Did you know that there are a number of cycling health benefits when picking up a bike and hitting the road? Regular exercise in this way is not only super fun, but also has its own health benefits, these cycling health benefits include:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Increased muscle strength
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Reduced risk in obesity
Improved cardiovascular health
Once you’ve jumped on a bike and started to cycle, you will notice that your heart rate will begin to rise. This is because cycling, even at a relaxed pace is causing your body to work harder than usual. Your body will naturally need more oxygen to fuel the work it is doing. This oxygen is delivered in your blood, this means increasing the rate that your heart pumps also increases the rate that your muscles receive oxygen in your body.
Regularly increasing your heart rate has a number of benefits including:
- Lowering your pulse
- Lowering blood fat levels
- Reducing the risk of heart disease
These cycling health benefits only apply to cyclists who exercise in a regular and safe manner. Pushing yourself and your heart too far can cause damage instead of improvements. If you’re worried or confused about the intensity of exercise you can perform safely, speak to your doctor, they will be able to provide you with help and support.
Increased strength in muscles
Another health benefit to cycling is the increase in muscle strength that will occur if you begin to cycle regularly. Working your body hard through exercising will naturally increase muscle strength, cycling is a great way to do this whilst being outside and gaining fresh air.
There are a number of different muscles you will predominantly use when pedalling hard. These muscles are the ones which will see the biggest improvement in strength if you begin to train regularly and well through cycling. These muscles include:
- Quadriceps (front of the thigh)
- Hamstring (back of the thigh)
- Gastrocnemius & Soleus (calf)
- Gluteus maximus (bum)
Type two diabetes is linked with a lack of exercise, amongst other things. As cycling is an effective way to exercise it is also a great way to reduce the risk of type two diabetes. Epidemiological studies suggest that physically active individuals have a 30–50% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to individuals that are not physically active and that live sedentary lives. Reference: https://www.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/japplphysiol.00160.2005
Using cycling as an effective form of exercise not only reduces the risks of type two diabetes, but it also helps to reduce the risk of obesity. Data from the Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA) project suggests that commuters who cycle to work tend to weigh less than commuters who went to work in a car.
This same piece of research also discovered that when an adult male switches from commuting in a car to daily bike use, they tend to lose on average 0.75kg. This is further information that suggests one health benefit of cycling is that it will help to reduce obesity. Reference: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412018307098
The above are just a few of the many health benefits of cycling. Why not hop on a bike and give it a go for yourself? We have created a great cycling training program for beginners, it’s the perfect plan to help any first-time riders get in the saddle.
Remember when cycling or performing any exercise it’s important to stay hydrated*. This includes hydrating yourself before and after you exercise as well as during. For more information around hydrating whilst on a bike check out our cycling hydration tips.
* Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive function and normal regulation of body temperature.