Benefits of cycling:
Driving back and forth from work is the norm for most people. However, each minute you spend in the same position adds up and may affect your health negatively. That’s why cycling is a great alternative to ensure you get to work on time but stay active, thus promoting physical and mental health well-being. It’s also a great way to keep fit when you have no time to go to the gym. Learn more about the benefits of cycling ahead!
What is cycling?
Cycling is a form of aerobic exercise that gets your lungs, heart, and blood vessels worked up.
While most people cycle for fun and in their free time, you may use cycling as a mode of transport to and from work. Add a basket to your bike, and you can bike to run errands as well!
This will offer you a convenient way to replace sedentary sitting, which can increase your risk of serious health conditions like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression, obesity, arthritis, and some cancers.
It’s also an easy, low-impact exercise that builds strength and stamina. Besides, it’s a flexible activity that only gets as intense as you want it to be.
Health benefits of biking:
There are many benefits to all sorts of exercise, but here is why getting on your bike is a good choice specifically.
1. Reduces the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, especially because of the rampant sedentary lifestyle. That’s why any slight activity that may lower its risk is worth engaging in.
Cycling to work can help you break the sedentary cycle, promote heart health, lower your risk of cardiovascular conditions, and promote general health and fitness.
Regular cycling strengthens your heart muscles, reduces fat levels in the blood, and lowers your resting heart pulse. This helps promote smooth blood circulation throughout the body and within the heart.
A Danish study conducted over 14 years found that cycling to work offered protection against heart disease and reduced the risk of overall mortality by 40 percent.
2. Helps with weight loss
Your body uses energy to cycle. So the more and faster you cycle, the more calories you burn, and the more weight you’re likely to lose. But if cycling to work, you don’t want to go too intense as you wouldn’t want to show up at work drenched in sweat.
Steady, moderate cycling is enough to help you lose up to 300 calories in 60 minutes. Research shows that someone weighing 155 pounds can burn up to 298 calories cycling for 30 minutes at a pace of 12-13.9 miles per hour. At a faster rate of 14-15.09 miles per hour, this individual can burn up to 372 calories in just 30minutes.
While it’s okay to maintain a moderate pace when cycling to work, you can try increasing the speed on your way home to promote more fat loss.
3. Cancer prevention
Many studies show a link between exercise and cancer prevention, and cycling is one of those exercises that can lower your risk of cancer, especially bowel and breast cancer.
In one study, women who commuted, walked, or cycled to work for 30 minutes or more every day recorded a reduced risk of developing breast cancer than those working from home, unemployed, or driving to work.
Research also shows that staying active may help lower the effects associated with cancer treatment and enhance better life quality.
4. Increases muscle strength and flexibility
Cycling helps strengthen your muscles and promotes flexibility without straining the joints. It specifically targets the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quad muscles. This may, as a result, increase your cycling performance, thus promoting more health benefits.
5. It helps to lower cholesterol
Cycling is a safe and effective form of exercise that can help you lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, commuting to work by bicycle reduced cholesterol levels compared to those who didn’t.
Another study found that cycling regularly reduced the risk of heart attacks by 11-18 percent in adults between 50-65 years.
6. It’s good for your mental health
Like any other aerobic exercise, cycling helps ease depression, stress, and anxiety. One study found that cycling improved cognitive function and well-being in older adults.
Besides, cycling promotes the release of endorphins, natural chemicals that help the body cope with stress, improve mood, and increase dopamine production.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the flow of information, including memory, problem-solving, and attention.
7. It improves balance, coordination, and posture
Most people develop poor posture, mainly due to poor sitting positions all day long.
However, regular cycling may help correct your posture and coordination, and promote balance.
Also, balance tends to decline with age. So cycling may be the best way to walk into old age.
Cons of cycling:
Just like any means of transport, cycling may have its disadvantages.
This may include:
- Exposure to the elements of weather such as heat, humidity, and rain
- Unexpected expenses such as a bell or horn, helmet, high visibility clothing, lights, and a lock. Regular maintenance may also add to the expenses
- Dangerous drivers
- Road hazards like stones, holes, or oil spills that are otherwise not dangerous to vehicles can be disastrous for cyclists.
- Poor lights may make it harder to see and be seen by motorists
- Lack of back trails and lanes
- Limited travel distance
Final thoughts on the benefits of cycling:
Cycling to work is a fun and easy way to stay healthy, especially when under a tight schedule and have no time to exercise.
It can help you stay physically fit, increase your strength and flexibility, lower cholesterol, improve mental health, promote cardiovascular health, and maintain good balance and posture.
But remember to exercise caution whenever necessary, especially on busy streets, and for the most part, those without bicycle lanes.
Also, obey the weather. If the weather is not favorable for cycling, go back to using your car, but you should get back on cycling as soon as the weather is good enough.
And, of course, ensure you have all the protective gear to ensure maximum safety.
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