Cycling for Health: 12 Health Benefits of Cycling
Cycling is a simple, effective, and low-cost way to engage your health, protect yourself by lowering serious disease risk, and have fun. Did you know it’s estimated about 1 billion people cycle every day – it’s true! With bicycles becoming more versatile and popular, a lot of people are using bikes as their primary mode of transportation.
The benefits of cycling make up a long list. Thankfully, it’s easy to fit into one’s day to day routine whether that’s riding your bicycle to work or riding to grocery stores, shops, or the park. Here are some of the benefits you can find from cycling.
Benefit #1: Cycling is low impact exercise
Cycling does not force any impact onto your joints, like running, jogging, and so much other exercise does. A lower impact means less strain on the body, less injuries compared to other exercise, and a more enjoyable cardiovascular experience.
Benefit #2: Cycling helps you burn calories and lose weight
The benefits of cycling include raising your metabolic rate, building muscle, and burning fat. A lot of research argues to maintain a healthy weight for the average person, about 2,000 calories should be burned via exercise every week.
An hour cycling on average burns around 300 calories. Another study found a half-hour of bike riding every day can burn a little under 5 kg of pure fat per year.
Benefit #3: You’re using every major muscle group when cycling
As you pedal, cycling uses all the major muscle groups giving you a true full body workout. Furthermore, over time, all this exercise will increase stamina and strength in the muscles. If you have struggled in the past to keep up with a weightlifting routine or want to tone your muscle appearance, cycling is a great way to accomplish your fitness goals.
Benefit #4: You can have adjustable intensity when cycling
When you cycle, it’s easy to do. You don’t need a great deal of physical skill and you can adjust how intense you want your exercise to be.
If you want to make it more intense, you can. If you aren’t feeling it on a given day, you can back off a little and start at a very low intensity. Recovering from an injury or illness? You can adjust your cycling experience according to how you feel.
Benefit #5: Cycling lowers cardiovascular disease risk
Cycling improves the strength and function of the heart, lungs, and overall circulation. This cycling benefit ultimately helps you regulate high blood pressure, and lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Research shows that people who cycle to work regularly have less exposure to pollution than commuters by car and can have significantly lowered heart disease risk.
Benefit #6: You spend more time in the outdoors
Studies have shown that spending more time outdoors is good for both your physical and mental health. Cycling has so many health benefits that we sometimes forget about how much fun it is to adventure and get out there. Go exploring through the outdoors! Find local cycling or walking paths and get out in the wilderness. It can be quite addictive!
Benefit #7: You’re maximizing sedentary time
If you’re driving to work, take the train, or sit on a bus, you’re sedentary. On a bicycle, you’re getting cardio time in while on your way to work. You don’t need to push yourself beyond your limits, either. Time you would otherwise spend sitting down essentially, you’re turning to exercise time.
Benefit #8: Cycling can help you exercise
For people who have mobility or pain issues that prevent them from doing fitness, cycling is an easy exercise path to take. Go for as little time or at as little intensity as you like.
This way, you’re strengthening your body at your own pace. In time, you’ll see increased strength and flexibility, improved joint mobility, improved posture and coordination, and even stronger bones!
Benefit #9: Cycling reduces anxiety and stress
As with other exercise, cycling does produce a positive impact on symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. If you are prone to these conditions or find yourself overwhelmed, going for a calm bike ride some place where you feel connected and safe can help calm anxieties or depression.
Benefit #10: Cycling lowers your cancer risk
Some research has suggested cycling directly correlates to a lower cancer risk, including one study showing a lowered risk of bowl cancer, and another connecting cycling to a reduced risk of breast cancer. If you have either of these cancers in your family history, picking up a bicycle more often may be a preventative you won’t want to pass up.
Benefit #11: Cycling lowers your diabetes risk
The benefits of cycling extend to treating your diabetes condition. A recent study analyzing people who cycled for 30 minutes or more per day found they had 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. In an era where type 2 diabetes rates continue to increase, simple, easy exercise such as that in cycling can be a prescription that is easy to fill among individuals at risk.
Benefit #12: Cycling is the ideal osteoporosis exercise
Cycling isn’t a weight-bearing exercise, unlike weightlifting, yoga, and similar programs. Osteoporosis sufferers have to struggle with bone-thinning disease, which puts them at risk of breaks and injuries.
Cycling is a way to get your cardiovascular work in within a very healthy, supported setting, with minimal risk to your health. This tends to be the case not only with osteoporosis patients but among individuals with a variety of chronic conditions.