Cycling is more than just a hobby in my eyes. Ever since I decided to start taking my first affordable road bike out on a regular basis, my life has changed for the better in a variety of ways.
The numerous benefits of cycling are incredible. If you’re still on the fence about picking up this particular activity, then please allow me to provide you with the many reasons why cycling regularly is a great idea.
The Quality of Life Benefits
You shouldn’t be surprised that cycling regularly can be beneficial to your health. However, it may surprise you to learn just how good for your body this activity is.
1. Improves Your Heart Health
You encourage your heart to get in gear when you ride your bike regularly. Regular exercise conditions the heart to pump blood more efficiently throughout your body. Also, since you can dictate the intensity of your exercising, there will be no need for you to push your heart.
2. Strengthens Your Lungs
Bike for long enough and you should start to feel this slight burning sensation in your chest. That’s an indicator of your lungs working. Keep going at your own pace while biking in order to condition your lungs better.
3. Increases Your Stamina
Because of the positive impact biking can have on your heart and lungs, you can also expect this activity to gradually increase your stamina level. If you found yourself getting tired after just biking for about 30 minutes or so when you first started out, that should improve as you bike more frequently.
4. Burns Your Body Fat
Cycling is a good activity to take up if you want to burn more calories regularly. With so many parts of your body in motion, you can’t help but expend those calories you have consumed. Cycling is especially effective for getting rid of belly fat, so give it a try if you’ve been trying to get rid of your excess mass there.
5. Strengthens Muscles and Grants Them Greater Flexibility
Many forms of exercise target only specific muscle groups. Things are different when you’re cycling because you’re engaging more muscles. All that cycling will work to strengthen the muscles and the constant motion will also improve their flexibility.
6. Helps Your Joints Stay Healthy
Joint pain is something you will have to deal with at some point in your life. However, cycling will help delay the onset of it by a significant amount of time. Unlike with running, you can control the impact on your joints by cycling, making it a better option to consider.
7. Exercises Your Body without Dealing with Significant Amounts of Pain
The ability to control the intensity level of cycling means that you don’t have to push your body to its limits. You can get a full workout in by cycling without having to deal with an aching body the day after.
8. Protects Against Injuries
Injuries can happen with just about every kind of physical activity. With cycling though, the injury risk is greatly reduced. Once again, that option of cycling at the intensity of your choosing enables you to avoid injury.
9. Keeps Pregnant Women Fit
Pregnant women can’t grow sedentary, but many forms of exercise can make them feel uncomfortable. In the pursuit of staying in shape, pregnant women can try indoor cycling.
Indoor cycling will continue to engage the body in different ways while also getting rid of balancing challenges. It’s an exercise worth trying for women who are expecting.
10. Makes It Possible for People to Live Longer
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow looked at how the method of commuting affected the lifespans of numerous individuals. Of the 263,450 participants, those who commuted via cycling were the individuals who were least likely to be deceased.
The Disease-Preventing Benefits
Cycling will do more than just improve your health. If you choose to go biking regularly, you will also improve your chances against several diseases.
1. Improves Your Cholesterol Levels
There are two types of cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is the one you want to reduce, while high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol is the one that protects your body. By biking more, you can lower the level of LDL cholesterol in your body. That activity will also boost your HDL cholesterol levels.
2. Regulates Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is an issue many people deal with as they age. There’s medication for it, but that alone won’t be enough. Exercising is important as well and cycling just happens to be among the forms of exercise that can combat high blood pressure. Aside from lowering it, cycling also makes it easier to maintain an ideal blood pressure level.
3. Lowers the Risk for Heart Disease
Considering that cycling helps with improving your cholesterol levels and regulating your blood pressure, you’ve probably already guessed that it also protects you against heart disease.
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Cycling will help lower the chances that you are also victimized by that disease
4. Fights Obesity
Along with helping you burn calories and fat, cycling also boosts your rate of metabolism. All those health benefits of biking will help with the cause of you shedding the pounds. For individuals dealing with the difficulties of obesity, cycling will make it easier to get back on track.
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5. Prevents the Onset of Type 2 Diabetes
It is believed that more people growing inactive is contributing to more cases of type 2 diabetes. Cycling will encourage people to get moving without tiring them out too much.
6. Steers People Clear of Cancer
To be more specific, getting on your road bike, mountain bike, fat tire bike or hybrid bike more often is expected to lower your risk for developing colon and bowel cancer. For women, this healthy habit will also reduce the risk level for breast cancer.
7. Eliminates Certain Issues with Your Digestive System
Constipation may be a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but it can really make you feel uncomfortable. Cycling more gets the muscles inside your body moving and that will lead to more regular bowel movements.
8. Provides a Better Way to Cope with Arthritis
Arthritis can be incredibly painful and the last thing some people will want to do when they have it is to exercise. Gentle cycling provides people with a way to still get their joints moving without having to subject them to the high amounts of pressure that can cause pain.
In the case of arthritis or injuries it’s extra important you use a bike that properly fits your body. My advice is to use a bike size chart for this, or learn how to do a proper bike fitting.
9. Reduces Fatigue
Compared to other types of exercise, cycling is not as hard on your body. That is especially true if you don’t bike with great intensity.
10. Enhances Erectile Function
There were rumblings not too long ago that cycling could adversely affect a man’s reproductive system. However, a study which indicates that cycling more can improve erectile function.
The Mental Health Benefits
Cycling does more than just improve the condition of your body. This activity can also offer different kinds of mental health benefits.
1. An Ally Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Unfortunately, there is still no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but there are ways to fight against its symptoms. Staying active through cycling will help delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. Cycling will also prevent brain cells from becoming tangled.
2. Lowers Your Risk Level for Developing Parkinson’s Disease
The prospect of developing Parkinson’s Disease is understandably frightening. There is no guarantee that cycling will keep Parkinson’s Disease away from you for good, but simply carrying out that activity at a moderate or vigorous pace more frequently can decrease your risk factor.
3. Helps You Break Free of Addictions
Some people are more prone to getting addicted either to substances or to activities. Getting rid of those addictions can be a challenge, but cycling can help. The runner’s high you can obtain from cycling can take the place of your previous addiction and as long as you manage your level of activity, you can also avoid getting addicted to cycling.
4. Alleviates Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are quite prevalent and they can also be crippling. Aerobic exercises can help alleviate anxiety. You can bike with more intensity to get rid of anxiety faster, but even gentler cycling should help you reach a better mental state.
5. Serves as an Anti-Depressant
Along with alleviating your anxiety, cycling can also help you deal better with depression. Adopting a more active lifestyle will reduce your chances for developing depression. Even if you have already been diagnosed with depression, becoming more active by cycling should help improve your mental health.
6. Frees You from Stress
Living a normal life means that you are exposing yourself to stress. You need to do what you can to reduce your stress or else it may eat you up alive. Hop on your bike and pedal as long as you feel like it to get rid of that stress that has been plaguing you.
7. Lightens Up Your Mood
Cycling aids with anxiety, depression, and stress. By virtue of being freed from those debilitating mental health impediments, you will gradually notice your mood change for the better.
8. Boosts Your Self-Esteem
Cycling can do so much to improve your current state of life, ranging from getting you in better shape and staving off mental health issues. You can feel like a changed person after becoming a cyclist and it’s a change for the better.
9. Sharpens Your Focus
You need to properly execute a variety of tasks at the same time whenever you are riding a bike. To accomplish all those things, you have to feature remarkable focus. The ability to focus better when you’re on top of a bike is something you can utilize when tackling other tasks.
10. Ignites Your Creativity
Aerobic exercises like cycling can work to increase your creativity. Avoid burning yourself out during your ride so that you can still create a masterpiece when you get home.
The Social Benefits
Even your social life can benefit immensely from taking up the habit of cycling. Listed below are some of the ways in which this activity can help improve your social life.
1. More Bonding Time with Your Significant Other
Working couples usually don’t have a lot of free time to spend together because of varying careers and interests. Couples that bike together won’t have to worry about that though as they can enjoy their hobbies while also enjoying each other’s company.
2. Biking Trips with Friends
When long-time friends get together, they usually want to head somewhere special. If you and your friends are all avid riders, then all of you can hop on your bikes and discover new destinations together.
3. Stronger Familial Bonds Built Through Biking
Siblings may all use the same bike as they grow up. As the bicycle is passed down, that gives siblings a better chance to spend more quality time together.
4. Teaching Opportunities
You can pass down your biking knowledge to your kids when the time comes for them to get their own two-wheeler. If you want to, you can even share your knowledge with the kids of your friends who also want to get into this hobby.
5. Become a Role Model
It’s important for kids to have a role model to look up to so that they are encouraged to adopt healthier habits. By becoming a cyclist, you can show your kids that leading a healthy lifestyle is possible and easily achievable.
The Economic Benefits
Cycling can do more than just improve your health and social life. It will also help you save more money by virtue of trimming your list of expenses.
1. More Affordable than a Car
You may end up having to take out loans and saving money for years just to have enough money to buy a car. Bicycles are way more affordable and they can still get you around town effectively.
2. No Need to Spend on Gas
All you need to get your bike in motion are your legs. You can say goodbye to your worries about gas prices by becoming a cyclist.
3. Parking Expenses Greatly Reduced
Whenever you’re heading out with your car, you always have to factor parking expenses into your budget. Many establishments will offer free parking for bikes. Even those that charge for bike parking are still way more affordable.
4. Cut Down on Exercise Expenses
You will have to spend a bit of money to maintain your bike, but the cost of doing so is nothing compared to how much you may have to pay for a gym membership.
5. Inexpensive Maintenance
Compared to how much you will have to pay to get work done for a car, the cost of maintaining a bike is significantly cheaper.
The Environmental Benefits
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any mode of transportation that’s better for the environment than bikes.
1. Reduces Your Carbon Emissions
According to the EPA, a “typical passenger vehicle” produces around 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Needless to say, bicycles don’t get anywhere close to that level.
2. Assists with Smog Reduction
By riding your bicycle to and from work on a daily basis, you are no longer contributing to the production of the smog that can be harmful to the atmosphere.
3. Does Not Make Use of Batteries
Used-up batteries can still pose a threat to the environment when not disposed of properly. You don’t have to worry about that if you’re using a bike.
4. Does Not Make Use of Fossil Fuels
Using a mode of transportation that is not reliant on fossil fuels is a good thing. If more cyclists emerge, mankind’s dependence on fossil fuels can be significantly reduced.
5. Creates a More Peaceful Environment
People who live near major thoroughfares know all about how disruptive car noises can be. By cycling more often, you are doing your part to contribute to a more peaceful world.
Other Notable Health Benefits of Cycling
1. Spend Less Time in Traffic
An article from CityLab highlights just how costly getting bogged down in traffic can truly be. On top of that, being stuck in a car for extended periods of time is not good for either your physical or mental well-being. Bike riders don’t have to get caught up in the issues caused by traffic.
2. Maximize Your Time
Since cycling allows you to spend less time in traffic, you can use those extra minutes and hours completing other tasks at work or chores at home or just decompressing after a long day.
3. Easier Travel
Most people have to rent cars when they are traveling to a different state or to a different country. If you know how to ride a bike, then you can just bring that along with you and use that to travel through your new location.
4. Gives You a Better Sense of Self
Many people struggle with finding a hobby that truly resonates with them. Cycling can fill that void in your life by giving you a highly enjoyable activity you can sink numerous hours into.
5. Brings More Joy into Your Life
After reading through all the many benefits of bike riding listed above, it’s not hyperbolic in any way to suggest that adopting this hobby can make you a happier person. If you haven’t given a try yet, then you should do so in the near future.
Biking truly is more than just another hobby that you can pick up to kill time. By giving cycling a larger role in your daily routine, you are improving your life in numerous ways.
It’s time for you to fully embrace the many health benefits of riding a bike and use them to lead a healthier and happier life.
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