If you’re stuck in a rut and looking for a way to shake up your fitness routine, cycling might be just the thing. It’s cheap, good for the environment, and an awesome form of cardio.
Read on to learn more about the great benefits of cycling regularly.
1. It’s Easy on Your Knees
Cycling is a great form of low-impact exercise. There’s very little pressure put on your legs, so it’s perfect for people who are working out with an injury, particularly an injury to the knee or ankle.
Cycling is also a good option for older people who suffer from osteoarthritis and other joint issues. It can actually significantly improve the symptoms of these conditions.
2. It’s Good for the Heart
All forms of cardiovascular exercise, including cycling, help strengthen the heart and decrease the risk of developing high blood pressure and other heart conditions.
Since it increases the heart rate, cycling also can help you lose weight or decrease your chances of becoming overweight. Excess body fat contributes to a number of health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
One study actually found that people who simply cycled to work regularly cut their risk of developing cancer or heart disease in half!
3. It Builds Muscle
In addition to being a great form of cardio, cycling can also help build muscle throughout the entire body.
When pedaling, the downstroke forces riders to use the glutes, quadriceps, gastrocnemius, and soleus muscles. The backstroke, overstroke, and upstroke also require you to engage the hamstrings and hip flexors.
Cycling also requires you to engage the abdominal muscles to stay upright, as well as the arm and shoulder muscles for steering and holding the handlebars.
4. It Strengthens Your Immune System
Research shows that aerobic exercise like cycling helps keep the upper respiratory system healthy. This, in turn, reduces the instance of common conditions like colds.
One study found that people who do regular aerobic exercise can experience a 40 percent decrease the number of sick days they need to take.
Regular exercise also increases the production of essential proteins while activating white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections. Finally, cycling to and from work instead of riding the bus or train helps avoid exposure to a number of germs and airborne illnesses.
Some people dispute the immune boosting benefits of cycling by saying the intense exercises lowers the immune system. This is true for people who regularly participate in intense forms of training. However, if you prioritize recovery and proper nutrition, your immune system will continue to function properly.
5. It Extends Your Lifespan
Tour de France riders have, historically, also seen a 17-percent longer lifespan compared to the general population. You don’t have to be a serious athlete to reap these benefits, though.
Even those who only cycle to and from work can see an increase in longevity of anywhere from three to 14 months. Experts also suggest that for every hour you spend cycling, you gain an extra hour of your life back!
If you’ve been on the fence about taking up cycling, consider these five benefits. If you’re looking for a great form of cardiovascular and muscle-building exercise that’s easy on the joints, extends your lifespan, and helps boost your immune system, cycling might be the perfect fit for you!