10 Wonderful Health Benefits of Cycling
Whether you’re racing along the highway on a road bike, careening down trails on a mountain bike, or enjoying a sunny afternoon on a beach cruiser, your time cycling is more than just fun. Cycling is one of the best activities for your health.
There’s plenty of research that demonstrates the importance of regular exercise for not only maintaining good health but also preventing disease. An increasing amount of that research points specifically to the benefits of cycling. A study out of the University of Glasgow published in the British Medical Journal reported that individuals who cycled to work had a lower risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Even just mixing up your commute with walking and cycling had better results than walking alone. The study also reported that cycling greater distances increased those benefits.
Not only is cycling a smart move when it comes to prevention, but it will also literally make you smarter. A study based in the Netherlands showed that cycling improves the density and integrity of white matter in your brain. White matter connects the different parts of your grey matter. The white matter you have, the faster your brain works, increasing your decision-making ability.
But that’s not all. Another study showed that cycling boosted a protein responsible for regulating stress, mood, and memory, which can help stave off depression and anxiety.
When it comes to bone and muscle health, cycling is right there with the best exercises. Because cycling isn’t a load-bearing exercise, it’s easy on the joints. “That makes it good for anyone with joint pain or age-related stiffness,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
While you’re riding, you’re building buttocks, thighs, and calves, as well as hitting your abdominals, arms, and shoulders. That additional strength and muscle have added benefits. “The benefits carry over to balance, walking, standing, endurance, and stair climbing,” explains Dr. Safran-Norton. You’ll also be strengthening your bones. “Resistance activities, such as pushing pedals, pull on the muscles, and then the muscles pull on the bone, which increases bone density.”
The physical benefits of cycling don’t outpace the mental benefits. “It’s socially oriented, it’s fun, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Safran-Norton. Dr. Rachel Aldred’s report “Benefits of Investing in Cycling” adds that populations where more people cycle are healthier, happier, more social, less isolated, and more welcoming to others.
What’s more, an increasing number of charities use cycling events to raise funds, so while you’re reaping the health benefits, you’ll be helping those in need. Not only does cycling help you feel better physically, but you’ll also feel better about others and yourself.
Cycling isn’t just for speedsters, thrill-seekers, or family outings. This sport benefits all participants in more ways than one short article can enumerate. The good news is that you’re just a pedal away from having all those benefits for yourself.
10 Wonderful Health Benefits of Cycling
- Bicycle is a novel and effective way to burn extra calories. For every hour of riding in the city, you can lose up to 500 calories. There is no doubt that you will be able to get rid of excess fat accumulated in your body.
- Riding a bicycle for 20 minutes every day helps improve cardiovascular functions and lowers blood pressure. Cycling for at least 30 minutes helps reduce your resting heart rate by 5 percent. This will increase the effectiveness of physical exercise as well as lower stress levels. What else do we need?
- Physically active people are always more positive about their lives and feel healthy than less active individuals. The same applies here: cycling improves short-term memory, concentration ability, and mood due to the increased activity in the brain.
- A bicycle can help you avoid going to a gym or buying expensive fitness equipment. In addition, riding a bike can be an effective exercise for pregnant women or those who suffer from back pain (there are lots of exercises that target specific body parts). The only thing you need is good weather and fresh air. You will notice the positive effect after just two weeks of riding regularly.
- Cycling helps with weight control. This method works like magic when it comes to losing extra pounds – your body fat gets burned faster due to increased levels of stress hormones and adrenaline produced during physical activity. Therefore, cycling is worth considering if you want to lose weight easily and quickly without much effort.
- Biking will improve your mood and relieve stress. Riding a bicycle is an effective way to reduce fatigue and restore energy – after every ride, you will feel more energetic, awake, and cheerful. You will also be able to learn how to control stress with the help of physical activity – cycling helps reduce levels of cortisol, one of the main stress hormones.
- Cycling helps strengthen your muscles and bones. That’s right: in addition to burning extra calories, cycling strengthens muscles (often neglected by most people) and bones, which makes it an effective way to prevent osteoporosis. As a result, you can maintain flexibility, mobility, and good posture.
- Cycling is closely associated with better mental health since cycling requires concentration and attention. If you are tired of reading (how many times have we heard this?), try switching to physical activity instead – it helps develop memory skills, learn new information faster, and think clearly.
- Biking is a great way to save money as well as protect the environment. Because the cost of gasoline and maintenance has become very significant, it is much more reasonable and ecologically friendly to cycle to work instead.
- Cycling can be both a team-building activity (most workplaces offer specific cycling challenges) as well as an excellent way to spend quality time with your children or friends on weekends. It’s also a great idea to plan biking trips together to see more of your city.
These are just some of the many health benefits associated with regular cycling – which one will you add first in your life?
All we need now is a bicycle. Once you get used to riding one, there is no stopping you: health benefits alone make it worth every cent spent on this purchase. No more excuses for staying at home. Start your adventure today by getting a bicycle and making your life full of positive changes.