They say that once you learn how to ride a bicycle, you never forget it. This is great news, as cycling is something that can really come in handy at all ages. It’s considered one of the most ideal exercises out there. You don’t see fitness experts and nutritionists recommending it for no reason.
Compared to most other physical activities, cycling has some very clear advantages. Regular cyclists get to enjoy a wide variety of both physical and mental health benefits, and that’s just putting it lightly. Riding a bicycle can improve various aspects of your life, starting with your physical form. If you’re wondering what else cycling has up its sleeve, here are a few interesting benefits worth noting.
Say goodbye to excess weight
Weight loss is pretty simple in theory. You calculate the number of calories you consume and subtract the number you spend through exercise. If the result is negative, you’re on the right track towards losing weight. However, it can get a little more complicated than that. Getting the right kind of exercise and burning calories on a regular basis isn’t easy. Consistency is key, and it’s the main factor that sets people back when working on reaching an ideal weight.
When you come home after a stressful day at work, putting in the additional effort is the last thing on your mind, even if it’s just for exercise. Who’s going to go around the block for a run when their joints are aching from sitting at work all day? Hardly anyone would be up for the task. It’s not just motivation that keeps people from reaching a desirable amount of exercise. Time restraints will keep you from doing a full workout, leading to an excess of calories at the end of the day. A half-hour of running might burn calories, but lots of time is lost in preparation, hydration, washing, etc.
Cycling has always been considered an ideal exercise for reaching a more desirable weight. There are several benefits that cycling has over other kinds of aerobic exercises. For one, it’s surprisingly easy on the joints. There are no sudden movements and there’s hardly any pressure on your Achilles tendon. The only requirement for a comfortable ride is that your knees are working fine. Then there’s the caloric loss. You can lose up to a thousand calories from just an hour of high-intensity cycling. That’s an enormous number that comes from just one exercise. It’s a pretty efficient way to lose weight and get a good form.
Building extra muscle
While cycling is mostly considered an aerobic exercise, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an anaerobic element to it. In fact, cycling can build quite a bit of muscle if you do it properly. If you’ve ever seen professional cyclists’ legs, you’ll know it’s nothing to scoff at.
The resistance portion of cycling is the main factor that builds muscle mass. The extra muscle mass is mostly concentrated around specific muscle groups. This happens to the hamstrings, glutes, quads, and calves. Once you really get into cycling, these muscles start packing on quite a bit of mass. Leg muscles are the toughest to build, and they’re quickest to decrease in size when sedentary. However, when they’re regularly worked out, the effect is quite noticeable. Not only do you have more defined and massive legs, but you also get a good bonus to your stability and posture.
Gaining tons of mass in your legs will require additional workouts at the gym, but there’s hardly any reason to force this kind of growth. Cycling alone will give you extremely toned legs that might just end up being the envy of everyone at the pool.
You might think that the quality of air plays a big part in the healthiness of riding a bicycle. After all, when you’re spending hours riding in the big city, you’re not exactly getting the cleanest air in your lungs. The constant fumes that come from the thousands of cars surrounding you are bound to have a negative impact, right? Not exactly.
As unreasonable as it might seem at first, you’re much better off cycling than riding around in your car. Even though the car can filter out and block much of the unhealthy air coming in, it’s still positioned front and center when other car’s fumes come out of the exhaust. Cyclists seem to avoid a big part of the fumes, for whatever reason.
One of the great advantages of cycling is that you can take your workout outside of town. Get a good view of the countryside while you exercise and you’ll also benefit from the fresh air. Why bother with riding around in a crowded and polluted city when you can just take a detour through nature? Not only will you get fresh air that will motivate and refresh you, but you’ll also avoid all the smog and exhaust fumes that permeate the city. It helps to clean out your lungs every once in a while.
Cut back on travel times
Cycling is an especially amazing activity because it’s effectively both an exercise and a method of transportation. As long as you’re travelling a reasonable distance within your city, you can use your bike. The best part is – you can choose how much of a workout it is by adjusting speed and deciding which path to take.
When you’re trying to get to work, you take all of the help that you can get. Commutes are especially difficult as you’re basically wasting time and fuel to get to your job, and you’re not earning any money along the way. It’s an unfortunate part of working in many big cities. During rush hour, you can be expected to sit in traffic for an hour or more while waiting for all the other cars to make their way. Luckily, you don’t always have to sit behind the wheel when you head to work.
Cycling is quickly becoming a favourite alternative mode of transportation for busy people. Not only does it help avoid the brunt of the traffic to work, but it’s also possible to get a good workout out of it. Replacing your whole commute with a bike ride is pretty challenging though. For starters, you’re going to need a bike that can cover the journey without taking damage. Cheaper bikes might start breaking down during harsh weather conditions after a while. Some more durable bikes like the ones at Bikes Online have made countless commutes quicker and more comfortable. The bike also needs to fit you right, so that any discomfort you might have isn’t enhanced by the bike.
You would have to work on that cardio a tiny bit before replacing the whole commute, otherwise, you might end up showing up to work completely drenched in sweat. However, it’s more than worth the effort, as the costs and travel times are drastically cut back when you cycle to work.
Get your beauty sleep
Sleep is something most of the world doesn’t get enough of. People underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Lots of people are chronic insomniacs that spend their late nights finishing up work or procrastinating and hanging out online. It has become an epidemic that is significantly affecting parts of their lives, even if they might not be aware of it. Good sleep is crucial for physical development and preparedness. Ask any fitness guru and they’ll be quick to remind you that you need proper rest before seeing any progress.
Let’s not forget about the mental aspect of sleep. Concentration and focus quickly drop when you’re underslept, even for one night. It gets even worse when you factor in countless sleepless nights.
A solid exercise like cycling can really help improve sleeping habits. It might seem obvious that getting tired out would lead to a good night’s sleep, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Fitness can improve the quality of sleep in general, even when it’s not done right before bed. The reason for this is that exercising promoted cardiovascular health, which has been linked to sleep quality.
Plus, cycling has been shown to reduce general anxiety and stress. Regularly working out causes the release of endorphins, our body’s natural calming hormones, which help reduce feelings of anxiousness. Combined with the physically calming effects of exercise, you have yourself a recipe for a good night’s sleep. Excess weight is something that has also been linked with bad sleep patterns, and you can bet that cycling helps with this as well. Getting some fresh air and nature doesn’t sound too bad, either. As it turns out, riding a bicycle is pretty good for just about everything that’s linked to sleeping habits.
With all the many benefits that come with cycling, it’s a wonder that everyone hasn’t taken it up. It can positively affect just about every sphere of your life, as long as you partake in it regularly. Besides the physical and mental benefits, there’s also the practical element of having a cheap and efficient mode of transportation. Considering all of this, it might be hard to hit the gym and sit on a stationary bike ever again.
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