10 benefits of cycling!
Posted by Justine Clarabut on 18 July, 2019
Research has shown that cycling to work reduces absenteeism! Exercising before work helps us to feel relaxed and motivated! “The survey of the cycle to work scheme asked users whether they felt they had gained any health benefits from their involvement in the scheme and 86 per cent of them said they had, mostly in terms of improved fitness”
One of the good things about cycling is that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t ridden a bicycle for years or if you are a complete beginner, it should be easy, fun and invigorating. Cycling is a sport or activity that can be carried out by most abilities and is a great way to be more active.
Below are 10 benefits of cycling to encourage and inspire you to hop on a bike and get pedalling!
1. Builds muscle
The resistance element of cycling helps to build muscle strength. Cycling works all the major muscle groups and helps to improve core stability. It also works the heart muscle too!
2. Easy on joints
Cycling is a low impact exercise which means that it is easier on our joints than other high impact aerobic activities, such as running.
3. Aerobic exercise
Riding a bike briskly is a form of aerobic exercise! It raises the heart rate, gets the blood pumping around the body, reduces blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, and so reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
4. Improves balance, posture and coordination
Riding a bike requires coordination and balance. Cycling up and down hills, going round corners, regulating speed and so on, develops core strength and in turn improves posture, balance and coordination.
5. Burns calories
Cycling at a steady pace burns around 300 calories per hour. Accompanied with a healthy diet, regular cycling could help with weight loss, if this is one of your goals!
6. Assists Cardiac Fitness
Lack of physical activity has been shown to increase the risk of chronic illness and mortality. Regular cycling is a healthy way to cut the risk of developing serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and certain cancers.
7. Relieves stress and improves mental health
Cycling is good for our physical health but is also great for mental health too! It triggers the release of the body’s feel good hormones, endorphins, which make us feel good. It is not just physical exercise that promotes mental wellbeing. Research shows that it is also being outside in the fresh air that can lift spirits and help us to feel mentally energised.
8. Easy to fit into daily routine
There is no preparation, no travelling to a gym, no equipment assembly – getting onto your bicycle and pedalling any time of day can be as simple as that! And incurs little or no cost (other than initial purchase and maybe a puncture repair outfit!) Whether you chose to use cycling as a method of transport, recreation or a workout, it is an accessible form of exercise for the majority of people.
9. Fun, social and competitive
Cycling can be a solo activity but it can also widen your social circle by bringing people together. Engaging in a physical activity with other people is a great motivator and can encourage a bit of healthy competition too.
10. A sport for all abilities
Whatever your age, gender, abled or disabled body, most people can reap the health benefits from cycling. For example, the hand cycle enables people recovering from certain injuries or health conditions, such as stroke, to exercise. Bicycles are available for almost every type of disability. It can often act as a mobility aid and a mode of transport for people who have difficulty walking or cannot walk at all!
Debunking the myths
Purchasing a bicycle doesn’t have to be expensive. Obviously, depending on what type of bike you choose and how many gadgets you wish to add, there are bicycles to suit most budgets. Much to contrary belief, you don’t pay road tax for riding a bike on the streets and you can’t get points added to your licence but you can be fined if riding recklessly or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs! Some people think that cycle lanes in our cities cause congestion! However, where cycle lanes have been introduced, the traffic usually has increased which is why the cycle lanes were installed in the first place! And the more bikes on the road, in theory, the less cars!
And finally, you don’t have to be superfit but as discussed above, hopping on a bicycle is a great way to get fit!