There are a lots of ways cycling is good for you and your heart. From feeling younger to saving money, here are 10 of the many benefits which cycling can bring.
1. It’s good for you
Cycling is a good way to improve your fitness and heart health. Two short trips to the shops and back each day – about 30 minutes’ of daily cycling – will begin to benefit your cardiovascular system.
2. Feel young again
Getting on a bike can make you feel young again, as you speed along with the wind in your hair. Cycling releases invigorating bursts of endorphins, our feel-good neurotransmitters. Cycling can be a sociable activity, too.
3. It’s suitable for all fitness levels
It doesn’t matter what shape you’re in, you can go at your own pace. The bike saddle holds 70 percent of your body weight, so the pressure on your joints is very low, too. If you’re new to cycling, recovering from an injury, or put off because you live in a hilly area, an electric bike may be an option.
4. Cycling makes you stronger
Almost every muscle is used while cycling. Leg muscles are worked the most – for pedalling – but abdomen and back muscles stabilise the body, while the shoulder-arm muscular system supports you at the handlebars. Cycling builds strength all over the body, and as your core muscles improve, so does your balance.
5. It’s planet friendly
A study showed cycling produces zero carbon pollution, making it an environmentally sustainable form of transport. A bike can replace your car or the bus, especially for shorter journeys, and more cyclists means fewer congestion-related emissions. Add-ons like trailers and seats mean children can go green too.
6. Pushing pedals provides an aerobic workout
That’s great for your heart, brain, and blood vessels. Aerobic exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals—which may make you feel young at heart.
7. Cycling builds muscle
In the power phase of pedaling (the downstroke), you use the gluteus muscles in the buttocks, the quadriceps in the thighs, and the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calves. In the recovery phase (backstroke, up-stroke, and overstroke), you use the hamstrings in the back of the thighs and the flexor muscles in the front of the hips.
Cycling works other muscles, too. You use abdominal muscles to balance and stay upright, and you use your arm and shoulder muscles to hold the handlebars and steer.
8. It helps with everyday activities
“The benefits carry over to balance, walking, standing, endurance, and stair climbing,” says Dr. Safran-Norton.
9. A Sharper Mind
Once you’re in the habit of getting to work by bike, you’ll be better prepared for what comes next, such as opting for your bike over your car to run a quick errand on the weekend or riding to the gym. Daily exercise has been found to increase energy and reduce fatigue. Even a single 30-minute bout of exercise can improve reaction time, memory, and creative thinking.
10. A Longer Life
Daily rides do more than make you healthier and happier: They also extend the amount of time you have to feel that way, even if you’re already creeping up in years. A large study in Norway that followed a group of elderly men in their 70s and 80s found that just 30 minutes of exercise per day resulted in those men living up to five years longer, compared to men who didn’t do any physical activity.