Cycling is one of the activities that can easily help people achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of 150-300/75-150 minutes of moderate/high-intensity aerobic activity per week. It has been a popular form of exercise as well as transport due to the numerous health benefits of cycling. It is relatively easy to take up and also to keep up; as it is a low impact activity, meaning it is safe for senior citizens and people with weak joints. It has been a preferred method of transport for many not only due to its health benefits, but also because of being environment-friendly, easily accessible, and cost-efficient.
Complete list of cycling benefits
- Increases aerobic endurance
- Decreases risks of cardiovascular diseases
- Helps to burn fat
- Increases lung capacity
- Decreases stress levels
- Increases energy levels throughout the day
- Improves coordination and overall movement stability
- Management of lifestyle diseases
- Easy and healthy method of commuting
- Strengthens lower body muscles
- Strengthens joints
Increases aerobic endurance
Low-intensity aerobic exercises such as cycling help to increase a person’s endurance and cycling workouts help in improving aerobic endurance if they are challenging enough and stress your aerobic system, but not so tough that you are approaching lactate threshold ( accumulation of lactic acid in your muscle due to anaerobic respiration which is the pain you feel when doing something strenuous). This intensity is key for creating the infrastructure that allows for improved supply, delivery, and processing of fuel and oxygen.. You have to be careful not to let the power and heart rate intensity increase your aerobic range during your cycling workouts.
So next time when you are dreading your cardio session, just remember the health benefits of cycling in the gym.
Decreases risk of Cardiac Diseases
Research shows that cycling can help improve cardiac health and the functioning of the heart. A 2017 study published in BMJ journal showed that people who commute to work were associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and all causes of mortality. Further benefits of cycling daily are reduction in blood pressure, and low-intensity aerobic exercises are the primary recommended therapy to reduce blood pressure. Regular cycling can help to lower resting pulse rate and improve cardiac output volume. Health benefits of cycling for men include lowered chances of prostate and testicular cancer while health benefits of cycling for women lead to a decrease in chances of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers.
Cycling for weight loss: Helps to burn fat
Many people find that they gain extra weight due to a sedentary lifestyle. Cycling for weight loss is an effective strategy as it is easy to take up for most people. Cycling increases the heart rate, breathing rate, and metabolism thus helping in torching fat. Also since a person can easily ramp up or ramp down their intensity, it is highly convenient to burn calories. A person can burn up to 300 calories per hour of moderate cycling. People prefer to divide it into 2 sessions of cycling for half an hour per day.
Benefits of cycling: Increases lung capacity
During cycling an increase in heart rate, stroke volume, and breathing rate occurs. As you begin to breathe faster and more deeply, the air vessels in the lungs expand. This improves lung health and makes the lungs stronger. Cycling can help increase the VO2 max ie the highest rate of oxygen that can be consumed by the body and also increase the lung capacity. Further, cyclists develop stronger diaphragms and other smaller respiratory muscles of the abdominals and intercostals.
Benefits of cycling: Decreases stress levels
Cycling and other aerobic exercises release endorphins that help to boost mood and make you happier. Also, cycling lowers cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases serotonin thus promoting healthy sleep habits. Cycling can also help stabilize the circadian cycle and further help sleep quality. Sleep quality is a significant factor in reducing stress.
Benefits of cycling: Increases energy levels throughout the day
As cycling increases metabolism and endurance, energy levels throughout the day are increased. People who cycle to the workplace regularly find it rejuvenation and a fun activity to begin their day with. Also since aerobic exercises when done outside can help circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality, people feel even more refreshed on waking up. Cycling is also found to increase focus and cognitive enhancement.
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Benefits of cycling: Improves coordination and overall movement stability
Cycling requires coordination between all major muscle groups to maintain balance. This improves balance, posture, and form in other day-to-day activities. Cycling for children benefits them by helping in their growth and strength.-- Advertisement --
them develop this coordination and spatial awareness, as well as adults that lead a sedentary lifestyle can also benefit from this.
Management of lifestyle diseases
Cycling can be the exercise of choice for those who suffer from diabetes, obesity, Cardiac problems, or other lifestyle disorders as it is convenient, highly customizable, and can be done both indoors and outdoors. Regular cycling has also been shown to keep blood sugar levels in check. Also, stress is often times a contributing risk factor in the majority of these diseases. Cycling works as an effective stress buster hence keeping these lifestyle diseases at bay. The benefits of cycling for women even expand to ease them during their menstruation cycle by reducing menstrual cramps, mood swings, and period pain.
Easy and healthy method of commuting
Cycling is easy to learn and requires no equipment. Cycles are a convenient way to get around in the urban landscape and it is an environment-friendly way of commuting. Cycling to work or school can be easily built into a routine and thereby will be healthy for the individual in the long term. Also cycling with friends can be a way to enjoy and have fun with them. Cycling as a hobby is
Strengthens lower body muscles
Cyclists often have big quads and calf muscles due to the repeated pedaling that cycling demands. Also, cycling engages glutes, hamstrings, tibia, and adductors. During cycling, the back is straight and spinal erectors are also engaged thereby improving overall posture. Cycling also helps in improving the tendon strength and ligaments of the legs. Stationary bikes, due to being low impact on joints and an indoor option, are used as rehabilitation exercises for many patients enabling them to reap the benefits of cycling machines.
Tips for safe cycling
Remember to plan your routes to avoid dangerous streets and wear safety gear such as helmets. Also, try using special cyclist routes whenever possible. For people with ailments, it is advised to talk to your healthcare professional if cycling is the right choice for you. Also, remember to keep some snacks and water handy in case you need quick replenishment after a long ride.