Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Cycling is such a versatile form of exercise that you can adapt to your lifestyle and goals. There’s no doubt that it gained popularity, given its various benefits for your physical and mental health.
Biking is often associated with a fun childhood pastime or a way to strengthen your leg muscles and improve your mobility, but you’ll learn that it’s much more than that. Apart from being a viable mode of transportation, riding a bicycle can take you out of your daily routine. People nowadays tend to use their cars excessively, even for the most basic tasks. But pedalling can show them that there’s also another way of getting around.
Curious about how cycling can benefit you? Here’s all you need to know about the various advantages of pedalling, and many more:
Improved cardiovascular health
As reported by Mayo Clinic, 10 minutes of cycling a day can improve your fitness level, including cardiovascular health. It’s already known that pedalling is an excellent form of cardio, but you don’t have to do that only at the gym – outdoor biking is also beneficial for your heart health. But how does it work? Well, regular cycling reduces blood pressure and delivers oxygen to your working muscles, making it possible to use them effectively.
Apart from high blood pressure, common causes of heart disease include a poor diet, diabetes, high cholesterol, and inactivity. So, if you lack physical activity, you may want to change your habits and consider cycling as part of your daily routine.
Studies show that cycling can burn about 300 calories per hour, depending on each individual’s body type. Biking proves to be an efficient way to reduce body fat and mass, build muscle, and improve metabolic rate. That’s one of the reasons many people choose these sports over any other form of exercise. Depending on the intensity, you can burn more than 300 calories per hour, but make sure you’re trained enough before embarking on an hour ride. You also need to be cautious about the number of calories burnt to avoid a calorie deficit. A healthy, balanced diet and little exercise can work miracles, but it’s up to you how much you engage in this activity.
Pedalling can also improve your self-esteem, and it’s pretty logical since it helps with weight management. Feeling comfortable in your skin is directly related to your level of self-confidence. It’s not about fat or thin anymore – it’s about health. And exercise does improve your health. Not to mention the number of feel-good hormones (endorphins) released every time you finish a ride – it makes you feel like the whole world is at your feet.
Maybe you didn’t expect that, but cycling is also beneficial for your mental health. Besides making for a peaceful escape, which leads to stress relief, riding a bike is also a mood booster. A 2017 study shows that people choosing to cycle to work are at lower risk of being overwhelmed by anxious thoughts. The explanation is that, while pedalling, you’re more focused on the road than the everyday mental chatter. As we already mentioned, the level of endorphins in your body is higher when exercising, so you’re likely to forget about the daily stress and start focusing on the present moment, which is the only time that really matters.
The health benefits of cycling are real, but so are injuries. Whether you choose to cycle to get fit, have less impact on the environment, or get to work, it’s paramount to be careful on the road. Consider wearing cycling clothes, as their bright colours help other cyclists or drivers spot you and avoid a collision. More often than not, accidents happen from negligence, either yours or others. Maybe you can’t stop them from occurring, but you can minimise the risk of exposure. Therefore, besides cycling clothes, take into account wearing a helmet and using a padded saddle for better comfort. Don’t also forget about choosing a suitable bicycle that doesn’t put too much stress on your body. If you have certain medical issues, don’t hesitate to ask for professional advice regarding bicycle riding.
But accidents are unpredictable, so it’s not a safe bet that you would never be involved in one. In such situations, it’s helpful to know that you can make a bicycle accident claim and get compensation for the damage. Maybe this will not get you rid of pain, but it will help with the recovery and all the treatments costs (if any).
Lowered risk of cancer
No one wants to hear the name of this cruel disease, but unfortunately, it’s very common among individuals of all ages. No matter in what form, cancer is a heartbreaking disease that it’s hard to handle. Even though it’s not up to you (sometimes it’s all about genetics), at least you can prevent it from occurring by adopting a healthy diet (broccoli, berries, beans, nuts, etc.) and doing regular exercise. All these help with height management, and when it comes to cancer prevention, weight management should be on the top of your priorities list.
Cycling is also believed to increase your longevity due to the fact that it strengthens your immune system. There are research-backed health benefits of biking that shouldn’t be ignored, such as increased production of vital proteins and activity of white blood cells and improved lung health, which leads to fewer chances of getting the common cold.
Less impact on the environment
Last but not least, cycling has a positive impact on the environment. With so much air pollution, it’s crucial to be more careful of your means of transportation. The level of greenhouse gas emissions continues to get higher and higher every day, which does nothing but harm the planet. According to the BBC, the average diesel car on the road in the UK produces 173g of carbon dioxide (CO2)/km, which can only be alarming. One thing is for sure: we all need to mobilise and choose other means of transportation. In this case, biking is an excellent alternative to a car, especially when taken for shorter distances.
Here are the science-based benefits of bicycle riding. We hope they’re enough to make you change your daily habits and hop on a bike – you’ll know the advantages right away!