You know sometimes we feel like our younger selves would be very disappointed if they got to see us now. Unhealthy, with no hair, and let’s just say not the optimal weight either. Exercise is very important to lead a healthy life.
Besides, you don’t exercise just for yourself, but also for your family and kids. You need to be healthy and see them blossom into the kind of person you want them to be.
So, here is all you need to know about what are the benefits of cycling? Some medical benefits are just simply impossible to ignore. On top of that, there are cool non-medical ones as well.
One thing we can tell you is, after reading this, you might just change your view on cycling once and for all.
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Top 14 Benefits of Cycling You Can’t Ignore!
So, what are the benefits of cycling, and why do you care? Turns out, there are quite a lot of benefits of cycling that are impossible to let go of. If you can’t already get some physical activity squeezed into your routing, maybe cycling can be an option.
It’s fun, and you can also do it with your friends and family. Plus, cycling also serves the practical use of being a form of transportation as well. Here are 14 phenomenal benefits of cycling you need to know.
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It Improves Mental Well-being
This is a big one. Our lives are now busier than ever. Not much care is put on mental health issues compared to, say, other physical issues. That’s sad to hear, but it’s a fact.
Let’s clarify something here. Cycling isn’t the direct reason that improves mental well-being actually. Studies have shown that people who are physically active in general tend to score more on well-being tests. They’re happier.
Cycling is one such activity that can help you become happier. How it works is pretty interesting as well. When you do a fun physical activity (and yes, cycling is a fun physical activity), you release endorphins and other chemicals. These will give your mood a boost.
Plus, there is also the feeling of achieving something new, especially if you’re into competitive cycling.
What’s also true about cycling is you aren’t just locked in a gym and exerting yourself. You get to see the view outside, take in the sunlight, and it can also be a very social activity. All of these combined makes for a great list of benefits for your mental health.
On top of that, cycling is a low-impact exercise. That means it won’t put too much pressure on your joints. Compared to running, cycling will lead to fewer injuries.
And it isn’t just us saying this either. Scientists proved that runners actually suffer more from inflammation and muscle damage. But make sure to get a personal bike fit to get the most out of your cycling sessions.
It Helps Build Muscle Mass
We see you smiling reading this part. Want to impress that crush of yours with a well-toned masculine form? Hey, you do you, we aren’t here to judge. What we can do is give you some solid, straight-up facts.
Cycling has a resistance training element to it. This creates heat and friction and helps you burn fat which in turn also builds leg muscles. Your glute muscles will be Instagram-worthy if we say so ourselves.
Not only the glutes area, though. You will have pretty well-defined muscles on your calves, hamstrings, and even quads.
Cycling Can Help You Lose Weight
If it can help you build muscles, then it’s no surprise to anyone that cycling is great for losing weight. Maybe you’re at the other end of the spectrum that wants to lose weight and not build muscle.
Cycling is a cardio workout, and cardio workouts can help burn fat. The golden rule of weight loss you need to remember here is the number of intake calories should be less than calories out.
In other words, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Do you see where we are going with this? Cycling burns calories. Quite a lot of calories. Expect to burn about 400 to 1000 calories per hour, depending on how intensely you cycle.
We are going to be honest with you here. Do not take cycling as the only means to lose weight. That just simply isn’t the right way to look at this. A lot of other factors matter as well – the quality of sleep, the type of calories you take in, and a lot of other things.
Strengthens Your Bones
Muscle building is one thing. How about some solid bones? As we already mentioned, cycling is a resistance workout/activity. The peddling will pull on the muscles, which also pulls on the bones.
This will lead to increased bone density. And when it comes to bone density, the strength of the bones will also increase if you have a higher density. But it isn’t that much compared to other exercises. Weight training is still recommended if you want to really increase bone density.
Improves Your Lung Health
Oh, we aren’t anywhere close to done telling you what are the benefits of cycling. A study was done by the Camden Council, Healthy Air Campaign, King’s College found some pretty interesting stuff.
It concluded that cyclists are exposed to a whopping 5 times less air pollution compared to people who travel by busses or cars. It’s actually quite different from what you would expect. But science is science!
You Can Use It As a Transport
Let’s take a break from the medical benefits of cycling for a bit and dive into the practical benefits cycling has. We are sure this is to no surprise to anyone when we say cycling can be used as transport, duh!
But hear us out here. It just isn’t a form of transport, but in some cases, it can be faster. You don’t have to worry about being stuck in a car and traffic jams.
There is no need to refuel. The only thing you need to ‘fuel’ is yourself, which can also be a good opportunity to grab a healthy snack anyway.
Now, when you count all the health benefits (which we aren’t done mentioning yet), cycling is looking pretty good to be considered the best mode of travel. Of course, we understand it isn’t the best mode of transport for all situations.
If your destination is far, yes, a cycle won’t cut it. But for small commutes, it’s a perfect option. Although we do feel obliged to say if you’re going to use a cycle to zoom around, make sure to be safe and follow city rules.
Cars on the roads aren’t known to be the most considerate to cyclists or bikers, for that matter. So, why not be a better person and follow the traffic rules to stay safe.
You can also wear a portable camera like a GoPro. A lot of cyclists wear a GoPro when they’re out so they can record everything that’s happening around them. When something does go wrong, you will have video evidence.
And it’s most definitely better for the environment as well. Cycling doesn’t exhaust harmful fumes either. So, that’s a win-win right there. You can cut back on your carbon footprint a lot by cycling on short journeys and commutes.
Cycling Helps Reduce the Risk of Heart Diseases and Being Overweight
Yep, you read that right. Are you convinced yet? This point is somewhat related to the weight loss one, though. Since cycling is a physical activity, it gets the blood flowing and also burns calories which reduces the chances of you being overweight in the first place.
This also makes it one of the most recommended ways of reducing heart diseases as well by the National Health Service (NHS). In fact, studies were done by the University of Glasgow—which worked with 260,000 people over a span of 5 years—showed that cycling to work could cut heart disease risk by half.
By half! Did you read it right? We just wanted to make sure.
Cycling Can Also Help You Sleep Better
Many of us have trouble sleeping. Even if you go to sleep at a reasonable time, you may still be tired in the morning. That can be because the quality of the sleep wasn’t as good as it should have been.
Being fit naturally helps you sleep better. One study found that a drop in fitness level of just 2% in men and 4% in women will result in sleep problems. That’s where cycling comes in.
Since it’s a way to be healthy, cycling can help you get fit and then sleep better as well. This is because exercise helps you deal with anxiety and a lot of other things.
And better sleep is something everyone craves for. Your days will be more productive, and you’ll just be in a better mood overall. We don’t think there is any argument against good sleep – that would be quite insane.
You Get Better at Navigation
Some people just have a bad sense of direction. There is just no other way of putting it. And mobile phones with GPS and services like Google Maps don’t help that issue either.
They may use the maps to go to their destination, but take away all the gadgets, and they will be lost in an instant. If you cycle the right way without the help of gadgets and maps, it can improve your sense of direction.
You’ll at least know your neighborhood better at the very least, which isn’t a bad start. Taking in the information of where you are and where everything else in your area is can be a good exercise for your directional skills.
Cycling Is Easy to Pick Up
Perhaps one of the best things about cycling is despite having so many benefits, anyone can pick it up and get good at it. It’s a very learnable skill. If you have never cycled before, you can get started with just 1 week of practice, max.
There are different types of cycles to help complete beginners, like balancing wheels and other cool features. Cycling is also good for people who have been taking a break from fitness, for whatever the reason might be.
A low-intensity cycling workout can be just the thing that will slowly get them back in the fitness game.
Cycling Can Battle Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer amongst women in the States. Actually, it’s the most common type of cancer in women worldwide. Cycling can help you fight this deadly and unforgiving disease.
Staying active will not only help you reduce the side effects of cancer treatment but also reduce the risk of having breast cancer in the first place.
It Gives You a Boost To Your Mornings
When you do low-intensity cycling in the morning, your day will just go better. You’ll have more blood circulation and also be more motivated to make healthier choices during the day.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be inclined to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Your energy levels throughout the day can also be higher when you cycle in the morning, which will make your day more productive. Not a bad thing if you have wanted a promotion from the boss.
Improves Balance and Coordination
As you grow older, your sense of balance and coordination will start to decline. Cycling has a lot to do with keeping balance (unless you’re using training wheels).
This helps improve your sense of balance and coordination overall. Good balance might not sound like a sexy thing to have. But it makes sure you’re more grounded and less clumsy, which will reduce the risk of accidental trips and falls.
Lastly, cycling is just plain fun. You don’t need to do something just because there are a lot of medical and other benefits to it. Someone can do something just because it’s fun.
And cycling is both fun and happens to have a ton of benefits. You can block out a couple of hours in your week for cycling. This can be a social activity or a solo one.
Either gather up your friends and cycle for a couple of miles or just take in the view and enjoy the solitude when cycling alone. Make sure to keep an eye on the road, though.
Important Things To Consider
As good as cycling is, there are, of course, some things you need to consider. First and foremost is safety. A cycle is a very open form of transport. It doesn’t do much to protect the rider.
Make sure to always wear protective gear at all times. We can’t stress this enough. Helmets aren’t cool. But being fed through a pipe while you’re in a wheelchair because you’re paralyzed after an accident isn’t cool either.
Follow Traffic Rules and Look Out for Other Cars
We have already mentioned before that when on the road, make sure you follow the rules. Do you know who Jeremy Clarkson is? If you don’t, he was a famous presenter on the hit car show Top Gear.
Clarkson has a reputation for famously hating cyclists. Maybe it’s because they don’t follow the rules and are always zooming in through the tightest of spaces.
Don’t be that cyclist. Be the kind and considerate one who happens to be doing something that has a lot of benefits.
You also need to keep an eye out for other cars. Some drivers on the road won’t be too considerate of bikers or cyclists. So, even if you might be following the rules, other drivers might not be.
Make Sure Cycling Won’t Affect Your Health in a Negative Way
Although cycling has many great benefits, it can also harm you. If you have any injuries that will be worsened by cycling, you should really consult a doctor before.
Also, if you have suffered a joint problem or have poor vision or balance, maybe address those first and wait to completely recover.
Cycling every day is fine if it’s low intensity. Don’t over-exert yourself, though. Rest if you feel tired, sore, or experience pain.1 day of rest is the minimum for people who are cycling regularly for fitness.
If you have any medical conditions like heart disease or arthritis, make sure to consult a doctor.
There you go. Now, you know what are the benefits of cycling. But don’t just force yourself to cycle just for the benefits. Yes, there are a lot of benefits, but you also need to enjoy cycling.
Try it out, though, if you haven’t been thinking seriously about cycling. The benefits might be enough to convince you, but trust us, once you start and get the hang of it, it’s exhilarating. Not to mention, the excitement is even more if you have a buddy to cycle with.
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