What is cycling
In order to stay fit and healthy, you need to be physically active. Physical activities can protect you from various diseases such as obesity, mental illness, heart disease, arthritis, and so on.
One such popular activity is Cycling. It is a wonderful workout that keeps you active and is enjoyed by people of all ages from both children to old age adults. It’s also cheap, fun, and good for the environment.
Cycling is a low-impact type of aerobic activity that can benefit a person’s health and fitness. It not just only keeps you physically active but also contributes to the well-being of your mental health. You can incorporate cycling into your daily lives as a mode of transport, casual activity, or competitive sport.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), adults should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity such as cycling every week.
Following are the benefits of incorporating cycling into your daily routine
1. Weight Management
Cycling plays an important role in healthy weight management. It increases metabolism and builds muscles. According to the studies, a person can burn up to 300 calories per hour with moderate cycling. And if a person increases the intensity, they can burn even more!
Cycling is a comfortable form of exercise, and it is adaptive- meaning you can change the intensity and length of exercise to suit yourself. So if you wish to lose weight, doing adequate exercise and inculcating a good diet both play a vital role.
2. Cardiovascular health & Cancer
Cardiovascular disease meaning stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. According to the studies, cycling is very beneficial for the health of your heart. As per the survey in 2017, it was found that the people who cycle regularly show noticeable health benefits including improved cardiovascular functioning.
Cycling raises your heart rate and allows the blood to pump all over your body, strengthens your heart muscles, lowers the resting pulse, and reduces blood fat levels. thus improving your heart and lungs, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cycling also reduces the risk of cancer especially colon and breast cancer. According to the study conducted by the University of Glasgow- Researchers studied over 260,000 individuals for a time period of 5 years and found that cycling to work can cut the rider’s risk of developing any cardiovascular or cancer disease to half!
3. Blood pressure and Diabetes
High blood pressure or hypertension could be one of the factors for cardiovascular disease in many people. The studies show that regular cycling can reduce the level of blood pressure after 3 months, to 4.3% and that after 6 months, it reduced by 11.8%.
According to the 2017 study, cycling not only reduces blood pressure level but also help people with type-2 diabetes. The level of type-2 diabetes is increasing and serious, it is generally caused due to the lack of any physical activity. As per research in Finland, the people who cycled for more than 30 minutes per day had 40% lower risk of developing diabetes.
4. Improves Lung health
Regular cycling improves your cardiorespiratory health. It is proved that regular cycling keeps your lungs healthy. According to a study from 2011, it is advised that cycling for about 170-250 minutes per week can greatly improve your lung health.
Regular cycling helps in the proper functioning of your lungs. It can be incorporated as a useful exercise for people who are suffering from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for their recovery.
Cycling also improves your immune system to protect you from respiratory infections such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
A study by the Healthy Air Campaign, Kings College London, and Camden Council, saw air pollution detectors fitted to a driver, a bus user, a pedestrian, and a cyclist using a busy route through central London. The results showed that the driver experienced five times higher pollution levels than the cyclist, as well as three and a half more than the walker and two and a half times more than the bus user. Long story short: the cyclist won.
5. Strengthens Bone and help with arthritis
Cycling improves your overall function in your lower body. It helps in strengthening your bones. It improves balance and coordination. Cycling not just only burn fat but it also builds muscles particularly around the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.
If you are suffering from arthritis, start cycling because it is a low-impact exercise that places a little stress on joints.
6. Improves mental health
Mental health includes stress, depression, or anxiety. It is proved that cycling can help ease these feelings thus improving your mental health.
When you ride a cycle, all of your concentration and focus is on the present moment, this helps to take away your focus from the mental chatter of your day.
It is also proved that while cycling or any other exercise your body releases the hormone endorphins, which is responsible for making you feel better and thus lower the stress level. With the incorporation of suitable physical activity such as cycling daily in your routine, you will feel more confident and happy than usual, thus boosting your mental health.
Other reasons why you should opt for cycling
1. It’s good for beginners
2. It’s a low-impact option
3. It Improves posture, balance, and coordination
4. It’s environmentally friendly
5. It helps in core workouts
6. Easy to pick up
7. Good for muscle building
Safety while cycling
1. Wear a protective gear
Cycling should be done under safety precautions, it has a serious disadvantage of accidents. Research suggests that wearing a helmet and safety gear while cycling can reduce the risk of accidents by 50%.
2. Avoid loose clothing
Avoid any loose clothes that might get caught in your bike chains resulting in a serious accident. You can also use special cycling clothes that are bright in colors so that it makes the cyclists visible to drivers, its shorts also have a thick pad to provide cushioning, its clothes material is made with the fabric that controls moisture from sweating and thus prevents chafing.
3. Use a suitable bicycle
Use a bicycle that is suitable for you and does not put much stress on your body. So try selecting a comfortable bicycle. Have bike lights as well as reflective gear for nighttime cycling.
4. Minimize pollution exposure
Choose a day to ride when the air is cleaner or choose less polluted routes and avoid rush hour traffic.
5. Protect your skin
While cycling outdoor in the daytime, your skin is much exposed to UV rays which can damage your skin causing tanning, so in order to prevent it, Use sunscreen and reapply it every 2 hours. You can also wear UV protective sunglasses and a hat or wear UV protective clothing.
Who shouldn’t cycle
If you are suffering from any condition that cycling may affect then stay off the bike until you are fully recovered.
People suffering from any issue related to hearing, eyesight, or balance, can opt for indoor cycling or stationary cycling.
So now you are well aware of the health benefits of cycling. Try to inculcate this physical activity into your daily routine to get the best results and hence keep your body fit and healthy.
Just ride it with safety and use necessary caution especially on a busy road to avoid any accidents.
Enjoy riding and have fun.