Not all exercise is healthy, fun, and good for the environment, but bicycling definitely is. The eco-friendly exercise can work wonders on your body and act as a convenient form of transportation. Biking stands out from other forms of exercise because it is relatively easy to learn and practice and doesn’t require expensive equipment. No matter if you’re just riding to work or hitting the trail for a long competitive ride, biking can be great for your health. With fresh air, low impact, practicality, and social fun, bicycling is a great exercise option with a number of health benefits.
- It Increases Your Entire Body’s Muscle Mass. It might not seem like it at first glance because there aren’t any weights involved, but bicycling is a great strength-building exercise that can tone your entire body. Your legs will obviously see the most definition because they are working the most, but nearly every other part of your body is involved in cycling, which provides a healthy and strong body all over.
- It Helps Shed Unwanted Body Fat. One of the keys to an overall healthy body is a low-level of body fat, and bicycling helps make that happen. Regular cycling at a fairly rigorous level is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. Cycling at a steady pace burns around 300 calories per hour, which means that riding a bike for 30 minutes a day burns 11 pounds of fat over the course of a year. Cycling raises your metabolic rate and burns fat while building muscle, meaning making it a part of your regular routine can turn fat into muscle. Combined with other healthy choices and a good diet, cycling can help transform your body.
- Increases Cardiovascular Strength. A good bike ride can get your heart pumping, which has a huge effect on strengthening your heart’s muscles over time. A steady bike ride improve cardiovascular fitness by 3%-7%, which can be incredibly effective in lowering your risk of heart disease. Even cycling that isn’t very intense gets your circulatory system moving, which stimulates your lungs, heart, and circulation and lowers the risk for things like heart attacks, high blood pressure, or stroke.
- Bicycling Can Improve Your Mental Health. Biking isn’t just good for your physical health—it can work wonders on your mental health as well. It can help improve your mood and outlook on life. Getting outside to experience nature and get some fresh air can be a quick pick-me-up, and the act of riding a bike pumps endorphins into your body, which lead to increased happiness and lowered stress. Bicycling gives you a chance to enjoy some peace and quiet, which can help with conditions like anxiety, depression, and stress. Put your worries aside when you step on the bike.
- Can Help With Better Balance. Feeling a little wobbly? Try riding a bike. The repetitive action of keeping your body balanced on a bike means it naturally helps your balance and coordination the more you ride. People who bicycle on a regular basis notice more balance in their other activities, which lowers the risk of falling and getting hurt.
- It’s Low impact. Unlike many other forms of exercise, cycling is a good option for people of all ages and health levels because it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the joints. Activities like running or weightlifting can strain the body, but bicycling offers similar benefits without the added impact. Biking is a great option for people with osteoarthritis or those recovering from injuries because it puts such little stress on the joints. Over time, cycling can improve mobility in the hips and knees and can gradually stretch out joints, giving you a healthy body without worrying about damaging or re-injuring a knee or ankle.
- It Can Help Prolong Your Life. Studies have found that people who ride bikes tend to live longer. The harder you bike, the longer you’ll live, but even people who casually commute on a bike gain an additional three to 14 months of their lives.
- Strengthens Your Overall Health. It doesn’t take much for biking to have a huge impact on our overall health and reduce the risk for things like diabetes and other conditions. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are at a lower risk for colon and breast cancer, and cycling has been connected to a lower chance of bowel cancer.
Get out and ride a bike, but please don’t forget to put a helmet on! Bicycling is fun and a great way to improve your overall health. Start living a healthier lifestyle and set yourself up for a lifetime of health and happiness.