
— 5,842 (60%) were wearing a bicycle helmet
— 3,872 (40%) were not wearing a helmet
–15.3% of the helmeted cyclists were wearing their helmet incorrectly or were using a non-bicycle helmet
— Fifty-three percent of children and 51% of adults tended to wear their helmet too far back, while 48% of adolescents tended not to have their straps fastened
— For 76% of the adult cyclists, incorrect helmet use was detected over the study period
The researchers looked at more studies and found these other statistics about cycling and helmet use:
— Helmets lower the risk for head and brain injuries
— Helmets help prevent fractures and injuries to the head, neck, face and jaws
— Alcohol both impairs the decision to wear a helmet and promotes risky behavior — worsening the severity and outcome of injuries
It’s clear to see, based on the evidence from this study, that wearing a helmet is non-negotiable. Put one on before you head out on your bike! Falls may be few and far between and hopefully a collision with a vehicle is something you will never have to experience — but you should still wear a helmet that’s correctly fitted and placed on your head.