How Cycling Makes You Fit, Healthy, and Boosts Your Mood
Last updated on : March 23 2021
Physical activity has undeniable effects on the body and mind. As a result, health institutions recommend adults should spend at least 150 minutes per week doing aerobic exercise.
Riding a bike is a great low-impact physical activity suitable for almost anyone willing to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and so is a perfect exercise choice.
If you are ready to do so, continue reading to find out more about how cycling makes you fit, healthy and boosts your mind.
Bike Riding Is A Great Way To Start Your Day
You probably heard of the advice to start your mornings with exercise. Unfortunately, not everyone is eager to do so or has enough time for a short workout.
This is why cycling to your destination is a healthy way to start your day and enhance the production of feel-good hormones early on. A bike ride to work will make you feel more energized and boost your productivity, giving you a sense of accomplishment.
It's also useful for those who don't have time to go to the gym and worry about not being active enough.
Some suggest going on fasted rides to boost fat-burning metabolism and have a protein shake while cycling. It seems like a useful solution for those who don't have time for breakfast in the morning.
Cycling Can Help With Weight Management
Because cycling is a form of exercise, you will burn calories even if you ride at a slower pace. With regular riding and higher intensity, you can increase your metabolism and burn more calories. This is one of the healthiest ways to manage your weight and stay fit.
More importantly, cycling is an inspiring activity that will help you stick to your weight loss plans. Since it can also serve as transportation, you will barely see it as an obligation and more as a common part of your day.
It Keeps Your Muscles Strong
Leg muscles are the ones benefiting the most from cycling. Glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quads in your lower body will get stronger thanks to regular time on your bike. However, other muscles can feel the positive effects of cycling as well, especially your core.
Back and abdominal muscles are responsible for keeping your body upright, so staying on the bike employs them as well.
You may not get a six-pack from cycling, but stronger back muscles support the spine and decrease back pain. For this reason, bike riding may be a beneficial physical activity for people who spend too much time sitting down or standing, which affects their lower back and neck.
Biking Is Beneficial For The Heart
Just like any physical activity, cycling will raise your heart rate, bringing more blood to your tissue and organs. Such improved circulation leads to normalizing blood pressure and more nutrients to the organs, like vitamins and minerals.
This, as well as keeping your weight in check, may lower the risk of developing some of the serious heart conditions.
Based on World Health Organization research, heart disease is responsible for over 17 million deaths every year. Since cycling is a low-impact activity, it's appropriate for any age and gender, making it ideal for keeping your cardiovascular health in check.
It Can Reduce Your Anxiety Levels
Since cycling requires concentration on the road, you will forget about your troubles and relax. According to research in the BMJ Journals, cyclists are more satisfied with their lives than people who don't use bikes every day.
Anxiety can prevent you from concentrating on solving a problem and lead to panic attacks, phobias, and a decrease in the quality of life.
When cycling, you change the scenery, keep an eye on the road, and think about something other than your worries. This helps you to observe your issues more rationally and less emotionally, leading to a satisfying resolution.
Cycling Can Work As An Antidepressant
For people already suffering from depression, cycling can serve as a therapeutic means to manage their mental health. During riding, the body produces serotonin, known as the happiness hormone, boosting the mood and elevating willpower.
A 1991 study showed that people who don't have depression could lower their risk of developing it later in life if they are physically active early on. While cycling alone won't cure you, it can be an accompanying technique to therapy and medication.
Bike Riding Can Boost Your Immune System
Besides giving you a dose of vitamin D, cycling can otherwise affect your overall immune system.
It also has a more practical anti-germ defense because traveling by bike saves you from various pathogens on the buses and trains.
However, cycling alone won't make your immune system stronger. A healthy lifestyle, proper food, and enough sleep are important factors contributing to your body's defense against pathogenic attacks.
It Can Make Your Lungs Healthier
Based on a UK demonstration, you can breathe more pollution in the car than when riding your bike.
The investigators installed air pollution detectors on a cyclist, bus traveler, car driver, and pedestrian. Then, they had to take one of the busiest routes in London to get the readings.
The surprising results showed that a car driver is exposed to higher pollution than a bike rider. The demonstration found that cyclists had lower pollution levels than other participants and made it the best activity for your lungs.
It Brings You Closer To Nature
Taking your mountain bike for a ride in nature can mean more for your health than just toning your body. Cycling among the greenery can reduce blood pressure, lower stress hormones, and improve creative thinking.
It's also an excellent way to get some fresh air and expand the lungs so more oxygen can get into your body and to the organs.
Exposure to sunshine will stimulate vitamin D production, which is important for the strong immune system and bone health. Moreover, it's a nice opportunity to break from everyday fuss, get some peace of mind, and practice mindfulness.
Cyclists Experience Fewer Injuries
If you are deciding between running and cycling — choose cycling.
Running is a great exercise, but it can cause a considerable strain on your musculoskeletal system as a weight-bearing activity. For this reason, those with extra pounds should start exercising with cycling to minimize the impact on muscles, bones, and joints.
Once you build strength in your muscles, introduce higher-impact activities to your fitness schedule, like jogging, dancing, or tennis.
It Can Have Positive Effects On Your Brain
A Japanese study found that cycling can increase the brain's blood flow by 28% to over 70% in some areas. Moreover, the positive effects remained as high as 40% in some parts of the brain after cycling.
These results support the numerous studies demonstrating that regular exercise can lower the chance of developing dementia. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen that are essential for brain health, as well as for other organs.
You should cycle four times a week for 45–60 minutes to sharpen your mind and improve your cognitive health.
Cycling Is Good For Socializing
If you want to spend some time with yourself, riding solo is always a viable option. But you can also turn cycling into a social activity and create a biking team from family, friends, co-workers, and other cyclists.
While for some, having a company for cycling can serve as exercise support, it's a chance to spend time with kids or a partner for others.
Having a shared activity strengthens the relations between people, helping them build positive memories.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, cycling is one of those activities that allowed maintaining a safe distance and socializing at the same time. For many, this was a fact that helped them preserve their mental and physical health during this global crisis.
You'll Sleep Better With Cycling In Your Life
Physical activity can decrease insomnia and act similar to sleeping pills.
As a moderate activity, cycling can tire you down and make you feel calmer, helping you fall asleep more easily. By lowering your stress levels, you will feel more at peace and not think about your problems when you go to bed.
On a physical level, cycling raises your body temperature, which lowers after you finish riding. The same thing happens when your body cools down before sleep.
Lack of sleep can prevent your body from repairing itself, impair your immune system, and affect overall well-being with serious consequences.
Cycling makes you fit, but it also keeps you healthy and boosts your mood by enhancing various functions inside your body. Regardless of if you cycle solo or in a company, riding your bike in nature and to work can bring you an improved lifestyle to benefit from mentally and physically.
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The Kewl Shop
The Kewl Shop is a blog. We write about all things lifestyle with a strong focus on relationships, self-love, beauty, fitness, and health. Important stuff that every modern woman or man needs to know.
Editor: Charles Fitzgerald