People across the world practice cycling as a means of recreation, sport, commuting and also for exercising. Nearly 12.4 percent of Americans cycled in 2016, as per Statista. The number of young cyclists has been rising gradually.
Cycling reduces congestion on roads, reduces noise and air pollution and lesser utilisation of fossil fuels than other means of transportation. You will be surprised to know that other than these advantages, cycling has some amazing health benefits too. Let us take a look at them.
1. Cycling strengthens the cardiovascular system:
Cycling works your cardiovascular system and boosts your metabolism. Provided, of course, that you pedal at the right intensity!
Newcomers often make the mistake of riding too fast while cycling. Hop in the saddle and full speed ahead – this is usually what people think. But this is the wrong approach if you want to improve your health in the long run. Choosing the right intensity and duration is very important.
Cycling is good for your heart: It is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. As an endurance sport, cycling can be exceptionally good for cardiovascular fitness while also helping with weight loss.
2. Cycling is good for your muscles:
Riding a bike is great for formation and shaping up of your muscles, especially in the lower half of the body – your calves, your thighs and your rear end. It’s also a great low-impact mode of exercise for those with joint conditions or injuries to the legs or hips, which might keep them from being active.
We all know that cycling is a fantastic workout for our muscles, but do you know which muscles do we work on while we’re riding a bike?
- Leg muscles used while cycling:
- Quadriceps muscles (front of thighs)
- Hamstrings (rear of thigh)
- Calf muscles
- Hip flexors
- Gluteus Maximus (your butt)
- Plantarflexion of the foot
- Dorsiflexes of the foot
- Together all of these muscles contract in a sequence that creates the pedalling motion.
3. Cycling is good for your waistline:
You can burn a lot of calories while biking, especially when you cycle faster than a leisurely pace. Cycling has been associated with helping to keep weight gain down.
It is an aerobic exercise, which is the kind of exercise you need to perform to lose fat on any part of your body. Aerobic exercise burns many calories and the key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume.
You need to perform heart-rate-raising exercises like cycling that burn abundant calories and reduce your total body mass. Cycling will help you get rid of that excess fat but only in combination with a healthy diet.
4. Cycling is good to recover from injury:
A recent study found that elderly patients with knee pain and osteoarthritis actually improved their condition when cycling was introduced to their routines, proving that as we get older, taking time to exercise—even just spinning a few minutes a day can be hugely beneficial.
5. Cycling improves coordination:
Moving both feet around in circles while steering with both your hands and your body’s own weight is good practice for your coordination skills.
6. Cycling is good for your mental health:
With the incursion of social media into every facet of our lives, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have a positive view of our own lives while constantly being bombarded by the achievements of others. So if you need a cure for the Instagram blues, bicycling has your back.
A meta-analysis of studies on physical activity and self-esteem determined that the former has a positive impact on the latter and the impact was not significantly altered by the intensity or duration of physical activity. So just a little cruise here or a few days biking to work there can have an overall positive impact on your perception of yourself. And why shouldn’t it, you’re wonderful!
7. Cycling is good for your immune system:
Cycling can strengthen your immune system and could protect against certain kinds of cancers. Cycling raises your heart rate and gets the blood pumping round your body. It burns calories limiting your chances of being overweight.
As a result, it’s among a selection of forms of exercise recommended by the NHS as being healthy ways to cut your risk of developing major illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
So, cycling is definitely a great activity for some fun and to keep yourself fit!
Ann Hawkins is a traveller and adventurer. She writes about her adventurous experiences and is associated with routines.