How Cycling to Work Everyday Helped Me Lose 14 Kgs, Fight Obesity
“I cycle 36 kms a day, to and from work. In Bangalore traffic, it takes 45 minutes (it takes over an hour by car).”
A little over a year ago, I was obese, just shy of a 100 kgs, had high levels of the bad cholesterol LDL, and was advised by my doctor to start taking medication in the form of statin. If I didn’t do this, I would very soon be diabetic and have high BP.
At this point, I was an obese 40-year-old at risk of getting a heart attack. This is when I decided to get a bicycle and start cycling to work. So, I got myself a second hand MTB and started commuting to work. My wife was sure this was just a stupid mid-life crisis and it wouldn't last a week.
Today, I have been cycling to work for over a year and have lost around 14 kgs, my LDL levels are now too low (70, the minimum required is 80), and I have stopped taking statin. When I tell people how much I cycle, they are always surprised.
I cycle 18 kms to work, that is 36 kms a day, in Bangalore traffic, it’s a 45-minute-commute for me on the bicycle (it takes over an hour by car).
These are some of the questions that people ask when I talk about commuting to work on a bicycle.
Is It Safe?
Traffic in Bangalore is mad. There is only one rule - if there is space in front, move into it, and this is great for cyclists. No one moves very fast so cyclists are generally safe. But it never hurts to take precautions. So, I always wear a helmet, I also have lights on it as well as on the rear and front of the bike. If you ask me, the helmet and rear lights are a must.
What About Pollution?
Yes, the pollution is bad and it helps to wear a pollution mask. I wear an N95 pollution mask and it has helped me. Again, I would advise getting a pollution mask. Don’t wear a surgical mask or cloth - these are useless against small particles.
How Do You Work After Cycling So Much?
It helps that we have a shower in our office, so I shower after getting to work. I think all offices should have a shower.
Don’t You Get Tired Cycling For Over an Hour Everyday?
Yes, but that is the point. I am getting my daily exercise while commuting to work, I don't see a downside to this.
What About Rains?
I have a rain cover for my bag. It’s not ideal, but I still take 45 mins while a car would take 2 hours. And in Bangalore, it seldom rains in the morning, so commuting to work has never been a big problem.
When I look back today, the only real regret I have is “why didn’t I start earlier?”. I really don’t think people in Bangalore have a real excuse for not commuting to work on a bicycle. That said, I do see a lot more people doing this. This will hopefully also encourage the construction of bicycle lanes in the city.
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