It’s a long-established fact that cycling has multiple health benefits for body and mind. It also brings a sense of enjoyment and achievement.
What we have all needed during lockdown is a boost to our wellbeing, which has helped drive demand for both outdoor and indoor bikes and for some, a new passion for cycling. Here are some of the proven health benefits a regular workout on two wheels can bring:
Improved cardiovascular function
Cycling for just 30 minutes a day can vastly improve your cardiovascular system and reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and hypertension. As an aerobic activity, your heart, lungs and blood vessels all get a vigorous workout. Cycling also reduces your blood pressure and your resting heart rate, as well as regulating blood sugar.
Boosted energy levels
Cycling can bring an unexpected benefit for many new cyclists – higher energy levels for day-to-day life. As you’re building stamina, muscle strength and overall physical endurance, this gives you more gas in the tank – daily activities such as walking up the stairs will no longer be a challenge thanks to the additional strength and fitness which regular cycling brings.
Improved muscle strength and tone
Cycling is great for toning up your legs, abdominals and waist as the resistance element of cycling helps to build muscle strength. The more muscle mass you build, the easier it is to burn fat.
Better mental wellbeing
Mental wellbeing accounts for many factors, perhaps more than you realise. Cycling has been linked to improved concentration, better memory function, a reduction in anxiety, stress and depression and increased feelings of wellbeing and contentment.
It triggers the release of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good hormones. Increased health and fitness brought by regular cycling contributes to a generally happier outlook on life, making us feel mentally energised.
Another health benefit of cycling is that it promotes better sleep at night. Exercise has been associated with a decrease in insomnia, as studies have also shown that physically active people sleep better and feel more rested when they wake up.
And of course, we all know stress negatively impacts all areas of our lives – as a form of physical exercise, cycling can actually help to alleviate it. It can put things into perspective by taking your mind off problems, or give you an opportunity to adopt a calmer approach in tackling thoughts or issues.
Stronger immune system
Lack of physical activity has been proven to increase the risk of chronic illness and mortality. Regular cycling helps to boost immune function and reduce the level of inflammation in the body, making you less susceptible to infection and cutting the risk of developing serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and certain cancers.
As burning off mega calories goes, you would be hard pushed to find another form of exercise that ticks this box more than cycling. Cycling at a steady pace burns around 300 calories per hour but the more intensive the exercise, the more calories burned; even up to an eye-popping 1,000 calories an hour!
This also means you can indulge guilt-free in one of your favourite treats after a long session on the saddle as those calories will need to be replaced. Plus, as you increase your metabolism and build muscle, you will burn more calories while at rest.
Accompanied by a healthy diet, cycling can help you lose weight and keep it off – enhancing your quality of life, sense of wellbeing and life expectancy.
So what are you waiting for? Jump on that saddle and get peddling!