Not been on a bike since you were a kid but interested in the benefits of cycling for your health, fitness, and waistline? Read on to see how cycling can help you to improve your life.
Head out to most towns over the weekend and you’ll often see a group of people dressed in lycra with colorful cycling shoes and attached to their bikes as they cover miles at a time for fun and fitness.
Cycling is an extremely popular activity that can be done almost anywhere, inside or out, and in this article, we are going to take a look at the benefits of cycling and why it could be one of the best exercises that you can do to improve your health and fitness.
Cycling is a low impact exercise that doesn’t place as much stress and pressure on the joints as other forms of exercise do like running, jumping, dancing, or even walking.
When exercising at home or in the gym there’s often more than one bike to choose from and something available for all ability levels. Recumbent bikes are easy to get on and use, whereas indoor cycling bikes or Watt bikes are a little more intense and provide a sterner workout, stationary bikes sit somewhere in the middle but one thing they all have in common is their low impact nature as your feet are placed in the pedals and push and pull the pedals round.
It makes cycling a great activity for anyone that suffers from joint pain or that has mobility issues and struggles to use something like a treadmill. Cycling can also be a great training tool for other types of athletes that want a lower impact training method for their off days.
When trying to lose weight, burning more calories should be the number one priority.
Different forms of exercise burn calories at a variable rate however cycling is one of the best. Popular calorie counting app MyFitnessPal calculates that a 30-minute bike ride, at a moderate level of 12-14mph would help a 150lb person to burn 272 calories. It is up there with running and other forms of exercise but the big benefit here is the low impact nature of cycling which often enables the cyclist to go for longer at the same level of intensity. Many runners will hit a wall after some time and it can be hard to keep the same level as time goes on, cycling can be a much better way of burning more calories over a longer period, and without the same aches and pains people might experience after running.
As cycling is an aerobic activity, regular training can help to improve cardiovascular function, bringing about improvements to lung capacity, resting heart rate and blood pressure, making it a great way to keep the body healthy and reduce the chances of developing serious health issues such as heart disease, hypertension or the possibility having a stroke.
It is, however, worth noting that to truly have the best impact cycling should be combined with a healthy diet, one that aligns with the rider's goals, as that will provide the best chances of improving overall health and it can also be used as a form of weight management.
Promotes Muscle Growth
Although cycling alone isn’t going to build the legs of an Olympic sprinter it can help with overall muscle growth in the lower body and an increase in lower body strength and power.
Cycling in the higher gears can be extremely taxing and difficult on the muscles, primarily the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves and with more advanced bikes, such as an indoor cycling bike or a Watt bike, it has become far easier to have a more advanced and testing workout that taxes the muscles and promotes growth.
To go with the added benefit of having more muscle mass cyclists can also enjoy a faster metabolism as muscle burns more calories than fat, which further helps with any weight loss goals.
It is well known that walking, jogging or running on the treadmill is a real-life skill that can be applied outside of the gym, in comparison, using the elliptical machine which doesn’t move the body through a natural plane of movement or rowing, which is only life-like, if the person actually rows, aren’t as transferable.
Cycling, much like running is a form of exercise that can be applied outside of the gym and is a skill that can be applied to everyday life.
Whether using a bike for work, using a bike to get to work, or actually using the bike to exercise outside, cycling has more than one use.
Cycling groups can be a great place to make friends and cycling also offers mental, physical, and emotional benefits to the rider as adrenaline and endorphins are released when riding.
Most people learn to ride a bike as children and it’s something that we do for fun, but as we grow, we often ditch two wheels for four and say goodbye to the bike.
It’s a great form of exercise and with different variations available, both in the gym or to purchase for home use, you can still get back on the bike and reap the rewards.
There are lower impact variations that can be suitable for new exercisers or people that are recovering from injury and there are more advanced options that can be used by serious to professional cyclists as they train and attempt to improve their fitness, conditioning, and performance.
With health benefits and calorie-burning potential, cycling can be a great way to improve your health and the intense nature of the harder climbs can also lead to muscle growth in the lower body.
All in all, cycling can be one of the best ways for you to improve your health and fitness and bring about changes that lead to a healthier lifestyle.
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