Put wheels in motion for better health this Bike Week

Bike Week 5-122 June - a person on a bike on a red bike lane

This Bike Week (5-11 June) the Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging everyone to get cycling and start to feel the benefits of getting more active by simply fitting it in to their daily routine.

For many people cycling is something they might not have done in a while and Bike Week is the ideal time to get back in the saddle.

Gerard Walls, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Officer at the PHA, said: “Cycling is growing in popularity because not only is it a fun and easy method of transport but it’s also a great way to get moving more and will help to improve your physical and mental health.

“This Bike Week the PHA would encourage as many people as possible, if they are able, to try cycling. It’s a fantastic way to get active as a family and with friends. Not only is it good for your health but by swapping some of your usual car journeys for cycling, it will be both kinder to the environment and, in today’s cost of living crisis, save you money on expensive fuel costs.

“If you’re nervous about getting started, don’t do it alone. Encouraging others to join you will also help and make it a more enjoyable social activity.

“And, if you are looking for an extra bit of motivation to get cycling, you can take part in the Active Travel Challenge which runs throughout the month of June. The challenge encourages people to leave the car at home in a bid to be more sustainable, save money and to boost physical and mental health.”

Whether it is a short trip to the shop, the school run or the commute to work, the Active Travel Challenge encourages participants to switch up their usual routine and try walking, cycling or taking public transport as a cleaner, greener way to travel. Anyone can sign up for free logging their active travel journeys on the online platform for a chance to win a of range prizes, including vouchers, travel tickets, gym passes and rewards with national and regional retailers.

Gerard continued: “We know that keeping physically active can improve our physical and mental health and wellbeing and quality of life, with as little as 30 minutes of moderate level physical activity most days of the week shown to help reduce anxiety, help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, while also improving our quality of sleep.

“Cycling is also extremely accessible to people of all ages and abilities and can be a great way to get active for those who may have joint issues who need and exercise that is low-impact.

“By becoming more active, you are also playing your part in protecting our environment reducing your carbon footprint with benefits for all of society.”

For more tips and advice on getting active, setting yourself achievable targets and eating healthier, visit www.ChooseToLiveBetter.com


Notes to editors

  • The Active Travel Challenge is a partnership between Sustrans, Translink, the Department for Infrastructure, the Public Health Agency, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and Belfast City Council, with the popular annual challenge open to individuals and organisations of any size across Northern Ireland to take part and help create habits for a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable lifestyle. To find out more and get involved in this year’s Active Travel Challenge go to atc.getmeactive.org.uk/
  • For schools, Sustrans runs the Cycle to School Week campaign each year in September. But schools can access the free resources any time of year, and they’re ideal for Bike Week. They can be accessed here – www.sustrans.org.uk/for-professionals/education/cycle-to-school-week-teacher-resources.