Cycling benefits for your health

Cycling benefits for your health

Summer is here and so is the most active cycling season. We’re sure you’ve already prepared your cycling shorts, maybe even managed to get the classic cyclist-tan on your legs and arms, prepared the best SPF body lotion, found the best looking sunglasses, polished your bicycle bell (ok, this might be just for some) and are ready for the summer cycling adventures to begin.
This time we decided to take an in-depth look at the health benefits of cycling, since there has to be more than just the amazing feeling, wide smile on your face, passion for exploring and being part of the most eco-friendly community!
Firstly, let’s start with a disclaimer, that in case you have not been cycling before, you should definitely consult your doctor before hopping on your bike, especially if you have heart disease, arthritis, or thinning bones.

Cycling is a great choice of activity, since it varies in intensity, making it suitable for all levels. You can cycle in a slow, relaxing and enjoyable mode, while appreciating the nature or city around you, or you can opt for an intense, competitive mode that makes you compete with the speed of light!

Ok, so let’s cut to the case- what are the best health benefits of cycling? Well, to name a few:

     1. Weight management

Cycling regularly, especially at a high intensity, helps lower body fat levels, which helps you to keep a healthy weight. It will also help you to increase your metabolism and build muscle, which allows you to burn more calories, even while at rest.  

Half an hour ride to work should be burning between 200 and 500 calories.

It also builds muscle - particularly around the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves


     2. Cycling improves mental health

A study by the YMCA showed that people who had a physically active lifestyle had a wellbeing score 32% higher than inactive individuals.

There are countless ways how exercise can boost your mood: there's the basic release of adrenaline and endorphins, and the undeniable confidence that comes from achieving new benchmarks (such as completing a challenge or getting closer to that goal).

Cycling can ease feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. Focusing on the road while you’re cycling helps develop concentration and awareness of the present moment. This may help take your focus away from problems or stress you had during the day. It will also improve your brain power, since it stimulates blood flow in the brain.

Exercise that raises your heart rate, like cycling, dramatically increases the production of nitric oxide (a potent vasodilator) and neurotrophins (growth factors) such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor and a protein named noggin, which promotes stem cell division and new brain cell formation.


     3. Cycling can strengthen your immune system

Dr. David Nieman and his colleagues at Appalachian State University studied 1000 adults up to the age of 85. They found that exercise had huge benefits on the health of the upper respiratory system - and its reducing chances of the common cold.

Dr. David Nieman and his colleagues at Appalachian State University studied 1000 adults up to the age of 85. They found that exercise had huge benefits on the health of the upper respiratory system - and its reducing chances of the common cold.

 And, of course, not only cycling can do this, but cycling is one of the most enjoyable physical activities, that allows you to combine healthy sport with leisure, traveling or just spending time with family and friends.


     4. There’s no better way to start your morning

Start your day with a healthy activity like cycling, which wakes you up by improving your blood circulation and allows you to start your day with a sense of accomplishment. It will probably lead you to make more healthy choices during the day, like - a healthy meal or drinking enough water, taking a rest when needed, etc.

Quick morning rides at a low intensity may burn fat, enhance endurance performance, and boost your energy and metabolism levels all day.

A 2019 study found that people who exercised before breakfast for 6 weeks improved their response to insulin, which helped them burn twice as much fat as those who exercised after breakfast.


     5. Improves balance, posture, and coordination

As you stabilize your body and keep your bike upright, you’ll improve your overall balance, coordination, and posture. Balance tends to decline with age and inactivity, so it’s vital to keep on top of it. 


     6. Cycling helps improve muscle tone and strength in the legs

Pedaling is an intense workout for your legs. The more cycling you do, the stronger your legs will look and feel. You’ll notice the changes in everything you do, from climbing stairs to running around the park!  

Also- unlike running, which is a high impact form of exercise, cycling is incredibly gentle on your joints. Cycling is a very safe way to remain physically active even if you have some problems with joints.


     7. It can prevent you from heart diseases and decrease cancer risk.

New evidence was presented in the form of a study conducted by the University of Glasgow, in 2020. Researchers studied over 260,000 individuals over the course of five years - and found that cycling to work can cut a riders risk of developing heart disease or cancer in half. The full study can be read here 


     8. Sleep like a baby- cycling improves your sleep

Regular aerobic exercise like cycling promotes quality sleep even among those who struggle to get their shut-eye. In a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, previously sedentary insomnia sufferers who started cycling just 20 to 30 minutes every other day reduced the amount of time it took to fall asleep by half and increased their total sleep time by nearly an hour.


     9. You simply can’t finish a ride being grumpy

Well, and this one we figured out ourselves without consulting with the scientists. Have you ever seen a person finish their training and be mad or sad about it? We neither. The sense of achievement, the blood circulation, happy endorphins in your brain, maybe even a supportive cycling community around you and simply a time well spent is the medicine for a rough day at the office or just a bad mood. Try it if you haven’t yet, and see it yourself!

 The bottom line is that cycling is not only scientifically healthy, it can also be beneficial on an emotional level, you just have to find your right timing, speed, weather conditions or type of bicycle to make it work!

These are just some of the few health benefits from cycling, and we’re sure there are many more. If you feel like we missed some important points, feel free to share them in the comments, as we love to exchange more info with our community! 

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