In Lagos: Adopting cycling for a healthy lifestyle

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It has been proven that cycling can help to protect from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.

In 1996, Nigeria had an impressive outing at the Olympics with medals in Women's Long Jump, Football, badminton, football and other track field events.

With an impressive medal count, Nigeria lived up to its billing as the ‘giant of Africa’ at the Atlanta games. Twenty years down the line, medals from sporting events have dropped drastically and people are not actively involved in sporting activities as public sporting facilities have also decayed over the years.

Currently, sedentary lifestyle is becoming more expensive as there are many illnesses associated with it. People are now conscious of living a healthy life by engaging in various sports such as lawn tennis, football, badminton and most recently, cycling has become an alternative. Cycling entails the use of virtually all the parts of the body and also the mind. On the average, a cyclist will burn approximately 650 calories per hour.

According to research by Betterhealth in 2016, it has been proven that cycling can help to protect from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis. Other health benefits of regular cycling include increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility, improved joint mobility and decreased stress levels, improved posture and coordination, strengthened bones, decreased body fat levels and reduced anxiety and depression.

It is interesting to note that, youths in Lagos and some other cities in Nigeria have started adopting cycling as an alternative sport. More youths and teens are taking up cycling for leisure and the rise of competitions such as the Lagos City Criterium, organized by the Sustainable Cycling Foundation (http://ift.tt/2nm0ghZ) has improved the profile of cycling in Nigeria.

The Lagos City Criterium is an exhibition of top level exposure with a desire to establish a professional cycling event in Nigeria, which would support Nigerian professional cyclists and build a community of cyclists that are agile and young at heart. The 2017 Criterium brought together about 200 cyclists across Nigeria, in an atmosphere of friendship, teamwork and healthy competition and after hours of competitive cycling, winners emerged in various categories; with cyclists going home with medals and prize money.

The movement, which is championed by the Sustainable Cycling Foundation is supported by Cocoon Homes Limited, an innovative real estate property developer currently developing the Cocoon Atlantic project in Lagos State. The organization advocates for cyclists to continue their drive from leisure to professionalism.

For the 2017 Criterium, Cocoon Homes supported the foundation in the planning and execution of the event, as well as the sponsorship of local teams through the provision of cycling kits.

Recreational cycling is a sport that encourages people most especially kids to cultivate a healthy lifestyle and competitions and cycling challenges, such as the Lagos Criterium, help to encourage young and prospective athletes who might otherwise not have the opportunity to develop their competitive skills.

There are several opportunities for Nigerian sports and athletes looking to build careers in alternative sports such as cycling, biking and hiking and if the right infrastructure is put in place then the cycling market will only grow stronger, more profitable, and more stable. That means more money for the country, more professional athletes for a longer period of time and maybe the status of Nigeria being the giant of Africa in terms of sports might just be true once again.



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