Cycling is something we should all be involved in, because of the enormous benefits we can get from it. I will share with you the various health benefits that are associated with cycling. The following are few of the major ones:
Simplest ways to exercise
You can ride a bicycle virtually anywhere at any time of the year, and without spending a fortune. Many people are put off from doing certain sports simply because of the high level of skills that appears to be required, or perhaps because they cannot be committed to a team sport due to time pressures. Most of us know how to cycle and once you have learned you do not forget easily. All you just need is a bike, a half an hour here or there when it suits, and with a bit of confidence.
Builds strength and muscle tone
Contrary to standard perceptions, cycling is not a fitness activity that only involves the legs. Cycling builds strength in a complete manner since every single part of the body is involved in cycling.
Cycling progressively improves general muscle function, with slight risk of over exercise or strain. Regular cycling helps strengthens the leg muscles and it is great for the mobility of hip and knee joints. You will gradually start to see an improvement in the muscle tone of your thighs, legs, rear end and hips.
Riding your bike is a very good way to build stamina. It is very efficient in doing so because people really enjoy cycling and they wouldn’t notice that they’ve gone farther the last time they went cycling compare to other sports.
Improves the cardio-vascular fitness
Researches have shown that riding bike to work will improve cardiovascular fitness by 3-7%. Cycling make use of the largest muscle groups, the legs, increasing heart rate to benefit stamina and fitness.
Cycling is also a good way to lose those unwanted pounds. Constant cycling burns about 300 calories per hour. Mathematically, if you bike for 30 minutes every day you would burn up to 11 pounds of fat in a year. Since it helps to build muscle, cycling will also help boost your metabolic rate long after you must have finished your ride.
Improves heart health
According to the BMA (British Medical Association), cycling, just about 20 miles a week, can minimise the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. A major study of 10,000 civil servants suggested that those who cycled 20 miles over the period of a week were half as likely to suffer heart disease opposed to their other colleagues who don’t cycle.
Any type of regular exercise can minimise stress and depression and improve wellbeing and self-esteem. Cycling is also a great way to get outdoors and get back to nature and helps to take your mind away from the stress of everyday life. When incorporating cycling into an overall fitness program, there are several aspects to consider. Some important things to remember are:
- Consult your doctor: Virtually everyone can do cycling. But, it is still best to consult your doctor when thinking about incorporating cycling activity into an overall fitness program. They will advise you regarding your limits and capacities and what you must avoid doing.
- Begin slowly and then increase your cycling: For beginners, devise a program wherein cycling is carried out three times a week. Doing it two times a week can also be fine, but this depends on the capabilities of whoever is undergoing the training.
- Increase speed gradually: Gradual increase in speeds is a very important aspect of fitness cycling. Cycling can be strenuous to the body and the strategic towards successful fitness cycling, be patient and don’t be in a hurry in increasing your limits.
Better safe than sorry
Cycling is great fun but it is very important to get the right equipment for the activity. The helmet, kneepads, elbow pads should always be in place when cycling.
Cycling is not only a sport it is a great way to stay healthy. It does not have to be for the pros only. This is also a great outdoor activity for the entire family to enjoy by doing something together. Quality family time is important and what a better way to be together than taking a long bike ride through a park or on a mountain bike trail. For those that cycle often, kudos. To those still considering it I’d say may hay while the sun shines as there is no better time to start other than now.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Tejvan Pettinger