Get Moving with Stillwater’s Bicycling Community

Photo by Tyler Siems of District Bicycles

Story by Lissette Minges, TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist

In the 2018 County Health Profiles from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, it was reported that 20.4% of adults residing in Payne County are not engaged in physical activity according to 2016 data. The state average is 28.5%. Engaging in regular physical activity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Physical inactivity was reported to be a leading contributor to nearly 1 in 10 adult deaths in the United States. In Payne County alone, from 2011-2015, a total of 664 adults, ages 35 to 65+, died of heart disease according to the 2017 County Health Profile.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. If you’re crunched for time, you can even break up your physical activity into smaller, shorter bursts. Try separating your activities into three 10-minute sets throughout the day. While adults need 30 minutes of physical activity every day, kids need even more to achieve the same health benefits. No matter how they get it, kids need 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Activities should include:

  • Aerobic exercises, like bicycle riding, roller blading, and games involving running or chasing.
  • Muscle-building exercises, like push-ups, gymnastics, and playground activities.
  • Bone-strengthening exercises, like running, basketball, and jump rope.
  • Balance and stretching activities, like yoga and dancing.

By finding ways to get active every day, you can make a big difference in your health — today, tomorrow, and in the future. Check out some of the immediate and long-term benefits of physical activity:

IMMEDIATE BENEFITS

  • More energy.
  • Improved mental health and mood.
  • Better sleep.
  • Stronger bones and muscles.
  • Improved posture.
  • Improved flexibility and balance.
  • Kids will perform better in school.

LONG-TERM BENEFITS

  • Feel better – can improve happiness and confidence.
  • A healthier weight — with lower chances of being overweight or obese.
  • Stronger immune system.
  • A longer life.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some cancers.

Last month, many celebrated National Bike Month with various events and recognition. On May 6, 2019, the City of Stillwater proclaimed May as National Bike and Bicycle Safety Month. The unique thing about Payne County, Stillwater specifically, is this enthusiasm occurs on a regular basis through our two local bike shops, District Bicycles and Cooper’s Bicycle Center. According to The League of American Bicyclists, 40% of all trips in the United States are less than two miles, making it more feasible to ride a bike to get from place to place. Stillwater’s two local shops most definitely encourage everyone to get on their bikes and ride. Both organizations have weekly scheduled rides for all ages and riding levels. Annually, each holds an event for the community with Land Run 100 and Tour of Payne. Whether you enjoy riding on pavement or gravel, both District Bicycles and Cooper’s Bicycle Center can accommodate! Stillwater is blessed to have options as the cycling community grows, and awareness is spread about cycling safety both for the cycler and motorist. In the Where We Ride Analysis 2017, it is reported Oklahoma has 0.29% of commuters who bike, which has decreased by 2% from 2011-2017. Oklahoma finds itself ranked in the Top 20 for bike commute cities by region with Norman, OK coming in at 7th with 1,492 bike commuters and a population of 122,842. Looking not too far from Stillwater is Edmond, OK at 0.8% of commuters who bike and 3.2% of commuters who walk with a population of 91, 936. These numbers are still on the lower end in comparison to where bike commuting is growing the fastest in the country. It is important to support and advocate this mode of transportation for various reasons such as health and the environment. Get more involved in advocacy for the cycling community, and consider attending the local Bicycle and Pedestrian Ad Hoc Committee meetings. More details can be found on their Facebook page, Walk and Roll Stillwater.

If you are interested in how you can help your business, organization, school, or city government increase physical activity and reduce the risk of these deaths in our county by creating sustainable practices and policies, contact the TSET Healthy Living Program serving Payne County at 405.780.7309.