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Cycling Health Benefits: 10 Reasons Riding Keeps You Healthy

Cycling is a great workout that provides many health advantages that can improve your quality of life. Here's our 10 favorite cycling health benefits.

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Cycling is not only a low-impact workout but also provides many health advantages that may improve your quality of life. From increasing your mental health to assisting you in losing weight, here are some reasons why cycling on a bike is a terrific way to keep fit!

Cycling provides various health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, improved breathing, and weight loss. Cycling also makes joints work better and can make chronic diseases like arthritis less likely.

Image of healthy woman cycling in the italian hills. Source: andrea piacquadio, pexels
Image of healthy woman cycling in the Italian hills. Source: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

In this article, you will learn why staying fit and healthy is important and how many minutes of cycling is good for your health, so you can stay fit and healthy.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on July 4, 2022, to include additional information about the health benefits of cycling. I am not a doctor. Please speak to your doctor for professional medical advice.

Before learning about the health benefits of cycling, let’s first understand why staying fit and healthy is important.

Why is staying healthy important?

Being physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and several malignancies. And regular exercise and physical activity promote strong muscles and bones and benefit your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. In other words, staying active is important for good health and shape and will lead to a longer, better life.

How many minutes of cycling is good for your health?

A 20-minute daily cycle ride is sufficient to maintain good health. According to a study, regular riding burns roughly 1,000 calories weekly, and even cycling at a slow rate of 12 mph burns 563 calories every hour.

Ten health benefits of cycling

Cycling is a great way to raise your heart rate and burn calories. It may also be a good workout for people new to exercising because it is simple to execute and requires no additional equipment. Cycling also has certain mental health advantages, such as lowering stress and anxiety levels. Here are the top 10 cycling health benefits.

1. Cyclists have better lung health

Studies have shown that people who ride their bikes are exposed to fewer harmful gases than those who drive. For example, air pollution monitors were connected to a vehicle, a bus user, a pedestrian, and a bike traveling a popular route through downtown London in research conducted by the Healthy Air Campaign, Kings College London, and Camden Council.

According to the findings, the motorist was exposed to five times more pollution than the biker, three and a half times more than the pedestrian, and two and a half times more than the bus user. In short, when cycling, you will breathe fresher air.

2. Cycling cuts heart disease and cancer risk

Cycling boosts your heart rate, circulates blood throughout your body, and burns calories, reducing your chances of becoming overweight. As a result, it is one of several types of exercise advised by the NHS as healthy strategies to reduce your chance of acquiring severe illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.

The University of Glasgow offered further evidence. Over five years, researchers investigated over 260,000 people and discovered that cycling to work could lower a rider’s chance of acquiring heart disease or cancer.

Image a group of male cyclists riding competition pexels
Image a group of male cyclists riding competition. Source: Pexels

3. Strengthen your immune system by cycling

A strong immune system was especially important during the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. Appalachian State University’s Dr. David Nieman and colleagues investigated 1,000 people up to 85. As a result, they discovered that exercise significantly impacted the health of the upper respiratory system, resulting in fewer cases of the common cold.

Mild exercise can strengthen our immune system by increasing the production of vital proteins and waking up dormant white blood cells.

However, there is some evidence that your immune system is weakened right after hard exercise, like interval training, but this can be fixed with enough rest, like eating well and getting enough sleep.

4. Cycling can help you lose weight

Cycling burns 400 to 1000 calories per hour, depending on effort and rider weight. But, of course, there are other considerations: The composition of the calories you consume influences the frequency you replenish, as does the quality of your sleep and the time you spend burning calories cycling.

5. Cycling builds muscle

Cycling’s resistance component burns fat and develops muscle, notably in the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Muscle is leaner than fat, and people with a larger proportion of muscle burn more calories even when inactive. To be clear, unless you spend a significant amount of time in the squat rack, you will not have quads like a track sprinter. However, you will develop a well-toned derriere.

If you are looking to tone your butt, there’s no better exercise than a kettlebell swing. If you don’t own a kettlebell, check out the options below.

6. Cyclists sleep better

It’s probably not rocket science that riding your bike can help you sleep better, but it’s now been confirmed. Researchers at the University of Georgia monitored men and women aged 20 to 85 for 35 years. They discovered that a 2% decline in fitness for men and 4% for women resulted in sleep issues.

Dr. Rodney Dishman, one of the study’s principal authors, stated, “The most rapid reduction in cardiorespiratory fitness occurs between the ages of 40 and 60. This is also when issues with sleep length and quality become more prominent. Exercise also helps prevent weight gain as we age, another source of sleep problems.

7. Cycling is low impact

Cycling, unlike running, does not involve any weight-bearing. When investigators studied two groups of exercisers—long-distance runners and cyclists—they discovered that runners had 133–144 percent greater muscle damage, 26% more inflammation, and 87% more DOMS. While cycling is less prone to causing overuse injuries, they can occur. A professional bike fit is smart; saving money here will result in more money spent on rehabilitation.

Cycling does not build bone density as much as other activities due to the absence of weight-bearing. Therefore, incorporate some strength training into your regimen.

8. Cycling improves your sex life

Most of us understand that sex is beneficial, but not everyone understands that it is also beneficial to your entire health. Frequent sex might help you live longer. Cycling helps strengthen several very important muscle groups that are recruited during intercourse.

Add to that the fact that cyclists tend to be very comfortable in their skin, thanks to spending a lot of time showing off all the lumps and bumps in skintight clothing.

9. Cycling boosts your brain power

Exercise has been frequently linked to brain health, namely the decreased cognitive abnormalities that can make us prone to dementia later in life. According to the research, cyclists’ blood flow in the brain increased by 28% during exercise and up to 70% in particular locations. Not only that, but blood flow remained elevated by 40% in some places even after activity.

Improved blood flow is beneficial because red blood cells provide a variety of nutrients that keep us healthy—and the study found that we should cycle for 45–60 minutes at 75–85 percent of our maximum “heart rate reserve” (max heart rate minus resting heart rate), four times per week. Nothing, of course, prevents you from riding more.

10. Cycling improves mental and social well-being

1. Cycling improves mental health. According to YMCA research, people who lead physically active lives have a 32% better well-being score than passive ones. There are several ways exercise may enhance your mood: the fundamental release of adrenalin and endorphins; and the increased confidence that comes from accomplishing new tasks (such as completing a sport or getting closer to that goal).

Cycling mixes physical activity with being outside and discovering new sights. You can bike alone to give yourself time to analyze problems or concerns, or you can ride with a group to widen your social network.

Cycling is a very social activity. Joining a bicycle club or group is a great way to expand your social circle, and if you’re new to riding, you’ll probably find all the maintenance and training information you need there. So that’s very conclusive!

What are the health disadvantages of cycling?

To be honest, the primary drawback will be the lack of time. Cycling takes time. It may also cause stiffness in your lower and/or upper back due to the frequent action of bending over. On the other hand, cycling has a low impact on the knees since you are never fully extended and locked out.

If you want even more tips, watch this video called 5 Health Benefits of Cycling from the ISH News YouTube Channel.

A video called 5 Health Benefits of Cycling from the ISH News YouTube Channel.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the health benefits of cycling.

Why is biking good for you?

Cycling regularly strengthens and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, cycling helps to strengthen your cardiac muscles, lowers your resting pulse, and lowers your blood fat levels.

What body parts benefit from cycling?

Cycling improves total lower-body function and builds leg muscles without overstressing your joints. It focuses on the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

What happens if you cycle every day?

Your legs will become stronger. The most obvious advantage of riding every day is increased leg strength. In addition, if you start riding every day, your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves will improve tremendously.

Does cycling reduce belly fat?

Yes and no. Cycling can help you lose abdominal fat, but it takes time. However, a new study suggests frequent cycling may improve total fat reduction and support a healthy weight. In addition, aerobic exercises with moderate intensity, like cycling (indoors or outdoors), are good for reducing belly size. But you can not isolate fat loss to a particular region.

Conclusion

Cycling has several health advantages you may get by including it in your daily routine. Cycling improves aerobic fitness, muscle strength, and general health and well-being. By following the advice in this article, you may begin to reap all of the benefits that cycling has to offer!

This article covered the health benefits of cycling, why staying fit and healthy is important, and how many minutes of cycling is good for your health. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Cycling and regular exercise have been shown to lower blood pressure by 30%.
  • Cycling regularly provides several health benefits, including preventing high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Cycling is a low-impact aerobic workout that has several advantages. It benefits your heart, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and boosts your mental wellness.
  • Cycling not only aids in weight control but also aids in body fat loss by speeding metabolism and burning fat.

So, do you cycle for health or pleasure? Did we cover everything you wanted to know? Let us know in the comments section below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check our full blog for more tips and tricks on fixed-gear and single-speed bikes. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

Helpful resources

Image of healthy woman cycling in the italian hills. Pinterest
Image of healthy woman cycling in the Italian hills. Pinterest

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