We’ve all seen professional cyclists competing at the highest levels, namely the Tour de France, and if you’ve noticed, those athletes are some of the most fit individuals on the planet. That’s because not only is cycling one of the best full-body workouts to keep you fit on the outside, but it helps keep you fit on the inside as well. Here are the Top 10 Health Benefits of Cycling:
- Builds strength: Contrary to what you might think, cycling is not a fitness activity that solely involves the legs. Cycling builds full-body strength since every single part of the body is involved in cycling.
- Great for the heart: Cycling strengthens the muscle of your heart, lowers resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels, so you have less risk for heart disease. Research also shows that people who bike to work have two to three times less exposure to pollution than car commuters, so their lung function is improved.
- Improves cardiovascular fitness: Cycling makes the heart pound in a steady manner and helps improve cardiovascular fitness. Studies have shown that cycling to work will increase cardiovascular fitness by 3-7%.
- Increases muscle tone: Cycling improves general muscle function, with little risk of over-exercise or strain. Regular cycling strengthens leg muscles and is great for the mobility of hip and knee joints. You will gradually begin to see an improvement in the muscle tone of your legs, thighs, rear end and hips.
- Easy on the joints: Running has the potential to take its toll on the body. Biking, on the other hand, is far lower impact and engages the muscles in the legs without as much stress on the knees and ankles. Riding a bike is also an ideal form of exercise if you are recovering from injury or have osteoarthritis, because it is low-impact.
- Helps combat many common health ailments and cancers: Large-scale research in Finland found that people who cycled for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. Also, some research has shown that if you cycle, it can lower your risk of some cancers.
- Burns calories (and fat!): Cycling is a good way to lose those unwanted pounds. Steady cycling burns approximately 300 calories per hour. If you cycle for 30 minutes every day, you would burn 11 pounds of fat in a year. Since it helps build muscle, cycling will also boost your metabolic rate long after you’ve finished your ride.
- Builds stamina: Cycling is a good way to build stamina. The more you get on a bike, you’ll find that you are able to go longer than you did before.
- It’s a healthy mode of transportation: Biking is a completely green form of transportation that’s free (so long as you have a bike) and provides some great exercise to boot. Instead of slouching in front of the steering wheel cursing rush hour traffic, biking to work adds an additional calorie burn to your daily or occasional routine.
- Helps fight depression: Mental health conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety can be reduced by regular bike riding. This is due to the effects of the exercise itself and because of the enjoyment that riding a bike can bring.