For many, riding a bike is seen only as a way to quickly get from one place to the next. Cycling, however, is actually a great cardiovascular exercise that provides your body with a multitude of benefits. It is also an exercise that is easy for almost everyone to do, as it is low-impact and does not require great strength.
Health Benefits of Cycling
Read on to learn more about the many ways in which riding a bike can improve your health.
1. Improves Muscles
Muscles need to be used in order to become stronger and more effective. Cycling works various muscles in your body, but without putting strain on your joints and bones. Cycling for as short as 30 minutes will give your arms and legs a good workout, and increase the flexibility of your muscles.
2. Cardiovascular Health
Of course, cycling also gives you a good cardiovascular workout. Even if you’re not biking up a hill or at an intense pace, the motion still gets your heart rate up, which contributes to a healthier heart. Cycling improves your everyday cardiovascular function, which can help ward off heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
3. Keeps Diabetes Under Control
Diabetes can stem from or lead to a variety of other health concerns, such as kidney disease, ocular diseases, circulation problems, and more. Diabetic patients that are not active also face the risk of losing feeling in or function of the extremities, particularly their feet.
Cycling is an excellent way to ward off any negative side effects of diabetes, and to possibly decrease its effect on your daily life. Activities like cycling can also improve the body’s use and maintenance of glucose in the blood.
4. Improves Energy
As with many other cardiovascular workouts, cycling gives your body a boost of energy that lasts throughout the day. Cycling regularly also improves your body’s stamina and helps to fight off feelings of lethargy and fatigue. Workouts such as bicycling can also improve your overall mood, providing an all-natural and long-lasting pick-me-up.
5. Decrease Stress
Studies suggest that bike riding can reduce stress and feelings of depression. Because cycling can be as low-impact as needed, it is also a great activity to enjoy with a friend, which further contributes to a reduction in negative emotions.
6. Pain Management
Many people who suffer from pain believe they cannot partake in physical activity. Cycling, however, is a great option for those suffering from pain regularly. The motions involved in riding a bike help to alleviate tension and pain throughout the body as it loosens up all the muscles and joints. Cycling is considered an excellent exercise in terms of preventing and treating arthritis as well.
7. Losing Weight
Although many people don’t always think of cycling as a big weight-busting exercise, an individual cycling for an hour (at 10 mph) can burn around 260 calories.
Cycling regularly can also help reduce your risk of cancer, as the more active one is the lower his/her risk. Because cycling is low-impact and is just as effective inside on a stationary bike as it is outside, it is a relatively easy way to improve your health. In addition, it is a workout that many people can stick with and find time for in their day.
Cycling is an excellent workout that provides the benefits of a cardiovascular exercise without the drawbacks (e.g. stress on your joints from running, shin splints from walking on concrete, etc.). If you do decide to take up cycling outdoors, be sure that you are familiar with the bike rules of the road, and wear proper attire and safety gear (yes, this includes a helmet).