Fit Fact: Cycling three hours or 30 kilometers per week halves your risk of heart disease and strokes.
Running, swimming, and other forms of exercise have been around for all of humanity, simply because they require no extra equipment. Bicycling, on the other hand, has only existed for 200 years, and yet, it has become one of the most popular forms of exercise today. It has also been proven to be the most efficient form of transportation: faster than walking, running, driving, or flying on an airplane. Today I’ll talk about the health benefits of cycling as a form of exercise.
Cycling is a great way to experience the outdoors, while at the same time being a faster method of travel than walking. Although modern bicycles look nothing like the bicycles in the picture above, they were the very first bicycles invented. Thankfully, improvements in technology and design have made bikes much safer.
FUNDAMENTALS & TECHNIQUES
Although learning how to ride a bike is typically done when young, knowing which type of bike to have is crucial when biking for exercise. For exercising, people typically bike on tracks or very straight roads while on a road bike, which has thin tires and aerodynamic components. This maximizes the speed that one can achieve, which will lead to the most effective workout. However, if one wants casual exercise, then they can simply have a hybrid or comfort bike and go on casual rides. Furthermore, mountain biking is a great exercise as well, as it typically involves many hills.
- An oft-cited benefit of cycling is that it is much easier on the bones in terms of impact when compared to running. People of older age will typically choose cycling as their form of casual exercise.
- Biking for an hour at about 20 mph will burn about 650 calories and is a great way to burn fat all over your body.
- Cycling is typically more anaerobic compared to running and swimming, and thus builds more muscle. One who is looking to put on muscle mass in the lower body should look to cycling.
- Unlike others sports such as basketball or baseball, cycling is relatively easy to learn.
- Cycling has been associated with increased longevity.
- Cycling is a great way to boost mental health, as not only does it release mood-enhancing endorphins associated with physical activity, but it also occurs outdoors. It has been shown that spending time outdoors increases one’s mental health as well.
- Cycling is a great social activity. Going on group rides is a great way to get to know people. Cycling in parks will allow you to meet others as well.
- Cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise, and reduces the risk of stroke by almost half.
Cycling is sometimes a challenging exercise, but it comes with many rewards. I took up cycling a few years ago and now it is an integral part of my life, an addiction. There’s no better feeling than riding through the breeze on a nice day. A simple bike has improved the lives of mine and many others.