Cycling is a low-impact aerobic exercise that offers numerous benefits. It also varies in intensity, making it suitable for all levels. You can cycle as a mode of transportation, casual activity, or an intense, competitive endeavour.
Cycling is a great exercise that keeps you active. It can help shape a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.
Read on to take a look at some of the ways cycling can improve your fitness level and well-being.
1. Weight Management
Cycling habitually, especially at a high intensity, helps lower body fat levels, which promotes healthy weight management. Plus, you’ll increase your metabolism and build your muscles, allowing you to burn more calories even at rest.
2. Increases Your Leg Strength
Cycling improves overall function in your lower body and strengthens your leg muscles without overstretching. It targets your quads, hips, hamstrings, and calves.
To make your legs even stronger, try weightlifting exercises like squats, leg presses and lunges a few times a week to further improve your cycling performance.
3. A Simple Tool for Beginners
Cycling is simple. Stationary bikes are a great alternative if you have difficulty with a standard bike.
If you’re new to fitness, returning from an injury or illness, you can cycle at low intensity. As you gain more form, you can increase the intensity or continue cycling at a cool pace.
4. Basic Exercises
Cycling also works your core muscles, including your back and abs. Keeping your body upright and keeping the bike in position requires a certain amount of core strength.
Strong abdominal and back muscles support your spine, increase stability and increase comfort while cycling.
5. Boosts Mental Health
Cycling can relieve feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. Focusing on the road while cycling helps increase concentration and awareness of the present moment. This can help take your focus away from the mental conversation of the day.
If you feel lethargic or carefree, ride your bike for at least 10 minutes. Exercise releases endorphins that help you feel better while lowering stress levels.
You can feel more confident and satisfied when you make cycling a regular part of your life.
6. May Help People With Cancer
Cycling is a great addition to your care plan if you have or are recovering from cancer. Cycling can also keep you lean and fit, which can lower your risk for certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.
According to research from 2019, staying active if you have breast cancer can help reduce the side effects of cancer treatment, including fatigue, and improve your overall quality of life.
7. A Positive Start To Your Morning
Start your day with a healthy activity like cycling that wakes you up by increasing your circulation and allows you to start the day with a sense of accomplishment.
As the day progresses, you may feel more inclined to make healthy and positive choices.
Low-intensity fasting morning rides can burn fat, improve endurance performance, and boost your energy and metabolism levels all day.
A 2019 study found that people who exercised before breakfast for 6 weeks increased their response to insulin, which helped them burn twice as much fat as those who exercised after breakfast.
8. Prevents and Manages Medical Conditions
Regular exercise is important if you want to prevent the emergence of health problems or manage existing conditions. Regular cycling is a way to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and its accompanying health problems.
It can help prevent heart problems such as stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Cycling can also help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.
Reduce your carbon footprint by cycling as much as possible.
Cycling perfectly replaces transportation options that involve sitting in traffic for long periods of time. It’s especially useful when you go to places that are a bit far to walk, but you still don’t want to take a car.
A bonus is not having to fight for parking in crowded areas.
10. Improves Balance, Posture and Coordination
You stabilize your body and improve your overall balance, coordination and posture while keeping your bike upright. Balance tends to decline with age and inactivity, so staying on top of it is vital.
Improved balance is beneficial in preventing falls and fractures that can put you on the sidelines as you take time to recover from exercise.
11. It Is A Low-Impact Option
Cycling is easy on your body, making it a gentle option for people who want an intense workout without stressing their joints. Cycling is a great option for people with joint concerns or general stiffness, especially in the lower body.
Drawbacks and Safety
Cycling has a few downsides to consider.
A serious disadvantage is the risk of accidents, whether in the urban or rural area. Whenever possible, take lanes reserved for cyclists and neighboring streets.
Always obey the traffic rules. Even if you have the right of way, be careful when driving through intersections and busy areas. Invest in a quality helmet and other protective equipment you may need.
Avoid loose clothing that can get caught in your bike chains. Get reflective gear as well as bike lights for night cycling.
If it’s a long way to commute by bike, consider changing clothes to freshen up.
Bad weather can also be a hindrance. On days when outdoor cycling is not possible, you can ride a stationary bike or choose another activity. If cycling is your mode of transportation, invest in rain and cold weather gear.
For long daytime rides, use sunscreen on all fair skins. Reapply every 2 hours, especially if you are sweating. Wear UV-protective sunglasses and a hat. Consider investing in UV protective clothing.
Air pollution is another concern if you’re cycling in a city. On clear days, you can choose to cycle or ride on less congested roads.
Cycling Every Day
Cycling is possible every day, especially if you use your bike for transportation or if you ride at low intensity.
Take a break if you’re experiencing pain, fatigue, or muscle pain. If you’re cycling for fitness, you may want to give yourself at least 1 full day of rest each week.
This is especially important if you ride at a high intensity or if you find that your body aches in certain ways.
Who Shouldn’t Ride a Bike?
If you have any injuries that cycling will affect, it is best to stay off the bike until you have fully recovered.
Talk to your doctor if you have any conditions that cycling can affect. People with concerns about balance, vision or hearing may prefer a stationary or adaptive bike.
If you don’t want to ride a bike but want a similar workout to your body, opt for a rowing, stair climber or elliptical machine. You can also run, swim or walk the hills.
Long Story Short
Cycling is an enjoyable way to stay healthy and in touch with the world around you.
If the weather is in your favour, hop on your bike and go the distance. Cycling is a great way to explore your area. It beats the feeling of boredom that can also come from repetitive exercises.
Just cycling safe and be careful when necessary, especially on busy roads or inclement weather. Appreciate the satisfaction that comes with improving your fitness while having fun.