The Benefits of Bicycling!

July 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm  •  0 Comments

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Shall we start with the list of benefits? Or perhaps we can just talk about the fact that cycling is fun and feels good. Getting out of the house for a quick change of scenery can give our mood a great boost. Cycling through places we usually walk or drive through is a nice change of pace and perspective. And if you’re feeling stressed a bike ride can reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) levels and help you get a more restful sleep.

Cycling is a great low impact alternative to running. A good exercise for people of all ages, we can do it leisurely or with great intensity.

At whatever level you engage in bike riding there are many benefits:

Cardio

  • Cycling will increase your cardio-vascular endurance, this in turn will reduce general levels of fatigue.
  • In short it will increase energy levels!
  • Raising your heart rate as cycling does also improves heart health and lowers your chance of coronary heart disease.
  • All this cardio does however come at the expense of… calories!
  • Leisurely: 220-300 calories/hour
  • Intense: 450-600+ calories/hour
    The larger the person the more calories burned.

Muscle Toning

Even a minimal amount of effort will have a positive effect on strength and muscle tone.

Thighs, hamstrings, glutes and calves are the main working muscles but the upper body is involved too. Vigorous mountain biking requires a lot of work from the arms, shoulders, chest and back.

Balance

Balance and eye hand coordination can be improved and maintained with regular cycling.

Pregnancy

Cycling is an excellent low impact cardio for pregnant women.

What Else?

  • Just getting outdoors can have a wonderful positive effect on your mood.
  • And for those who skipped straight to this list, it will reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improve your sleep.
  • Stationary bikes allow us to cycle indoors. How about trying a spinning class? Let the instructor know if you are a beginner and they’ll advise you.
  • On top of all this cycling is good for the environment. Zero emissions and we save on gas.

The Fountain of Youth!

Well, all this improved circulation supplies increased levels of oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. This means your body rejuvenates quicker and more efficiently. And so you may appear younger as you accrue the benefits of cycling! (Exercise works!)

Moving forward (haha) you can try cycling on more challenging inclines for longer durations. Or you can work hard for a short period, rest and repeat.

Safety

Please wear a helmet. Elbow and knee pads can also be worn.

Don’t forget sunblock on those sunny days!

Choosing a Bike

Let the staff at your local store know what you would like to do. Riding to work, or perhaps weekends through the park, or a triathlon. They will recommend the appropriate choices of bike. You may be surprised how reasonable the prices are!

From a gentle meander through the city and parks or countryside, to riding for charity, a little exercise, or pushing the limits of muscular and cardio-vascular endurance, there are so many ways to enjoy cycling.

I dare say that once you make cycling a regular part of your life, there’s a great likelihood that it will remain a lifelong friend.

Conor McDermott
About the Author

Conor McDermott is a Health and Fitness Coach with more than 20 years experience. He is currently servicing the Toronto area and can be contacted at connorkenji.com.

Photo credit: Edmund Vanzyl