Top Advantages of Cycling: Why Cycling Is Beneficial For Your Health
Studies have indicated that biking to work reduces absenteeism! Exercising prior to work helps us feel relaxed and motivated! “The survey of the cycle to work scheme asked users whether they felt they had gained any health benefits from their involvement in the scheme and 86 per cent of them said they had, mostly in terms of improved fitness”
One of the positive aspects of cycling is that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t ridden a bicycle for years or if you are a complete beginner, it should be effortless, enjoyable, and rejuvenating. Cycling is a sport or activity that can be performed by most abilities and is an excellent way to be more active.
Below are 10 advantages of cycling to inspire and motivate you to hop on a bike and start pedalling!
Engaging in simple physical activities such as biking can not only mitigate feelings of sadness but also prevent conditions like diabetes, stroke, heart attack, obesity, and even certain forms of cancer. In this era characterized by a sedentary lifestyle and persistent stress, cycling can not only yield significant health benefits but also act as a mood booster on challenging days.
Outlined below are a few important health benefits associated with cycling:
1. Develops muscle
The resistance element of cycling helps to develop muscle strength. Cycling works all the major muscle groups and helps to enhance core stability. It also works the heart muscle as well!
When it comes to cycling, you might think cardiovascular exercise, not strength. But Beldini says outdoor riding, in particular, can significantly challenge the abdominal muscles and build core stability because you need to balance on the bike. That’s particularly true over rougher terrain, where you’ll have to shift direction often to avoid obstacles.
2. Gentle on joints
Cycling is a low impact exercise which means that it is gentler on our joints than other high impact aerobic activities, such as running.
Higher-impact activities, like jumping and running, create stress on the body that can improve bone density, says Dr. Anand, which is an important part of healthy aging. But just because you prefer cycling doesn’t mean you’re missing out — especially if you go off-road.
3. Cardio exercise
Riding a bike briskly is a form of cardiovascular exercise! It increases the heart rate, gets the blood flowing around the body, reduces blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, and thus lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular or aerobic activity is an important part of physical fitness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PDF) recommends that everyone over 18 should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio each week (or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity cardio), noting that more is linked to more long-term health benefits. Cycling at either intensity is one way to incorporate this type of movement.
4. Enhances balance, posture, and coordination
Riding a bike requires coordination and balance. Cycling up and down hills, going round corners, controlling speed, and so on, develops core strength and, in turn, improves posture, balance, and coordination.
Almost every muscle is utilized while cycling. Leg muscles are utilized the most – for pedaling – but abdomen and back muscles stabilize the body, while the shoulder-arm muscular system supports you at the handlebars. Cycling builds strength all over the body, and as your core muscles improve, so does your balance.
5. Burns calories
Cycling at a steady pace burns approximately 300 calories per hour. Coupled with a healthy diet, regular cycling could aid in weight loss, if that is one of your goals!
Regular, high-intensity cycling can help you lose extra calories and promote healthy weight management. Continuous cycling can burn approximately 300 calories per hour. Moreover, this exercise can increase your metabolism rate, which also helps to burn extra calories and build muscles.
6. Boosts Cardiac Fitness
Lack of physical activity has been shown to increase the risk of chronic illness and mortality. Regular cycling is a healthy way to reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and certain cancers.
Cycling, like other types of aerobic exercise, challenges the heart, lungs, and muscular system in a beneficial way, according to Beldini. That enhances cardiovascular function, including overall circulation and blood pressure, as well as greater utilization of oxygen.
7. Alleviates stress and enhances mental health
Cycling is not only good for our physical health but also great for mental health! It triggers the release of the body’s feel-good hormones, endorphins, which make us feel good. It’s not just physical exercise that promotes mental well-being. Research shows that being outside in the fresh air can lift spirits and help us feel mentally energized.
8. Fits into daily routine easily
There is no preparation, no traveling to a gym, no equipment assembly – getting onto your bicycle and pedaling at any time of day can be as simple as that! And it incurs little or no cost (other than initial purchase and maybe a puncture repair kit!) Whether you choose to use cycling as a means of transportation, recreation, or a workout, it is an accessible form of exercise for the majority of people.
9. Fun, social, and competitive
Cycling can be a solo activity, but it can also expand your social circle by bringing people together. Engaging in a physical activity with other people is a great motivator and can encourage a bit of healthy competition too.
10. A sport for all abilities
Regardless of your age, gender, or physical abilities, most people can enjoy the health benefits of cycling. For example, the hand cycle enables people recovering from certain injuries or health conditions, such as stroke, to exercise. Bicycles are available for almost every type of disability. It can often act as a mobility aid and a mode of transport for people who have difficulty walking or cannot walk at all!
Debunking the myths
Purchasing a bicycle doesn’t have to be expensive. Obviously, depending on what type of bike you choose and how many gadgets you wish to add, there are bicycles to suit most budgets. Much to contrary belief, you don’t pay road tax for riding a bike on the streets and you can’t get points added to your license but you can be fined if riding recklessly or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs! Some people think that cycle lanes in our cities cause congestion! However, where cycle lanes have been introduced, the traffic usually has increased which is why the cycle lanes were installed in the first place! And the more bikes on the road, in theory, the fewer cars!
And finally, you don’t have to be superfit but as discussed above, hopping on a bicycle is a great way to get fit!
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