To be fit and healthy, you need to be physically active. Exercising regularly can protect you against serious illnesses such as obesity, heart problems, cancer, memory problems, diabetes, and arthritis.
Cycling is one of the best ways to avoid the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. Also, it is an excellent sports alternative for children. We’ve made a list of the benefits of cycling for the body and all the other reasons to get started.
Cycling stimulates the brain, improves fitness, and more
Cycling is a healthy, effective exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It’s also fun, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly. Riding your bike to work or the store is one of the most enjoyable ways to combine movement with your daily routine.
Also, an estimated one billion people cycle every day – for transportation, recreation, and sport. In this context, it’s a great idea to dust off your two-wheeled vehicle and get back in shape after confinement following the coronavirus. Experts reveal the main benefits of this sports activity and why it is worth trying.
1. Cycling strengthens muscles
Riding a bicycle not only burns fat, but also strengthens muscles – especially around the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. The bonus is that the higher percentage of muscle makes you burn more calories even when you are at rest.
Being naturally low-impact, cycling allows you to train your body without hitting the gym or investing in-home equipment. Plus, unlike aerobic activities such as running, this type of sport is much gentler on your joints.
2. Cycling improves cardiovascular health
Cycling optimizes the performance of the cardiovascular system by strengthening the heart, reducing the resting pulse, and stimulating circulation throughout the body. Being physically active lowers your risk of heart and circulatory disease. It also helps you build and tone muscles, thus improving your overall physical condition.
3. Cycling promotes a good mood
All types of exercise can promote mental well-being by releasing mood-boosting endorphins. However, “green exercise” which includes physical activities in nature (such as cycling outdoors), is particularly good for mental health and self-esteem.
4. Cycling reduces stress, depression, and anxiety
A study has shown that people with a physically active lifestyle have a well-being score of 32% higher than inactive people. There are indeed so many ways exercise can improve your mood: from releasing adrenaline and endorphins to increasing self-confidence.
Cycling combines sport with the outdoors and exploring new sights. You can pedal solo, giving you time to deal with your worries or concerns, or you can do it in a group, which widens your social circle. Finally, you can train outdoors even in winter.
Moderately intense exercise like cycling has been shown to reduce stress levels, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety. This beneficial effect is due in particular to the decrease in hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
As mentioned before, the social aspect of this activity could be a reason why it is so useful for mental health. Cyclists often meet to cycle together or can join a community club. Also, the mental health benefits are so impressive that doctors are prescribing the sport for their patients.
5. Riding a bicycle is a natural pain reliever
The next time you need paracetamol, consider a quick bike ride instead. The release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine naturally relieves physical and mental pain.
6. Cycling can extend the life
Studies show that cycling can literally add years to your life. Compared to non-cyclists, enthusiasts who spend up to 60 minutes per day on their bike, can enjoy a 20% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality, and 30% if they pedal 100 minutes a day.
7. Cycling strengthens your immune system
Most people know that eating green vegetables can prevent disease, but it turns out that cycling can too. According to a study among 1,000 adults up to the age of 85, exercise has enormous health benefits for the upper respiratory system. For example, people can reduce cold days by about 40% by aerobic exercise almost every day of the week.
Light exercise of this type has the ability to improve the immune system by stimulating the production of essential proteins and arousing lazy white blood cells. Not lastly, commuting to work on a bicycle saves you the chance to encounter germs spreading on buses.
8. Cycling helps you lose weight
The simple equation, when it comes to weight loss, says that calories expended must exceed calories swallowed. You must therefore burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Depending on the intensity and weight of the rider, cycling can remove between 400 and 1000 per hour from your daily intake.
9. Cycling strengthens the spine
You are not a fan of the abdominal plank but you want to get in shape? In fact, cycling isn’t all about leg strength – it also works your core muscles, providing a great workout for your back. A strong trunk and spine have many benefits for overall health.
10. Cycling is an eco-friendly sport
Cycling is a great replacement for common transportation options that involve sitting for long periods of time. This is especially useful when going to places a little too far away to walk still not wanting to take the car. A bonus is not having to fight for a parking space in crowded areas.
Choosing to cycle on your travels helps reduce air pollution, which in turn is good for your heart and lungs. So, decrease your carbon footprint by cycling whenever possible.
11. Reduced risk of cancer
Research has found that regular cycling can lead to a reduction in the overall risk of cancer. According to a study of adult men, 60 minutes of cycling per week reduces your risk of catching the disease by 20%, while 90 to 100 minutes of this physical activity helps you avoid it by 40 to 45%.
12. It is an ideal activity for beginners in sports.
You are never too old (or young) to be in good shape, and cycling is the perfect exercise for getting started. Begin your experience on a stationary bike if you are new or recovering from an injury. Gradually increase the tempo until you are ready to explore the great outdoors. Once you get into the habit of riding a bike, you will be happy to do so.
13. Cyclists have better lung health
A recent study suggests that people who cycle are actually exposed to less dangerous fumes and air pollution than those who travel by car.
14. Cycling saves time
Compare these three experiences:
1. Get in the car, sit during traffic, queue to enter the parking lot, park, pay to park, arrive.
2. Walk to the bus stop, wait, complain about the bus delay, get on it, pay, travel, get to your destination.
3. Get on the bike, go through traffic quickly, lock the vehicle, arrive.
Really, short journeys are a massive contributor to lowering global pollution levels. By getting on the bicycle, you will save on gasoline or public transport, as well as time.
15. Cycling improves navigation skills
In the world of satellite navigation systems and Google Maps, there is sometimes not as much of an incentive to hone your natural sense of direction. Unless you’ve invested in a GPS bike computer, getting out and exploring the lanes can provide you with essential exercise in your mapping skills, giving you (with practice) a better idea of directions as well.
16. Cyclists sleep better
Researchers at the University of Georgia studied men and women aged 20 to 85 over a period of 35 years and found that a decrease in cardiorespiratory fitness of 2% for men and 4% for men. women caused sleep disturbances. Investigating the causes behind this phenomenon, scientists found that the reduction in anxiety, caused by cycling, increased the ability to sleep. Regular exercise also protects against weight gain with age, which is another cause of sleep dysfunction.
17. Riding a bicycle lowers the risk of diabetes
The rate of type 2 diabetes is increasing and is a serious public health problem. Lack of physical activity is believed to be one of the main reasons people develop this disease. Large-scale research in Finland has found that people who cycle for more than 30 minutes per day have a 40% lower risk of facing the problem.
18. It is a suitable sport for people with bone and joint problems.
Unlike running which is a more intense form of exercise, cycling is incredibly gentle on bones and joints. Cycling is a very safe way to stay physically active without making arthritis pain worse. In fact, a large number of patients notice an improvement in their arthritis symptoms when they increase their tone and muscle strength.
Finally, riding a bike also develops balance and coordination. It can really prevent falls and fractures.