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Sneaking Away for a Ride: The Many Health Benefits of Riding a Bike

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that biking is good for you. What should come as a surprise is just how good it can be. There are infinite reasons to start biking, but usually, it revolves around something that’s drawing you to it. It could be that you’d want to walk down memory lane and relive some of your childhood memories. 

Maybe it’s that dead serious discussion you had with your doctor that’s opening your eyes and seeing the potential benefits of biking. Or sometimes, it’s just the electric rush of happiness and fun of the ride itself. Whatever the reason, spending time on the saddle could be the best decision you ever made.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you will accrue while pedaling.  There are hundreds of benefits at your disposal but let’s stick to just 10.

Health Benefits of Cycling 

While riding a bike counts as a hobby for most people, it is also one of the healthiest and the most accessible forms of exercise with lots of incentive perks and fun to keep you going. Part of its special appeal is associated with a wealth of benefits, both physical and mental. 

But the beauty of biking is that you don’t have to take it seriously to reap its many benefits. The accompanying physical and mental benefits come more like an extra reward rather than being the sole purpose for doing it. So, taking up biking could be a hobby or a form of exercise you can continue enjoying throughout the rest of your life. With that being said, here are some of the mental and physical benefits of being in the saddle.

Biking helps burn calories and lose weight

Diet is crucial for weight and fat loss, but biking can be quite helpful, too. When done at a high intensity, riding helps to maintain your weight and drop a few pounds. Studies have shown that biking at a moderate speed of about 14 to 15.9 miles per hour can help you burn up to 400 calories. Of course, calorie burn depends on your age, weight, time and intensity of the ride. The simple equation is that in order for you to lose weight, the calories you burn must exceed the calories you take in.  Alternatively, losing weight is more effective when biking is combined with a healthy eating plan.

health-benefits-of-riding-a-bike

Biking helps build muscle. 

Biking doesn’t burn only fat; it also shapes and tones muscles, especially the gluteus, hamstrings, calves, and quads. Not only that, biking offers a full-body workout as well. When climbing up hills, you normally take an upright position while maneuvering with your triceps and the upper body. 

Regular biking can help to increase muscle strength and endurance, improving your performance on the bike and overall physical condition. Additionally, because cycling is a low-impact form of exercise, it is less likely to cause injury to joints, making it a great option for those who may be recovering from injury or who have joint problems. Whether you’re a recreational biker or a competitive cyclist, incorporating regular biking into your fitness routine can help you build strong and healthy muscles.

Biking improves the cardiovascular system 

While biking is obviously good for your legs and just about every muscle in the body, it is also a great way to get your heart pumping. Biking has been found to have similar benefits to other aerobic exercises such as running or jogging. This means that blood vessels, lungs, and heart all get a nice workout. As a result, biking increases good cholesterol and lowers coronary heart disease, blood pressure, and strokes. 

Biking for better sleep. 

Biking can lead to better sleep and improved overall sleep quality. Regular physical activity, such as cycling, has been shown to increase the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood-boosting chemicals. Not being physically active has been associated with levels of insomnia. With the modern-day stress and the amount of time spent in front of screens, there’s never been a better time to get some extra hours of sleep. Biking has been found to increase the circadian rhythm and decrease cortisol which makes it easier for you to fall asleep and have better sleep quality. 

Biking is low impact 

Unlike other forms of aerobic exercises, biking is low impact in the sense that it causes less strain and fewer injuries while providing a full body workout of all the main muscle groups in your body. This makes it a great option for people who may be recovering from injury or who have joint problems, as well as for older individuals or those who are overweight. Additionally, biking is a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise, providing the same health benefits as running or other high-impact activities but with less strain on the body. 

Biking is freedom 

Riding our first bike was a sweet taste of independence and courage to spread out our wings for the first time and go around the block and further in our own little adventures. Now, biking is a great way to run away from the phone, technology, bills, and work stress. It provides a quick getaway and time to relax and breathe—even if it’s just for an hour. Biking is the antidote. 

Biking turns on your creative juices 

Studies conducted by Illinois University found that cycling helps replenish brain cells and neurons responsible for thought processing and memory. The study found that the blood flow in the brain increased up to 65% which in turn helped to process fresh thinking, a phenomenon noted by many skilled writers. 

Biking reduces stress and anxiety

Biking has also proved to decrease the level of stress by up to 40% and as such regulates the level of anxiety. The mental state that comes from biking causes your body to produce endorphins (happy hormones) which have stress-relieving qualities and boost blood flow and oxygen to the brain. The physical activity of cycling and the change of scenery that comes with exploring new trails or roads can help to clear your mind and create a sense of flow. This can lead to increased creativity and improved problem-solving skills, as well as a renewed sense of energy and inspiration.

Biking is the best form of transportation 

No form of transportation has ever been designed that is more useful and practical than the bike. When an area is bike-friendly, you can integrate biking into your daily routine using it as a tool to get from A to B. Doing so comes with various advantages. 

First, biking is a great option to combat traffic and usual transit delays making commuting easier and faster than most urban commute alternatives. Secondly, bikes ride quietly and are eco-friendly which reduces noise pollution and disturbances to nature. And to top it all off, you’re not spending any money on petrol or public transport. You’re literally using your own energy to fuel your trip.

Whether you choose to ride a bike for fitness, mental health reasons, or to help the environment, there is an infinite number of benefits you’re picking up without even realizing it. So, what are you waiting for? Start riding!

The Bottom Line

There are many health benefits to be gained from riding a bike. From building muscle and improving cardiovascular health, to reducing stress and promoting better sleep, cycling offers a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. Additionally, as a low-impact form of exercise, biking is accessible and safe for people of all ages and fitness levels, making it a great option for anyone looking to improve their overall health and well-being. Whether you’re a recreational biker or a competitive cyclist, incorporating regular biking into your fitness routine can help you enjoy all the benefits that come with a healthy and active lifestyle.

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