Hi! To be and stay healthy you need to be physically active. That’s a very important part of the equation along with a nutritious diet.
Now that it’s summer time, I wanted to share some information on the positive effects bike riding has on your health.
Bringing it back to the title of this blog, I’m basically going to answer the question “What are benefits of bike riding?” Actually, there are very many and you may be surprised at some of them. So without further ado, below I’ll be going over them.
1. Cardiovascular – Pedaling a bike does wonders for your heart, lungs, and circulation. It helps your heart muscle and lungs get stronger. Circulation throughout your entire body, not just your lower body, is improved.
2. Weight Loss – Studies have shown that riding a bike at a moderate pace can burn roughly 300 calories per hour. For someone who’s goal is to lose weight this can be a great option.
3. Balance and Coordination – Since balance and coordination are needed to stay upright on your bike, these 2 aspects of fitness are enhanced along with many others.
4. Joints – Bike riding is a low impact activity so your ligaments and tendons undergo less stress than a lot of other exercises. Your joints are strengthened making them more durable for future activity.
5. Flexibility – Because your joints are made stronger, your overall flexibility is improved as well.
6. Muscular Strength – Pedaling involves many muscles working together so it’s more than just your legs that get stronger. It’s also great for your glutes (buttocks). While steering, kinetic chain movements are involved so your upper body also gets a workout.
7. Metabolism – Biking improves your metabolism, this makes it easier for your body to burn calories during normal activities.
Research conducted by scientists has shown that the following benefits may apply to people who bicycle at a moderate pace on a regular basis.
8. Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Cognitive Functioning – Cycling helps reduce the symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. This is because while bike riding endorphin chemicals are released in your brain.
These chemicals improve your mood and help you feel happy. Also, your cognitive functioning is more acute because of increased neural activity in your brain.
9. Stroke, Blood Pressure, Heart Disease – Bicycling can reduce your risk of stroke and help lower your blood pressure. Since your heart muscle becomes stronger this decreases your chances of heart disease.
10. Diabetes – Bike riding at a moderate pace 2 hours a week or more can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
11. Lungs – Most bike riders ride on the edge of streets, and as a result breathe in less pollution than car drivers. Hence, your lungs can become stronger over time.
12. Cancer – Consistent cycling may reduce your overall risk of having cancer.
13. Sleep – Riding a bike in daylight can improve the circadian rhythm in your body leading to deeper and higher quality sleep.
14. Lifespan – Cycling can have anti-aging effects which promote a longer life expectancy.
15. Gastrointestinal Function – Physical activity decreases the time it takes food to move through your digestive tract. Since biking increases your heart rate and breathing, this in turn stimulates your intestinal muscles which improve your gastrointestinal system.
16. Immune System – Your immune system becomes stronger with bicycling making you less prone to illness and disease.
The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) did an outstanding article on the effects of bike riding you can see here.
Why Bike Ride?
1. Simple – Most of us learned to ride a bike at a young age and still know how to do it. Therefore, it’s not something many of us need to to be taught. Bicycling is definitely one of the easiest activities you can partake in to improve your health.
2. Intensity – With bike riding you’re in full control of how fast or slow you go. You know your body, so if you need to pick up your pace or slow down to catch your breath it’s easy to do so.
3. Enjoyment – Cycling can be one of the most enjoyable and relaxing exercises you can find.
If you’re able to ride outside city limits in a countryside somewhere it can be very peaceful. It’s also something the whole family or your friends can do with you so everyone can have fun.
4. Errands – Once in a while you may be able to use a bike instead of your car to run errands. If you have a basket on your bike you can get small items from a store. Or if you need to go to a place like the bank or library, you can bike there instead as well.
5. Environment – Riding a bike instead of driving a car is better for the environment. Bicycles don’t spit out any harmful toxins into the air like many cars do.
6. Traffic – Research has shown that biking in some UK cities can get you to your destination faster. In some UK cities during rush hour traffic moves about 7 mph, whereas bicycling can allow you to move about 12 mph.
7. Economical – Every time you use your bike instead of your car you save on gas. With gas prices not being as cheap as they used to be, this can save you a good bit of money over time.
If you don’t have a mobile bicycle, you can still reap many advantages from using an exercise bike. So don’t let the fact that you don’t have a bike stop you from engaging in a great cardiovascular and strength workout.
Please make sure you wear a helmet at all times while cycling. Inadvertently hitting a pothole or rock could result in serious injury, so definitely take precautions to protect yourself. Also, if you ride at night make sure you have reflective devices for your bike and wear reflective clothing.
Summary – If you’re looking for a way to break up the monotony of traditional exercise, cycling is an excellent option. It’s almost a total body workout that can help you get in awesome shape. Also, one of the best parts about it is, it’s really a lot of fun!
If you haven’t ridden in a while or don’t have a bike, it’s a good investment that can give your body nice rewards. You can feel like a kid for a little while and relieve stress at the same time.
So what kind of experiences have you had with a bike? Feel free to share them with us in the comments. Or, if you have any questions or comments please let me know and I’ll gladly get back to you. Thanks for your time and let’s go biking!