Riding a bicycle is great exercise and for many people an enjoyable recreational activity, too. If you ride for exercise or just for fun, the health benefits of bicycling may be more than you realize.

According to Mind Body Green, riding a bicycle has both health and environmental benefits.

Environmentally, if every person in America made a four mile trip by bike rather than by car once a week, we'd use two billion fewer gallons of fuel each year. That also means we'd be spending a few billion dollars less on gasoline.

Even if commuting by bicycle isn't practical, there are other benefits to cycling. Unlike running, it's a low impact form of cardio-vascular exercise.

Because bicycling is non-weight bearing, it's a great form of exercise for people of all ages, thanks in part to the abundance of trails for all abilities around Grand Junction and Western Colorado.

Cycling is also a great way to increase energy and reduce fatigue. For some people, it can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Riding a bike can also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

The Mind Body Green report also suggests bicycling can improve mental alertness and can add years to your life.

If you're walking for exercise, you may want to add bicycling to your routine. An easy bike ride along the Colorado Riverfront Trail burns more calories than walking. Step the cycling up a notch and you can burn up to 500 calories in an hour.

The mild winters in Grand Junction make it possible for many people to ride almost year-round. While riding a stationary bike isn't quite as good as getting outside to pedal down the trail, it can be a good substitute on those days when the weather is less than desirable to ride outside.