From helping protect the environment to improving your fitness level, cycling is a sport/hobby that comes with numerous benefits. However, the health benefits seem to be the most pronounced, as many people ride bicycles as a form of therapy. Here are just a couple of ways cycling can improve your health.
A longer and healthier life
When people are healthy, their cells die out slower, so folks live to see 90 and even 100 years old! In the past, studies have shown that if one twin was an active cyclist, while the other one rarely pedals, the bike enthusiast on average lived longer.
In general, people who exercise regularly are at lower risk of getting sick from type 2 diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular diseases. Since cycling is considered as a training session, your body’s immune system will be stronger and it’ll regenerate cells.
A breath of fresh air
Every good cardio will leave you gasping for breath at the end. This is a good thing after cycling, running, or swimming but trying to catch your breath after two flights of stairs is indicative of a problem.
Since cycling is a moderate exercise, it helps you regulate your breathing, while at the same time, keeping other ailments at bay.
For instance, there are few obese cyclists and obese people have trouble breathing normally due to the pressure al that extra weight exerts on their body.
In fact, there have been medical studies that show that women at birth benefit a lot if their lungs are 100%, letting them breathe naturally, without the help of an oxygen tank.
Trying to lose weight?
For obese people, jogging through the park presents a real challenge, more mentally than physically. However, riding a bicycle is more acceptable, as they won’t be exposed to other people’s views to be judges (unfortunately, people do this).
Furthermore, running isn’t ideal for obese people, as all that mass exerts tremendous pressure on their ankles and lower body musculature in general. In order to avoid injuries, sit on a bike and start pedaling. The engineering behind a typical bicycle means that less force is placed on legs and feet.
Healthy and strong at heart
There is no doubt that cycling is good cardio. However, did you know that only 20 minutes of cycling per day can reduce the risk of a heart attack by as much as 50%? Yes, your beloved two-wheeler is standing between you and your dicky-ticker giving up on you.
It’s not just cycling but pretty much every physical activity. The more you exercise, the better your coronary health is. Unlike working out at the gym, cycling doesn’t require mental preparation or suffering pain, as cycling through nature is actually fun.
Cycling (and) snacks
After an hour of incessant cycling, your body will want a break. At these times, you need to replenish your energy supplies quickly, so unhealthy snacks (which we hope you normally avoid) are actually desirable at these times.
Yes, salty snacks are considered unhealthy but when you are facing dehydration, a bag of crisps is precisely what you need. Of course, don’t forget to bring a large bottle of water as well. The sodium in healthy snacks protects your body against hypernatremia.
This condition is frequent in people who drink too much water with low sodium content. Unless you get enough water and electrolytes inside your body, you’ll start feeling dizzy, disoriented, ill, and you might end up fainting.
Green cycling: The natural way
Federico García Lorca’s Romance Sonámbulo’s first line could very well serve as the cyclists’ motto: “Green, how I want you green.” Namely, cycling through the city isn’t that much fun because you are probably commuting.
On the other side, riding your bike for fun implies you are going to take it through the suburbs or ideally, through nature. If you get a mountain bike that is in excellent shape, you can get off the beaten path and ride through untouched wilderness.
The benefits of riding your bike on countryside roads are that you get to breathe in fresh air while exercising. Your brain gets more oxygen and your brain has a real chance of relaxing. Back in the city, cycling is stressful because you have to be on constant alert for reckless drivers (and pedestrians).
If we go back to the mental health benefits of cycling, this activity is intended for loner and family men and women. Namely, if you wish to be left alone, so you can retrospect, cycling is the perfect activity. On the other side, if you feel like you’re not spending enough time with your family, you can all ride together, as a family “formation.”
Namely, cycling allows busy people to exercise and spend quality time with their children, saving them a lot of free time. When you buy your children their first bikes, they’ll be over the moon. Afterward, they can decorate them any way they like, with you lending a helping hand.
A senior-friendly activity
Children on bikes are a common sight but when was the last time you saw a senior citizen pedaling? It would seem that grandmas and grandpas shy away from bicycles because they perceive them as hazardous.
Although seniors have mobility issues, many of them are still enough to hop on a bike. If they are concerned about safety, there are bikes with auxiliary or training wheels that will help them keep their balance. Low to moderate physical activity is essential for the health of any person over 60 years old.
A bowel(ful) boost
Cycling has a deep effect on your health, quite literally. Namely, all forms of physical activity decrease the time it takes food (even healthy ones) to pass through the large intestine. As a result, the amount of water absorbed back into your body is limited.
Also, your stool becomes softer, making it easier to pass; again, something that seniors and children benefit from the most. Additionally, all that heavy breathing and an increased heart rate help the contraction of intestinal muscles.
Based on everything listed above, it is a smart thing to take up cycling, at least as a hobby. However, this statement may be truer than it seems at first. Namely, cyclists often perform better in mental tests, showing a correlation between cycling and brainpower.
Cycling improves human health in various ways. From brainpower and improved mental health, all the way to make it easier to empty our bowels. These should be reasons enough for you to hop on a bike and leave the city for a scenic ride through the countryside.