Although most of us own a Truck or car it doesn’t mean that we should forget about biking, sure there are scenarios where having our vehicles can come in handy but for everything else cycling’s the way to go and here’s why.
Just 30 minutes a day riding has so many health benefits. It trumps those of nearly every other sport. Not only is cycling great at boosting both your physical and mental health it’s also one of the cheapest most accessible and easiest ways to let off steam and engage in endless hours of the most treasured commodity fun.
Health benefits of 30 minutes cycling per day
There are so many health benefits cycling can have but I bet some of these I shall describe will come as a surprise to you. Not only that but the little time it takes each day to achieve them. To put this to test, note the time now and then check again after you’ve finished reading this post.
Enhanced muscles, increased flexibility, longer life, boosted confidence and improved moods are just a few of the health benefits 30 minutes of cycling a day can have.
The runner’s high isn’t just for runners, any form of exercise can help you feel great afterwards including cycling. Activities that get your heart pounding will release energy boosting hormones called dopamine.
After a nice bike ride that dopamine rush can help improve your mood and energy levels. If you typically feel an afternoon slump at work, going for a quick ride outside during your lunch break may be exactly what you need to stay energized and focused.
Weight loss – Without the extreme diets
Cycling is one of the best methods of exercise to trim fat and lose weight across your whole body. There’s a reason the pro bike riders are so lean. Just an hour of cycling can burn as many as a thousand calories depending on the intensity you’re riding at.
Refueling has also never been more fun, with the number of calories lost on your ride you’ll need a few post-ride guilt-free indulgences to get your calories and energy levels straight back up. In fact an hour or more peddling will put your metabolism into overdrive, you’ll be burning calories faster than you can cram them back in.
You also don’t need a heavily structured workout to start shifting that weight. Spin classes are great but opting for a bike instead of your car on the way to work will do so much more for your overall fitness and your weight loss.
Commuting by bike has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to lose weight. A study found that people who switched to cycling from driving on average lost seven kilograms over the course of the year when riding just 30 minutes each way.
Improves heart health
Getting your heart rate up cycling strengthens your heart muscles, it also reduces your risk of developing several cardiovascular diseases including stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack.
Moreover compared to those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, those who participate in physical activity such as biking can experience an overall improvement in cardiovascular function too.
Whilst I don’t recommend ditching your blood pressure meds just yet, there’s a reason to believe that including cycling into your daily routine might have a positive impact on your blood pressure, it can almost be as effective as prescription medication.
Releases anxiety and stress
Another important mental health benefit of cycling is relief from anxiety and stress. Cycling helps you balance cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body. When the perfect balance between these two is attained stress is reduced.
This perhaps is one of the healthiest ways to deal with stress. This calming effect allows your brain to focus on breathing and pedalling. These two become the prime focus and this in turn shifts your focus from all sorts of negativity and anxiety.
Researchers found that high-intensity cycling and other high-intensity interval training can have major anti-aging benefits down to a cellular level. The study found that people who did high-intensity exercises had an increase in mitochondrial capacity.
A decline in mitochondria can lead to physical decline, so the better your mitochondria can function, the more rejuvenated you’ll be, all the way down to a cellular level.
While you may accept that cycling just builds up leg muscles, it’s a complete body exercise. Remaining balanced and upstanding on a bicycle reinforces and tones the muscles in your stomach region for instance.
Guiding the bike also encourages you to develop the muscles in your arms and shoulders and don’t disregard the leg muscles, leg muscles assume a crucial job with regards to cycling.
When cycling you use your butt muscles and your glutes, your lower leg muscles and your quads and thighs when pushing down on the pedals of the bicycle. When you’re in the backstroke, upstroke or some portion of accelerating you’re utilizing flexor muscles in your hips, your hamstrings and your thigh’s rear.
Flexibility is one of the most important aspects of staying fit and minimizing the risk of injury. If you feel your lower body remains stiff, then cycling is the best option for you.
From loosening quadriceps to hamstrings and calves, cycling helps maintain flexibility. Not only will being flexible make you feel light but it’ll also improve your posture and your balance.
Boosts your confidence
You may find this absurd but cycling really does boost your self-confidence. While cycling your body releases the serotonin mood transmitter. This helps you stay stable and confident both physically and emotionally.
Cycling also induces positivity, self-esteem and self-confidence. Besides this it allows you to get a perfectly shaped body, which is also an important self-confidence booster.
It’s easy on your joints
When you sit on your bike you put the weight on bones in your pelvis, unlike walking or running, where you put the weight on your legs, knees and feet.
Even elderly patients with knee pain and osteoarthritis have been shown to improve their condition with cycling. It’s gentle on the body but still packs a punch and in addition to that it also improves posture and coordination
Improves brain power
There’s good reason why studies show that our mental skills are improved after a bike ride. It all has to do with white matter in your brain. You may have heard of grey matter but white matter, found beneath the brain surface acts as a conduit. It links different regions of the brain together, like a cerebral subway system.
Evidence from a study conducted over a six-month period showed that healthy people, who regularly peddled, increase the integrity of their white matter, helping their brains function more smoothly.
Reduces cancer risk
The incidence of diseases such as cancer can be reduced significantly by adopting physical activities such as cycling. studies show for those people who took up moderate to high physical activities like cycling in early and middle ages, had a reduced risk of cancer compared to those who did not.
another study that investigated the relationship between cycling, as active commuting and cancer suggested that cycling as a method of commuting can be associated with a lower cancer risk.
Helps you sleep better
Everyone can use some extra pillow time right? In a study researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to cycle for 20 to 30 minutes every other day. The results showed that the time required for the insomniacs to fall asleep was reduced by half and the sleep time increased almost an hour.
Exercising outside also exposes you to daylight, this helps your circadian rhythm get back into sync and also rids your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that prevents deep regenerative sleep.
Boosts your immune system
Cycling can help your immune system fight off nasty bugs. The thymus organ is responsible for your body’s immune cells, from the age of 20 the thymus shrinks and your immune system declines by 2 to 3 percent each year.
By middle age the thymus is down 15% of its maximum size, so the body relies on the antibodies it’s gained from fighting germs over the years.
A study of 125 long-distance cyclists aged in their 80s found their immune systems were robust because they were producing as many immune cells as someone in their 20’s.
Physical activity like cycling can help your body flush out bacteria from your lungs and airways, which reduces the chance of a cold or flu taking hold. A rise in body temperature while exercising also prevents bacteria from growing and fights infection.
Gives you a longer life
According to one study of tour de france riders, cycling actually increased the racer’s longevity. On average former pros lived to 81.5 years compared to the general population’s 73.5 years, a 17% increase.
Another study suggested that even casual bike commuters benefit. For individuals that shift their routine from a car to a bike, it was estimated that 3 to 14 months of life could be gained compared to the potential downsides of bike commuting.
Another recent study showed that riding between just 1 and 60 minutes a week, could cut the risk of early death by up to 23%.
Better balance and co-ordination
Cycling also improves your balance and coordination. These qualities help with aspects such as body awareness and reaction time. Balance and co-ordination help prevent falls that could occur as well, which could lead to a worse injury down the road
Reduces back pain
Posture when cycling is optimum and cyclic movement of the leg stimulates muscles in the lower back. This is where slipped discs are most likely to occur. In this way your spine is strengthened and secured against external stresses.
In particular cycling can stimulate the small muscles of the spine, which are difficult to affect through other exercises. This can help reduce the likelihood of back pains and other spinal problems.
How often do you cycle? is it part of your go to cardio routine? If not, now’s as good as any time to start.
Finally, before you go. Take one more look at the time? How long have you been reading? This time tomorrow you could have put that time towards another 30 minutes cycling to help better your health and well being. Thanks for reading.
Cycling not for you? take a look at another blog which covers what Running For 30 Minutes Every Day Will Do To Your Body