Guest Contributor Michael Van Gerpen Offers Up A Dozen Benefits To Adding Cycling To Your Summer Activities Lists •
Beyond being just a mode of transportation or another form of exercise, cycling offers a multitude of additional benefits as well. Whether you prefer riding indoors or outdoors, a leisurely ride or an intense workout, alone or with a group, virtual or in-person, cycling is incredibly versatile and a fantastic option for people of all ages, abilities, and fitness levels.
Here are 12 great reasons to hop on a bike:
1. Low Impact
Compared to other forms of exercise, cycling doesn’t put as much stress and strain on your joints or skeletal system. This makes it ideal when performing more intense workouts, active recovery, and rehabbing injuries. Cycling is also one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing pain and stiffness in individuals with arthritis or joint issues.
2. Improved Strength
Although considered an aerobic form of exercise, cycling provides a well-rounded lower-body workout by engaging major muscle groups such as the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. It also naturally engages your core muscles, which can lead to improved balance and stability. Certain types of cycling that expose a rider to ground impact and uneven terrain, such as mountain biking, have even been shown to benefit bone strength and structure.
3. Better Balance, Flexibility, and Posture
Cycling helps improve balance and coordination, which is crucial for preventing falls, especially among older adults. It also promotes flexibility by alleviating joint stiffness and increasing muscle elasticity. Proper posture on the bike also translates to good posture off the bike. By maintaining proper posture during cycling, you strengthen your lower back, align your spine, and reduce various health issues associated with poor posture.
4. More Energy
Regular physical activity boosts energy levels both during exercise as well as throughout the day. It increases mitochondria production and improves oxygen circulation, resulting in a more efficient energy supply to your body. Regardless of your riding intensity, cycling is a fantastic way to tap into your body’s energy-producing mechanism.
5. Burns More Calories
Your body needs calories to function properly, but consume too many and they get stored as fat. Cycling is one of the most effective calorie-burning exercises, especially at higher intensities. It increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR) by building larger muscle tissue, causing your body to burn more calories even at rest.
6. Better Sleep
A good night’s sleep has been linked to reduced stress, more energy, improved weight loss and maintenance, a stronger immune system, and much more. Cycling helps you burn more energy during the day, leading to improved sleep quality at night. Regular exercise, including cycling, has been shown to aid sleep by regulating body temperature and promoting a faster and deeper slumber.
7. Reduced Risk of Illness and Disease
Aerobic exercises like cycling lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen the heart, and enhance circulation. It also lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature death. Moderate to vigorous cycling strengthens the immune system, making it easier to fight off common illnesses. High-intensity cycling significantly reduces the risk of highly metastatic cancers. Cycling to work has even been shown to reduce exposure to pollution, benefiting overall lung function.
8. Sharpens the Mind
Regular exercise, including cycling, enhances cognitive processes and memory. It reduces the risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of dementia. Improved blood flow to the brain during exercise also boosts mental performance and capacity.
9. Improved Well-Being
Cycling releases endorphins, providing pain relief, reducing stress, and improving mood. It also alleviates anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and social withdrawal. Cycling has been shown to improve mental health, even aiding with depression and anxiety. Additionally, cycling is a fantastic way to build mental toughness and resiliency.
10. Fun Family Activity
Cycling is a fantastic activity for the whole family, allowing you to spend quality time together while exploring the outdoors and enjoying nature. It promotes a sense of adventure, discovery, and freedom, making it an enjoyable recreational activity for people of all ages. Additionally, electric bikes make it easy for older individuals and those with injuries or disabilities to join in the family fun as well.
11. Expands Your Social Circle
Although often thought of as an individual sport, cycling can be a social activity as well. Whether through group rides, participating in cycling events, or simply riding with friends and family, cycling with others can be a lot of fun. It also offers a sense of camaraderie and accountability. And if you’re new to cycling, it’s a fantastic way to pick up tips and advice from more experienced riders.
12. Helps the Environment
Cycling is an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, producing zero emissions and reducing air and noise pollution. Choosing cycling as a means of transportation contributes to a greener planet by reducing reliance on cars and decreasing traffic congestion.
Whether you’re just beginning or have been riding for years, there’s no shortage of reasons to hop on a bike. So, if you’re ready to get started but need some help finding that perfect bike, check out this guide on the different types of bikes and we’ll get you pointed in the right direction!