Pedal Your way to Better Health
The 3rd June is World Bike Day and we’re celebrating everything that our 2-wheeled friend has to offer, from fun challenges, to why commuting can be the perfect kick-start to your day.
Here we focus on how cycling is simply one of the best all-round exercises you can do. Whether you’re a casual rider or a serious cyclist, hopping on your bike and hitting the open road offers a whole host of physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
1. Boosts Cardiovascular Health.
Cycling is a fantastic way to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. As you pedal, your heart rate increases to help oxygenate your muscles, which improves your circulation and overall cardiovascular health. This lowers your risk of things like heart attacks and strokes.
2. Burns Calories …
… and lots of them! Riding a bike is a low-impact exercise that can be easily adjusted to your fitness level, making it suitable for people of all ages and abilities. Depending on your weight and the intensity of your cycling, you can burn between 400 to 1000 calories per hour! Combine that with a healthy diet and it can be an effective way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and improve your body composition.
3. Builds Muscle Strength & Endurance.
Cycling is a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles as pedalling uses more or less all the major muscle groups in the legs; quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. And let’s not forget that gripping the handlebars and maintaining your balance requires the use of your upper body muscles too, including arms, shoulders, and your core. A brilliant all-over body workout.
4. Improves Joint Health.
Unlike high-impact exercises like running, cycling is a low-impact activity that puts minimal stress on your joints. The smooth, circular motion of pedalling is gentle on your knees, hips, and ankles, making it an ideal exercise for people with joint issues or arthritis. It can help improve joint flexibility, reduce joint pain, and enhance joint function, allowing you to stay active and mobile.
5. Reduces Stress & Boosts Mental Well-Being.
Cycling is not just beneficial for your physical health, but it’s also great for your mental well-being too, reducing stress, anxiety and depression. The combination of fresh air, sunlight, and physical activity releases endorphins, which are the body's natural "feel-good" chemicals, helping you feel more relaxed, positive, and energized. Cycling can also be a great way to clear your mind, enjoy the scenery, and simply take a break from the stresses of everyday life.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive! But in terms of ticking some major health benefit boxes, we reckon Cycling has to be up there as one of the best!
Turning to the different types of cycling and how they support a healthy lifestyle.
Road Cycling: A high-intensity cardiovascular exercise that primarily targets the lower body muscles and is great for improving cardiovascular health and burning calories.
Mountain Biking: Another high-intensity exercise that involves cycling on off-road terrain and is great for improving cardiovascular health and strengthening lower and upper body muscles. It also enhances balance, coordination, and agility. And because mountain biking requires a lot of skill and technique, it also makes for an excellent way to build mental toughness and resilience.
Indoor cycling: A low-impact cardiovascular exercise that involves cycling on stationary bikes. Indoor cycling is great for improving cardiovascular health, burning calories, and increasing endurance. Plus an added bous is you don’t have to endure the British weather!
Recreational Cycling: A low to moderate-intensity cardio exercise that involves cycling on flat or hilly terrain, such as city streets, bike paths, or countryside roads. This is a great way to simply unwind and take things at a leisurely pace, whilst also taking in the sights and sounds around you. A great way to socialise and relax.
Electric Cycling: Also known as e-biking, this is a low to moderate-intensity cardio exercise which provides pedal assistance. E-Bikes are a great way to commute as they take on some of the heavy lifting as you ready yourself for the day ahead. They’re also perfect for longer distance rides as they allow you to enjoy more of the great outdoors, without exerting too much effort! And we all need a little bit of that sometimes.
So, Cycling … one of the best all-round exercises you can do; from cardio fitness, muscles strength, to things like balance, co-ordination, endurance, as well as overall improved mental well-being. It’s a tick from us … now, where’s our bikes!