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Health Benefits of Cycling

IN THE August 24 ISSUE

FROM THE 2019 Articles,
andGoing Green
SECTIONS

by David De Haan

Not only do you help the environment when you cycle, but you also help yourself.

Everyone knows that cycling is beneficial. However, the details of its benefits are not always well known. There has been a lot of research to find out exactly what bike riding does for the human body, physically, emotionally, and mentally. The findings will make you want to cycle every day for the rest of your life.bikes

Here is what happens if you regularly ride your bike.

Forever Young

Cycling slows down the aging process. As you get older, your muscles get weaker, your bones become brittle, and other, frequently complicated, health problems begin to crop up. The human body does not age well—that’s just how things are. Although you cannot entirely stop this process, you can slow it down through cycling.

Two recent studies have shown that you are twice as likely to age successfully if you cycle for about 90 minutes a day. Aging successfully means aging without developing many health troubles. First, you will increase your number of T-cells. These are immune cells that decline as you age. Secondly, your risk of getting depression, cancer, heart diseases, and disability reduces drastically.

Lose Excess Pounds

Losing weight is difficult to do. It is even harder if you rarely have time to go to the gym. This is why bike riding is perfect for dieters. It is convenient, not very hard, and gives impressive results in the number of pounds shed. You are even luckier if you have a mechanical bike trainer—they make smart ones nowadays.

One hour of cycling burns an average of 500 calories. This is at a moderate speed. If you want, you can lose more by incorporating different kinds of exercises, some on your bike and others off the bike. The best thing is that it works every muscle in your body. So you will end up with a toned and lean structure as a bonus.bikeduffy

Bigger Brain

Riding your bike causes your brain to increase in size. This is probably the most amazing thing about cycling. Did you know that your brain can grow much like a muscle? The section of your brain used for learning and memory becomes bigger when you do aerobic exercises, and cycling is one of them.

As it grows, more nutrients are supplied to that part. So while you are getting fit and having fun on your bike, your memory and learning capacity will improve significantly. This makes cycling a good exercise for the family—especially children in school.

Better Mental Health

If you want to be happier, ride your bike. Life is full of ups and downs. During the downs, it is easy for stress to lead to sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression. Stress is not always a bad thing, but you have to keep it under control. Cycling, as an aerobic exercise, reduces cortisol (a stress hormone) levels and facilitates the production of endorphins (feel-good hormones).

More endorphins and less cortisol mean that you will be more relaxed and clear-headed. Studies show that people who cycle often, generally feel better and have brighter moods. They have more organized lives and can face whatever life throws at them healthily and efficiently. Anxiety sensitivity also decreases. There are real-life stories of people who completely overcame depression and anxiety by cycling.sunnyside

You should also know that cycling can boost your self-esteem. It is important to think highly of oneself—not in an arrogant way, but believing in your strengths and abilities. This way, you will use your skills confidently.

Low Impact Exercise

High impact exercises, such as running, can be a little risky. They are not recommended for people with arthritis, injuries, or weaker bones, as well as other special groups of people who cannot do anything strenuous. However, we all need to exercise. Adults need 30 minutes of physical exercise every day, while children need 60 minutes to stay healthy.

Cycling is a low-impact exercise and the risk of suffering an injury is very low. You will be getting the recommended amount of exercise without having to cause further damage to your joints. In fact, when athletes suffer injuries, they are advised to cycle for a faster recovery.

Less Time at the Hospital

Cycling, like many other physical exercises, helps keep heart diseases away. But did you know that it does more than that?

You can avoid cancer by riding your bike. Studies are still being conducted, and there are many other factors that may cause one to get cancer. But what has been studied so far indicates that you can lower your chances of developing some cancers, such as breast and colon cancer.

Since bike riding helps you lose weight and stay fit, it reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 40%. Type 2 has become widespread in recent decades, and doctors believe that lack of physical exercise is one of its major causes. Get off the couch and hop on your bike.

Finally, cycling generally improves your immune system. In addition, your respiratory system will be strengthened.

Cycling is highly underrated. If scientific research is anything to go by—and it is—more people should incorporate bike riding into their lives. When you ride your bike, you will stay in good health even as you get older. Your immune system is likely to be strengthened, which means fewer sick days. You will not have to struggle as much with overweight and the complications that come with it. Additionally, you can say goodbye to anxiety/depression and enjoy the advantages of having an outstanding memory.

This article is not exhaustive, and cycling offers many more benefits. It even helps the environment when you cycle.

I hope this motivates you to spend more time on your bike.

David De Haan is the founder of BikeTrainerWorld.com, a website dedicated to helping beginning cyclists with tips, advice, and gear reviews so they can reach their full potential.

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