If I was to put $1 in my bank account every time I heard people complaining about how they're too tired to exercise or don't have enough time to indulge in regular physical activity, I'd a millionaire by now! It has been said time and time again that it only takes a willing heart to overcome some of the seemingly impossible tasks. And here is the thing: you don't have to hit the gym to be physically fit. Taking a walk every afternoon, swimming or riding a bicycle is all you need to get your body back in shape. Really, it’s that simple!
Of all the listed gymming activities, I prefer cycling. Why? Well, it’s fun, easy to learn and once you learn how to, you never forget. Also, it has numerous health benefits – more than many give it credit for. In this piece, we go through the health benefits you stand to gain when you cycle.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
If you are looking to get ripped, cycling is not the activity for you. Cycling is classified as an aerobic activity. This means that it gives the heart, blood vessels and lungs a super work out. It's quite impressive, right? Over time, it’s bound to restore normal blood pressure and rest your heart rate. Riding your bike fast or up a hill will get your heart beating fast. It’s the kind of physical we all ought to have but unfortunately, don't have enough of.
Increased Muscle Strength and Toning
Like any other physical exercise, cycling will build and tone your muscles. The muscles that will benefit most from regular cycling include the glutes, quads and calf muscles. Building muscle mass makes it easier to burn fat.
Also, depending on how you choose to ride, cycling can also build and tone torso. If you choose to stand as you ride, your shoulders and arms will get a great work out as well.
Improved Mental Wellness
In 2017, YMCA conducted a study which revealed that physically active people have a mental wellness score which is 32% higher than that of inactive individuals. Yes, cycling can help you stay sane. And with all the craziness life throws at us, this is super important.
Don’t believe it? Here is what happens when you cycle. The brain is triggered to release endorphins. Endorphins are basically chemicals designed to help deal with stress or pain. Experts often call them feel-good chemicals since they relieve pain and boost happiness. So you can imagine what happens when your brain is flooded with endorphins – all your problems will fade away.
Cycling helps to boost endorphin levels and give you what experts call a 'runners high’.
Cycling will build your muscle strength, stamina, and endurance. Many cyclists often stumble on this benefit. After a while, they realize they suddenly can walk for long hours and they can push their body to greater limits than they were used to. Additionally, walking up the stairs to the 4th floor will be a walk in the park. After several cycling sessions, you won’t have to support yourself with the rails as you climb up the fleet of stairs and suffer through painful muscles for the rest of the week.
Cycling is a subtle way of building strength and endurance. Sure you won’t have the endurance of Bruce less, but at least you'll be somewhere.
Have you ever wondered why professional cyclists are all skinny and toned? Well, now you have your answer. Cycling burns through calories like a hot rod burns through cooking fat. Cycling will burn up to 1000 calories in an hour.
After a spin session, you can indulge your sweet tooth without being bogged down with guilt. After all, those calories won’t replace themselves. But when cycling is coupled with a healthy balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight is inevitable.
Stress and depression are silent killers. These two have robbed the world of great and talented individuals. While doctors do their best to help combat depression, you too can do something about it – cycle. Cycling is not only a great way to remain physically active but also a great way to help reduce stress and battle your 'demons'. How so? Well, as pointed out above, cycling helps to boost the production of endorphins which in turn help reduce stress levels and increase happiness.
Additionally, cycling will help take your mind off the problems you have or allow you to think through them calmly.
In this time and age, insomnia has become such a normal thing. So much so that it’s worrying. I mean, Facebook is always full of posts of people admitting to their lack of sleep almost on a nightly basis. But this does not have to be your reality. And instead of popping pills to soothe you to sleep, try cycling. It will tire you out and cause you to sleep like a baby through the night.
Cycling is a great way to give your immunity a boost. Regular cycling increases the production of some essential proteins and stimulates the production of more white blood cells. Also, with increased stamina and endurance, your body’s ability to fight off diseases increases as well.
Reduces the Risk of Developing Cancer and Heart diseases.
It’s not an exaggeration. People who ride their bike daily are less likely to develop cancer and heart diseases. The University of Glasgow conducted a study to ascertain this. Their findings were that cycling reduces the chances of individuals developing some cancers and heart diseases by 50%. I don’t know about you, but I love these odds.
Improves Sexual Stamina
In addition to improving cardiovascular health, cycling also positively affects sex drive. According to a study done by Cornell University, male athletes have sexual stamina equal to that of men between 2 and 5 years younger. In females, physical fitness was seen to delay menopause by the same time range.
Additionally, according to research by Harvard University, men over the age of 50 and who cycle for 3 hours or more on a weekly basis have a 30% lower risk of becoming impotent than those who are physically inactive.
You should note that cycling health benefits are numerous and are not limited to these. If you are looking for a subtle and fun way to gain physical fitness start cycling. And the beauty of the above benefits is that you don’t need to be a professional cyclist to earn them. Cycling for at least 30 minutes every afternoon, or 3 hours a week will suffice.