No matter whether you are a professional cyclist, or you just want to take advantage of a beautiful day, you can enjoy this physical activity as well as reap the health benefits cycling brings.

Relaxed cycling burns more calories than relaxed walking. It is one of the easiest and cheapest sports you can do. It is more fun to cycle outdoors than to be constrained in a gym. This activity can be as intense as you want: very low intensity if you recovering from injury, or if you do not have high levels of physical skill, while high intensity can become a real workout. Finally, cycling can be your mode of transport and you can even save money.

Not yet convinced to take up cycling? Stay with us to discover the health benefits of this sport.

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Cycling does not put stress on knees, ankles and feet

Unlike running, cycling is not hard for your knees, ankles and feet since it is a low-impact exercise. It does not cause strain on your body like running and walking do. This means that if you can run for a mile, you can certainly cycle for 5 miles. This is especially important for people who do not exercise regularly, people over 60s and people who are recovering from injury, or illness.

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Cycling is a full body workout

Both leg and upper body muscles are used in this sport. The following leg muscles are utilized while cycling: quadraceps muscles (front of thighs), hamstrings (rear of thigh), calf muscles, hip flexors, gluteus maximus, plantarflexors of the foot and dorsiflexors of the foot.

Upper body muscles are also strengthened, including your arms: abdominal muscles, both internal and external ones, chest and shoulders and muscles of the back.

When you grip onto the handles and when you lean forward while riding, biceps and triceps of your upper arms are worked.

Make sure your back is straight during the ride in order to engage the muscles of the back as much as possible. The muscles of the back are especially used if you are cycling uphill, or if you are riding over rough terrain since the back creates balance in these situations.

Don't Kill The Messenger | Bryan Derballa

Don’t Kill The Messenger | Bryan Derballa

Cycling improves your stamina

Your stamina is being built every time you cycle and after each ride, you can cycle longer. If you are a beginner, here is the useful tip how to build your stamina. The exercise lasts 25 minutes.

For the first 2 minutes, warm up with easy cycling. Then the following sets should be repeated 3 times. Firstly, pedal at 60% energy for 4 minutes. Secondly, pedal at 80% energy for 2 minutes and, finally, cool down with easy pedaling for 2 minutes.

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Cycling controls and reduces weight

Cycling has proved to be one of the best ways to fight obesity. It raises your metabolic rate, it burns fat and builds muscle, as we have shown.

On the other hand, bike commuting is the easiest way to stay healthy and to control weight. It is far more realistic to commute to work by bike than to find time to exercise before, or after work.

If you want to ride in order to lose weight, you need to do it for 30-90 minutes every day. Another reason why you should commute by bike.

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Cycling and cardiovascular health

Regular bike riding improves your heart, lungs and circulation.  According to various studies, cycling reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack.

Another study showed that habitual cycling can improve cardiovascular health by 3-7%. The people who cycle 20 miles a week are 50% less likely to develop heart disease compared to their sedentary counterparts.

Cycling and diabetes

Obese people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Obesity can increase the risk of developing diabetes by 30-50%. In contrast, the research in Finland discovered that those who cycled for more than 30 minutes a day had a 40% lower risk of developing this disease.

Cycling and healthy bones, muscles and joints

Cycling has positive effects on osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and lower back pain. Osteoporosis is a bone disorder characterized by abnormally low bone mineral density. Especially young people should maintain physical activity throughout their life in order to prevent osteoporosis.  The same applies to osteoarthritis. The adolescents who are physically fit are associated with lower risk of developing low back pain.

Cycling and mental health

Physical activity, in this case cycling, is associated with increased self-esteem and improved mood and emotions. Active individuals usually do not suffer from anxiety, or emotional distress. Especially those patients with mild depression and low self-esteem can improve their self-image and self-worth through cycling.

Before you actually start riding, choose your bike and cycling gear wisely. Not every bike and cycling gear is good. Do not go for a ride without proper gear, knee pads and elbow pads.

Do not limit yourself to cycling only. Include other activities, as well.

Start slowly. Cycling 2-3 times a week is fine at the beginning.

Finally, increase speed gradually.

Happy riding!