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25 Ways Cycling Is Good for You

Most people learn how to ride a bicycle at a young age, a skill that sticks with them forever. Young or old, cycling is a favorite pastime across all kinds of people. It’s a fun recreational activity and a great, environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Cycling also has several incredible health benefits. In fact…

Cycling is an excellent, well-rounded way to get in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It has benefits for both the body and the mind in several different ways, and is also a great way to enjoy the area you live in from a whole new perspective.

Here are 25 ways that cycling is good for you, including the obvious ways, such as physical health, and the not so obvious ways…

How Cycling Affects Overall Fitness

It’s no secret that cycling is a great form of exercise. It being good for fitness, is true for casual cyclists who ride around the neighborhood or the park, and competitive cyclists who race at high speeds. Cycling is healthy for everyone who practices the sport in any form. Below are some of the general ways cycling improves your fitness:

Cycling Burns Fat

Cycling is an aerobic exercise, so it helps with fat burning and weight loss. If losing weight is the goal, calories burned have to outnumber the calories taken in each day. Of course, this means that you need to be eating a healthy diet as well, or you will not burn enough fat or calories to lose weight.

  • High-intensity rides at faster speeds burn more calories than fat
  • Moderate intensity rides at more steady speeds burn more fat than calories

Choose which type of session you prefer, or alternate between the two styles. In fact, alternating is more effective than staying at a single, consistent pace when it comes to losing weight and getting healthy.

Cycling Builds Muscle & Strength

Cycling is a great full-body workout. A cyclist’s toned lower body is hard to miss because they are the most obvious. It might feel like certain muscle groups are getting exercise while others are not, but the reality is that the entire body benefits from cycling.

  • Thighs and calves
  • Butt/Glutes
  • Arms and shoulders
  • Abs

Since all of these muscle groups are getting worked in some form each time you go cycling, it is no wonder that serious cyclists can cultivate such lean and toned physiques.

With any exercise, flexibility is important. Remember to stretch as your muscles grow fatigued and become tight. Overworked muscle injuries are preventable, so do not forego simple stretches and recuperation periods.

Cycling Increases Stamina 

Cycling is a fantastic way to increase your stamina and improve overall fitness. Many fitness enthusiasts look to running as a means of endurance training, but cycling is a better choice in many ways.

  • More sustainable
  • Less risk of injury
  • Lower impact

Since cycling is a low-impact exercise and sport, you can cycle for longer periods without getting wiped out. More significantly, you do not run the risk of getting muscle or joining injuries like you would with running. However, those new to cycling should still pace themselves and not overwork muscles.

Cycling gives you more wiggle room to increase your stamina and train harder while burning fat and building muscle. You can do all of this without worrying about suffering from shin splints or some other issue commonly caused by higher-impact exercises.

Cycling Improves Your Joint Mobility

It can be difficult for people with arthritis to find exercises that are not painful. Cycling is an excellent exercise for people with arthritic joints because of the repetitive motions involved. Cycling helps combat many of the issues that arise with arthritis.

  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint pain
  • Joint degeneration

The intense joint pain from arthritis can cause people to avoid movement. This can lead to even more swelling and more pain. An easy-going cycling routine can help relieve this problematic course of events. The movements involved in cycling release lubrication and soothe painful arthritic joints.

Cycling Promotes Balance and Coordination

Every cyclist once had to learn to ride a bike for the first time. Once the training wheels were taken off, it was up to the rider to learn to keep the bike upright and moving forward. Regular cycling as a form of exercise similarly promotes balance.

Coordination is also a major component of cycling. Several elements have to remain coordinated at all times for a cyclist to remain upright safe on their bike.

  • Bike balance
  • Pedal control
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Spacial awareness

Cyclists have to balance upright while keeping feet on the pedals and hands-on handlebars, all while being aware of any surrounding danger or obstacles. The more time you spend cycling, the more comfortable you will get controlling these different facets simultaneously. They will become second nature to you.

How Cycling Affects Physical Health

Cycling as an exercise has many specific benefits to your physical health as well. Implementing a regular cycling regiment can be life-changing, especially if you are at risk for certain diseases or health conditions. Below are some of the specific physical health benefits that cycling can provide.

Cycling also helps decrease the risk of diabetes and certain cancers, so the health benefits are numerous. Let’s take a look at some of them…

Cycling Improves Cardiovascular Health

As mentioned above, cycling is an aerobic exercise. This means it increases your heart rate and gets oxygen and blood circulating through your body. Cycling strengthens your cardiovascular muscles, therefore improving your cardiovascular functions and decreasing your resting heart rate. It also leads to lower triglyceride levels in your blood. 

  • Lower risk of hypertension
  • Lower risk of stroke
  • Lower risk of heart attack
  • Lower risk of heart disease

Additionally, the fact that exercise reduces stress helps improve cardiovascular health and overall health.

Cycling Improves Respiratory Health

Like with cardiovascular health, cycling improves respiratory health as well. The heart and lungs work together during aerobic exercises. Your lungs work to provide oxygen to your muscles via your bloodstream. In the same way that your cardiovascular muscles strengthen, your lungs strengthen during cycling as well. 

  • Increased lung capacity
  • Improved breathing control
  • Improved lung conditions
  • Improved lung function efficiency

Cycling is a good form of exercise for people who have lung conditions like asthma or COPD. Lung function, once lost, cannot be improved or regained. However, proper exercise and strengthening can strengthen respiratory muscles and keep the remaining lung function lasting as long as possible. 

Studies have shown that riding bikes instead of driving everywhere leads to decreased inhalation of smog and pollution. It might seem like you would breathe more since you are outside, but on a bike, you are not stuck in traffic, and you can take routes where cars cannot travel.

Cycling Improves Neurological Health

As with your heart and lungs, cycling can also help your brain. Cycling pumps an increased amount of blood and oxygen all over the body, including into the brain. Many people would argue that the three most important systems are the cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological systems.

  • Increases brain function
  • Stimulates new brain cell growth
  • Aids in memory formation
  • Potentially slows the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Improves symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Cycling and aerobic exercises, in general, aid in the creation of neurons and the growth of new brain cells. Strengthening the brain also increases its ability to self-repair. While science does not have all the answers yet, these factors have the potential to slow and improve symptoms of debilitating neurological diseases.

Cycling Improves Immune System

A healthy and fit body is more likely to have a more powerful immune system. The effects of unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyles often manifest in lowered immune function. Unhealthy people are more likely to get sick. However, people who cycle regularly actually have even stronger immune systems than typical healthy people.

  • Increased T-cells
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Improved longevity

Since immunity can be boosted by exercising and cycling, in particular, the idea that people grow more frail and sickly simply by growing older becomes less believable. Older people who cycle regularly can increase immunity-boosting T-cells to levels equal to those in healthy young adults.

Cycling Promotes Healthy Sleep

A healthy sleep routine is paramount to a healthy lifestyle in general. Unhealthy sleep habits can be just as detrimental as unhealthy eating habits and other bad lifestyle choices. Regular cycling can help improve sleep quality and promote healthy sleep.

You do not have to maintain a high intensity-cycling regiment to get a good night’s sleep. Regular low-intensity cycling will give you enough of a workout to make you tired and ready for sleep at night, provided that you take other steps to ensure proper sleep hygiene.

Good sleep hygiene entails setting a good sleep schedule, prioritizing sleep, and doing whatever else it takes to make sure you get long, restful nights of sleep.

Cycling Decreases Risks for Diabetes & Some Cancers

When you commit to a healthier lifestyle, it is possible to decrease your risk for certain diseases associated with unhealthy living. This is true for people who have been biking consistently for decades, but it is also true for people who might have picked up the hobby later in life.

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Bowel cancer

Obesity often leads to more dangerous diseases like diabetes and cancers. It can also lead to some of the heart-related diseases higher on this list. Cycling alone cannot accomplish these lower risks. Cycling has to be part of a larger healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating and an active lifestyle.

How Cycling Affects Mental Health

It is well known in today’s world that physical health and mental health are closely tied together. When your physical health and wellness are in good shape, your mental state tends to follow in kind. When you are doing well mentally, other things in your life come more easily.

Cycling has many mental health benefits to improve your outlook on life. Among the most common are a simple mood boost and stress reduction, both of which allow your mental health and physical health to soar.

Cycling Improves Mood

Physical exercise causes your brain to release neurotransmitters that make you feel good. The “runner’s high” that runners have spoken about is real, and cyclists have it too, potentially to a much greater degree. These neurotransmitters boost mood to euphoric levels.

  • Endorphins
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Anandamide

That last one, anandamide, is increased in the blood during aerobic exercise. Anandamide interacts with certain brain receptors like a cannabinoid, which you might have heard of. Like how marijuana affects the brain, this effect of aerobic exercise has a drastic impact on cyclists’ emotional and cognitive states.

Cycling Boosts Confidence & Self-Esteem

Cycling is the perfect exercise for someone wanting to improve their confidence and self-esteem. If you do not like the idea of exercising in a gym with strangers all around, cycling can be done solo or with friends, outside with a nice view. It is a comfortable way to get in shape.

  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Clear signs of improvement
  • Mood-boosting neurotransmitters
  • Stable emotional state
  • No feeling of pressure

With cycling, the stakes are low, so you can go at your own pace and enjoy yourself. You do not have to feel pressured. You can also see the progress you make and feel a sense of accomplishment in that. Paired with the mood boosters mentioned above, seeing progress can do wonders to boost your self-confidence.

Cycling Alleviates Depression & Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are the two most prevalent mental health concerns. They are incredibly common and often go untreated. While medication and therapy can do wonders, cycling is a great tool to add to the treatment regimen. Aerobic exercise can release mood boosters, as stated above, but it can do more than that.

  • Provides vitamin D and fresh air
  • Provides social interaction
  • Provides much-needed solitude
  • Provides distraction from stressors
  • Promotes mindfulness

Cycling Can Improves Symptoms of ADD & ADHD

It is not unheard of to use physical exercise as a means of quieting the mind and running out excess energy. However, in particular, cycling seems to have a greater chance of success at improving symptoms of ADD and ADHD, especially in children.

Cycling alone might not be a perfect solution for someone with ADD or ADHD, but it seems that the same people who have been prescribed stimulants for ADD or ADHD in the past benefit from cycling to treat their symptoms. More studies are being done on this to find out the exact science behind this connection.

How Cycling Affects Sex & Reproductive Health

Not only is cycling excellent for fitness, physical health, and mental health, but it can also provide additional health benefits. These benefits include sexual health and alleviating difficult pregnancies.

However, be mindful of safety, especially when pregnant, with cycling or any other form of exercise.

Cycling Can Improve Sexual Health

Cycling has been known to improve sexual health. Many of the muscles used in cycling are centralized around the lower body, the same ones used during sex. Exercising these muscles can positively impact your sex life and sexual wellness.

The mental benefits previously discussed are also good for mental health. Particularly, the increased mood and lack of stress associated with cycling can do wonders.

Cycling Can Improve Your Pregnancy 

Cycling while pregnant can have great benefits as well. Getting plenty of aerobic exercises while pregnant is very healthy and is often recommended.

  • Improved mood during pregnancy
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved digestion
  • Pain relief
  • Fewer labor complications

Exercising while pregnant can also benefit the unborn baby, including decreasing its chance of developing obesity later in life.

Cycling for Fitness is Flexible & Versatile

An excellent benefit of cycling as an exercise is that it is entirely flexible. As a cyclist, you can determine how easy or how difficult you want each cycling session to be. The more intense sessions will have their own benefits, but there is no pressure to push yourself past what you feel safe or comfortable doing.

Cycling Is a Low-Impact Exercise

As mentioned above, cycling is a low-impact exercise. This means that it is easier on your body than other exercises. Your legs are pedaling rather than forcefully slamming on the ground like they would be if you were running.

Low-impact exercises allow you to exercise longer and harder without risking muscle or joint injuries. Because of this, you can plan for longer, drawn-out sessions at lower difficulties if you choose.

Low-impact exercises are also excellent for previous injuries, as you can still work out without further injuring yourself. You can continue to gain muscle while cycling. The stronger your muscles are, the less likely you are to injure them in the future.

Cycling Can Be High- or Low- Intensity

You have many options when cycling, and all of them are good. There is no unhealthy way to cycle other than being dangerous. The following cycling means are all options available to you. It is up to you to decide what your main goals are and to choose a regimen that best suits your health needs.

  • Fast, moderate, or leisurely speed
  • Steep, moderate, or level incline

If you are cycling for relaxation or just for fun, you can go at your own leisurely pace. If you are cycling to lose weight and build muscle, you will need a moderately intense workout to reach the aerobic threshold.

Benefits at Work when Cycling

Along with the above health benefits, cycling has positive impacts on several other areas of life. One of these is at work. Studies show that commuting to work on a bike greatly benefits the work you do for the rest of the day. This can also be said for people who bike to school.

Cycling Boosts Productivity

People who bike to work in the morning get more done in a day and have a better outlook. This can be tied to the positive mental health effects cycling has. A clearer head and positive outlook can greatly impact one’s perspective, including at work.

  • Increased alertness
  • Positive attitude
  • Improved focus
  • Increased motivation

Beginning your day with exercise is proven to boost your morale for the day. A commute to work is a functional way to get in aerobic exercise without spending time going to the gym. You do not have to sacrifice time to get up earlier in the morning since you will be going to work anyway.

The positive attitude, improved focus, and increased motivation will likely reflect well on you at your job. If someone takes notice of your good work, you could be rewarded. Cycling might even land you a promotion, but no guarantees.

Financial Benefits of Cycling

If you are cycling more, you are probably not driving as much. If you live in an urban area where you can cycle easily to work or other important destinations, you could be saving a lot of money.

Ways to save money could be through repairs, avoiding public transportation, or even a smaller upfront cost for a reliable mode of transportation.

Cycling Saves Money

The less time you spend driving a car, the less money you will spend on gas. You will not need to purchase insurance. You will also save money on vehicle maintenance and repairs. You will likely have to pay for bike repairs now and then, but these are much less expensive.

Also, take into account all the health benefits cycling offers. Your improved health will certainly save you in healthcare costs.

It is important to keep in mind that while road cycling is safe and infinitely beneficial, you must be cautious. Always be aware of your surroundings and do not commute where roads are dangerous for cyclists. If your town is not cyclist-friendly, you can petition your city council to add bicycle lanes and other features to increase safety.

For more information about exactly how much money you can save by switching to cycling instead of a car, check out my article here.

Traffic Benefits when Cycling

As mentioned above, cycling is much healthier than driving. You have the benefit of being active instead of sedentary. You also have the benefit of breathing in less pollution and fewer carcinogens into your lungs. Not only is cycling a blessing to the environment, but it also offers a great many conveniences to you.

  • No carbon footprint
  • No pollution
  • No traffic jams
  • No need for parking spaces

Cycling is excellent for the environment. It has no drawbacks to speak of. You can cycle all day long and not release a single greenhouse gas into the air. Bicycles do not need gasoline or fluids, so there is no concern about pollutants leaking into natural waterways.

Cycling Saves Time

This may sound wrong because cars definitely go faster than bicycles. However, think about the traffic. Cyclists do not have to worry about traffic jams. Cyclists have access to alternate routes that typical vehicles cannot take.

While cyclists have to follow the rules of the road like other vehicles, bicycles can zip in and out of spots that other cars cannot. If traffic is backed up due to an unforeseen event, a cyclist could easily make it to their destination long before the traffic jam is cleared.

Cyclists do not have to find parking, either. There is no concern if a parking lot is full, as most establishments have a bike rack to which a bike can be locked.

Cycling is Fun!

This is the simplest item on this list. Cycling is fun. There is a reason people learn to ride bikes as a kid and never forget. It is great, healthy, wholesome entertainment for all ages. One of the greatest benefits of cycling is all the different ways it can be enjoyed.

Cycling Is Good for the Family

Cycling together as a family can be a great group activity. It promotes healthy fun for all ages and offers an option other than the typical sedentary things people tend to default to in today’s fast-paced world.

It is also a great way to build a child’s confidence on a bike when they are just starting to learn how to ride.

Cycling Is Good for Social Connections

It is not difficult to find like-minded cyclists in any town or city. You can get together and socialize. This is a great way to blow off steam by exercising together.

It is not always easy to make friends and meet new people as an adult, so joining a cycling club is an easy way to accomplish this.

Cycling Is Good for Peaceful Solitude

Not every bike ride has to have accompaniment. Sometimes all you need is fresh air and a nice view to clear your mind. Cycling solo can have its own unique comforts.

  • No itinerary
  • No pressure
  • No limits on rest stops

When you go on a ride by yourself, you can choose how fast or slow to go. You can also choose when to go, no matter how late or early it is. You can go wherever you want without hearing anyone else’s opinion. Social cycling is wonderful, but sometimes everyone needs their own quiet time.

Another benefit of a solo session is that you can stop whenever you want. This is great both for relieving the pressure to perform but also for catching the sights. If you get overheated or worn out, you can take a break and not answer anyone. And if you see a lovely fairy circle that you never noticed before, you can explore that at your leisure.