cycling benefits: why cycling is great for you

Cycling Benefits: 6 Reasons Why Cycling is Great For You

Do you want to start doing some aerobic exercise but don’t know which one? Today’s article will clarify the benefits of cycling and why it can be an excellent option to put a sedentary lifestyle aside.

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How Often Can I Cycle?

Keep in mind that rest intervals should vary according to the intensity of exercise. For example, if you do an average workout, one day of rest may be enough for your muscles to recover, while a heavy activity may require two days of rest.

If you plan to use your bike every day of the week, that’s no problem if it isn’t intense and you don’t have existing health problems. In this sense, we recommend that you see a doctor to understand your physical conditioning and how you can fit cycling into your routine.

You must know that at some point, your muscles will need to recover and that rest is essential for you to improve your performance and avoid injury. So, if you plan to ride 5 days a week, try to have two days off for your body to recover.

How to Cycle Safely

As we discussed earlier, you must consult a doctor before riding a bike to ensure that you can exercise. That said, here are some tips on how to cycle safely:

1. Practice Before and Plan your Route

If you have not been cycling for a long time or are just starting out, you must practice in quiet and safe places before going out cycling. Make sure you are ready to go and remember to plan your route to avoid accidents. Beware of busy areas and stay away from buses and cars – pay attention to parked cars too. Pay attention to pedestrians and get used to using hand signals whenever you change direction. Never break red lights, and always glance over your shoulder before changing lanes. Don’t cycle on footpaths and try to stay away from the kerb. Prioritize pedalling at the midpoint of the lane – so that you remain visible at all times.

2. Pay Attention to your Knee

Your knee should be slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If your knee is completely straight at this stage, the bike may be too big for you, causing you to fall and potentially hurt yourself.

3. Choose the Right Bike

In addition to choosing a bike suitable for your size, it is essential to select a type of bike that is compatible with your physical activity.

If you plan to ride in the city to go to work, prioritize urban or speed bikes, which are lightweights and have speed shifters. On the other hand, if you plan to ride in rough or uneven areas, it might be better to pick a hybrid or mountain bike with a shock absorber suspension. If you feel that your posture is bothering you as you ride, look for recumbent bikes and/or high handlebars to keep your spine in an upright position.

This template can help you choose a bike that’s right for you.

4. Wear Cycling Clothes and Appropriate Gears

Prioritize clothes with high-tech fibres to absorb moisture, plus reflective material, so you’re always visible. If you cycle frequently, it’s also important to wear padded shorts to avoid friction and cushion the impact of the seat.

If you are used to cycling under strong sunlight, it is also vital that you wear sunglasses and sunscreen. If you usually ride at night, don’t forget to install the set of lights, in addition to using your reflective clothes.

What are the Benefits of Cycling?

In addition to being an inexpensive way to exercise, it’s an excellent tool to get you out of your house. In this sense, cycling is a dynamic activity that allows you to travel long distances in less time and less impact than running. You can go anywhere, plan routes with your friends and, better than that, improve your health and fitness considerably.

Here are some of the benefits of cycling:

1. It Helps to Build Muscle Mass and Burn Fat

Cycling often helps to increase your metabolism, promoting weight loss and fat burning. By pedalling intensely, you can also gain muscle mass – especially for the lower body – so pedalling is a great tool to improve your overall fitness.

2. It’s a Low Impact Aerobic Exercise

Cycling is an excellent low-impact cardiovascular exercise. This means that pedalling can promote the same gains as other aerobic exercises without overstressing your leg muscles, knees, or joints. In addition, the pedal movement helps to lubricate the joints, which can reduce pain and stiffness.

3. Cycling Boosts your Mental Health

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, a hormone that promotes well-being and helps lower stress levels. Therefore, cycling can be an excellent option when you feel anxious, stressed or depressed. This does not mean that exercising will solve all your problems, so see a doctor right away if you are suffering from any mental disorder.

4. Decreases the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases and other Health Issues

A study carried out in 2017 compared people who use active ways to go to work – such as walking and cycling – and people who used cars or public transport. The results of this research, which involved approximately 260.000 participants, indicated that those who used the bicycle as a means of transportation were associated with lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and all-cause mortality.

5. It Avoids Traffic and Helps the Environment

Often, the journey to work itself stresses us out. Traffic congestion or crowded public transport can be really annoying, especially when your day is just starting. In this sense, cycling not only frees you from this stress but also saves you time and helps the environment. You will also save money on fuel, insurance, licensing and all your car-related expenses.

Note: I lived in the biggest city in my home country, and traffic has been part of my life for over two decades. Driving my own car or taking a bus, I spent almost 3 hours commuting to and from work. One day I got tired of it and decided to take a bike to test how long it would take me to make the same journey and, to my surprise, it only took me 2 hours. This made me earn 1 hour more out of my day and save money on car expenses and parking.

6. It Makes You Present

Cycling requires coordination, endurance, balance and alertness, so it’s very difficult to think about other things while you’re riding your bike. If you’re the type of person who tends to overthink everything, in a state of constant anxiety, cycling can be a great way to forget about your problems while you exercise.

Note: In this sense, pedalling really helped me to be more present in my life. I’m an extremely observant and analytical person, and this means that almost all the time, I’m calculating possibilities or thinking about things that need to be done. The simple fact that I take 1 hour out of my day to cycle and, consequently, not think about anything helped me considerably reduce my anxiety and improve my sleep.

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