Cycling is the one activity that combines endless fun with plenty of exercise for the body. It gets you from point A to point B while burning calories and giving you a good cardio workout. If you’re considering taking up cycling, here are some interesting things you should know about it.
10 Amazing Benefits of Cycling That Everyone Should Reap
Here are some health benefits of cycling exercise that should compel you to use your bicycle more.
1. Promotes Health and Builds Muscle
One of the advantages of cycling daily is that it is a full body workout as it involves the usage of all the muscles starting from the arms to the feet. It helps burn fat, promotes sweating and gives a good cardio work out for anyone who cycles for more than 20 minutes. Since there is varying resistance involved in cycling, it also promotes the building of muscles which strengthen the legs, back, and shoulders. The increase in muscle mass also helps burn more fat even while at rest.
2. Promotes Mental Well-being
It is well established that people who regularly exercise generally have good mental well being. One study showed that people who had an active lifestyle involving exercises of different kinds including cycling scored 32 percent higher than sedentary individuals. Exercise has the effect of boosting the mood through the release of endorphins which are natural pain killers the body needs to heal. These chemicals boost our mood and help us feel good throughout the day. Cycling in the open is also helpful for people who suffer from depression.
3. Helps With Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, the math is quite simple. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. When you are cycling for weight loss you should know that the more strenuous the cycling is, the more you’ll burn. Cycling in the countryside will help you burn anywhere between 400 to 1000 calories depending on how long you are at it and the difficulty of the terrain. Try cycling in different places every day for a new challenge to your body and burn more calories.
4. Reduces Stress
Stress is the cause of a number of diseases among people. It leads to weight gain, diabetes, asthma, anxiety, digestion problems, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, depression and many more. Cycling is a good work out that helps you beat stress while improving your physical well-being. Going for bicycle rides in the countryside with changing scenery and beautiful new views has a positive effect on your mood and reduces stress.
5. Improves Brain Function
Cycling in the outdoors involves the coordination of mind and body with split-second decision-making skills. Riding well requires you to stay focused and pay attention to everything that comes your way and hence boots the brain function. This activity seems demanding on the outside, but in reality it is very effective in clearing the mind to help you relax. It also promotes the growth of new cells in the hippocampus part of the brain which further protects you from neuro-degenerative diseases.
6. Improves Fitness
Regular cycling helps maintain overall physical fitness. Riding on mountain terrains or plains work all your muscles to burn the surrounding fat. The best cycling exercise for reducing tummy is to go off-road on a dirt trail, so it works the abdominal muscles and burns fat. Cycling also improves stamina, flexibility, lung capacity, bone strength, and muscle mass. Unlike other forms of workout, cycling doesn’t feel like you’re putting effort into exercise as all the muscle groups in the body tend to work in coordination.
7. Helps Improve Sleep
It shouldn’t surprise you that after a good workout session, you can sleep better. Physical fitness is directly related to the quality of sleep, and cycling every day promotes good sleep. It is especially effective among those who have insomnia and lead sedentary lives. Although the best time to go for a ride is in the evening, cycling anytime during the day is great for helping you fall asleep.
8. It Is an Excellent Means of Commute
There are a number of benefits of cycling to work. To begin with, cycling to work is healthy. You get plenty of exercise on the way to work which also has the added benefit of keeping your mind sharp and alert throughout the day. Everyday commute on a motor vehicle can consume a chunk of your money in the form of fuel expenses and not to mention; it pollutes the environment. Finally, if you are in a crowded city, commuting via bicycle can be faster than public transport or a car as you won’t be held back by traffic.
9. Builds Your Social Circle
If you often commute on bicycles, there’s a good chance you will run into like-minded people. Cycling clubs are a great place to meet new people and grow your social circle. Bicycling with old friends is also a good way to have a great time with people close to you.
10. Improves Overall Productivity
Bicycling refreshes your mind every day and keeps the body healthy. Both of these contribute a better sense of well being and increased productivity whether it is at work or school.
Safety Tips to Consider While Cycling
Similar to all other exercises, there are safety tips you need to keep in mind.
- Invest in good protective gear such as a helmet, elbow and knee guards. You will need it.
- Wear the high-tech fibre clothing designed for cycling. It dispenses the sweat better, and the material is usually reflective, making you more visible to others on the road.
- Buy a bicycle with good suspension and broad tyres that grip the road well.
- Use horseshoe saddles for better comfort and re-distribute pressure from the hips. Set the handle and seat height for proper posture.
- Avoid listening to loud music while on the road.
- Follow the traffic rules.
- Exercise caution every time you take a turn or switch lanes. Always use hand signals.
- Always carry enough water with you.
- Use reflective decals or install a strobe light in the back.
- Watch out for cars that pull over ahead of you; they might open their doors without warning.
1. How Much Should You Cycle Daily for Best Results?
The time that you need to spend cycling depends on how much you plan to burn through the exercise every day and what your calorie intake is. On an average, 1 hour of bicycling is good enough for most people to gain the health benefits from the exercise. Steady and regular cycling burns about 300 calories per hour, and it is estimated that burning at least 2000 calories per week through exercise is beneficial to health. For those who can’t do an hour, the health benefits of cycling 15 minutes a day rigorously is enough to keep them healthy.
2. Cycling Versus Running, Which Is Better?
Both cycling and running give the body good exercise and work different sets of muscles. However, running is a high impact exercise and more strenuous on the body and is not suitable for everyone. Cycling is a gentler way to burn more calories every day compared to running.
Cycling is a highly effective exercise that is both fun and helps burn a lot of calories. Regular cycling has numerous health benefits which makes it a perfect exercise for people of all ages.