14 Cycling Benefits for Cardio and Longevity
Have you heard of cycling or spin classes? This new exercise craze popping up all over to country is a great way to get your workout on and try something new. Cycling benefits so many parts of your body and is a great way to work out with limitations. Here are 14 cycling tips to keep you happy and healthy for longer.
- Cycling is a great low impact cardio option, but there are plenty of other benefits too
- Building cycling endurance increases your physical and mental wellbeing
- You can reap the benefits of cycling at any level
1. Many Ways to Cycle
Cycling is a diverse way to exercise, with a multitude of options for you to choose from. Because all it requires is a bike, you can do it almost anywhere and at any skill level. To start, cycling outside on roads or paths is a great way to explore the area around you and get some exercise at the same time. Cycling is also a great way to commute to work in larger cities. Instead of taking a bus or a train, cycling allows you to get in some exercise before work and get there faster!
If you don’t have time to go bike somewhere, or there’s bad weather, stationary bikes are a great addition to your home. Companies like Peloton and Nordic Track sell stationary bikes along with instructional videos to help you work out at home. Many of these bikes will automatically adjust to the instructor’s incline, resistance, and speed to help you get the full cycling experience.
Spin classes are yet another way to cycle. These spin studios are currently popping up all over with chains expanding around the country. Spin classes are essentially a group of stationary bikes in a studio with a live instructor who leads you through the class. They often have loud, energetic music and a fun atmosphere to make the workout more enjoyable. (2)
2. Promotes Weight Loss
Cycling, as a cardiovascular exercise, is a great way to lose weight as it burns a lot of calories fast. A typical cycling class or workout can burn anywhere from 400 to 1,000 calories an hour, a great sign for weight loss where you want the calories you burn to be higher than the calories you eat. Cycling also helps to improve how well you sleep which is a major contributor to healthy weight loss. (1)
3. Builds Muscle
Because cycling is usually based on resistance, speed, and incline it is a great way to build muscle. The resistance will help to burn any fat and build muscle in place of it. Because muscle is leaner than fat it weighs less and so the higher your muscle percentage the more you will burn calories. Cycling benefits your lower body muscles like glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves in particular. (1)
4. Improve Endurance
Cycling benefits your endurance more and more as you work out. The longer you spend on a bike in any format, the more your heart and muscles will adapt and adjust to your activity. Because of the strong cardiovascular elements, as well as all the other cycling benefits, it is an optimal choice to strengthen your endurance. (3)
5. Improves Balance
Because you use it all the time, cycling can help improve your balance and coordination like nothing else. For stand-alone bikes, balance is required to keep the bike upright and centered especially if you are going over rocky terrain. For stationary bikes or spin classes, a lot of workouts involve coming up off the bike seat, so you need your balance for that!
Because balance gets worse as you age and stop working out so much, cycling is a great way to help keep it up so that you are less likely to injure yourself elsewhere. (2)
6. Low Impact Exercise
One of the greatest cycling benefits is that it is low impact, therefore perfect for everyone. There’s no slapping of your feet (and knees!) against concrete or risk of dropping a weight on your chest, just your feet moving around the wheels over and over. Because cycling is a low-impact sport, it leads to less muscle damage and inflammation over time, and you are also much less likely to have an overuse injury. Most importantly, cycling won’t stress out any of your joints, so it is great for people with knee issues or other stiffness in the lower body. (1)
7. Better Lung Health
Your lungs are one of the most important organs in your body, so why wouldn’t you want them to be stronger and healthier? Like your endurance, the more you cycle the more it will increase your lung capacity and make it easier to breathe while working out. Cycling specifically works on controlled breaking and keeping your back straight to make it easy to breathe and help your lungs.
Even better, people who cycle to work, or cycle in general are exposed to far fewer dangerous fumes and chemicals in the air than those who travel mainly by car or other public transportation. (1)
8. Lower’s Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol is something that your body both produces naturally and gains from the food you eat. There are two types, LDL and HDL cholesterol, bad and good respectively. LDL cholesterol is the most common in your body but can also be dangerous if the quantity is too high. Too much LDL cholesterol can increase your chances of a heart attack, stroke, or other heart disease.
One great cycling benefit is that it is cardiovascular exercise and thus, can help to lower your LDL cholesterol. Especially over a long time, cycling can help you to avoid a heart attack or a stroke. (4)
9. Increases Your Lifespan/Longevity
Because of all these great health benefits, cycling can help increase your lifespan in many ways. Specifically, it improves your blood circulation around the body and helps to strengthen your heart and lungs. For the elderly specifically, cycling is a great way to get in some good exercise because of its low impact, low risk, and low injury factors. We recommend trying a spin class or a stationary bike until your balance is back up to scratch! (5)
10. Can Help Prevent and Manage Medical Conditions
By working out and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, you can help prevent or manage fatal health conditions. Cycling benefits your heart health in many ways by strengthening it and cutting out suffocating pieces. By keeping your heart healthy with cardiovascular exercise, you can prevent cardiac issues like a stroke, heart attack, or high blood pressure, and it may even help to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. (2)
11. Cuts Risk of Cancer
Like how cycling benefits your heart health and can prevent and manage some medical conditions, it can cut your risk of cancer in half. While cycling, you are raising your heart rate and getting the blood pumping around your body, and burning calories which limits the chance of being overweight. This study shows that cycling can help to cut your risk of developing cancer or another related heart disease in half through improved heart and body health. (1)
12. Strengthens Your Immune System
Cycling benefits your immune system by aiding your upper respiratory system, including your lungs, which helps to decrease the likelihood of you developing a common cold or other illness. Exercise in general increases the production of certain proteins in your body that are essential to your immune system and helps to rejuvenate any slack white blood cells. Though cycling helps, immediately after doing any exercise, your immune system is lower, but with proper food, maybe some vitamin c, and sleep the exercise helps it build up even stronger. (1)
13. Improves Mental Wellbeing
Especially as the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, your mental wellbeing is extremely important. As well as everything else, cycling benefits this too! People who are more active in their everyday life are 3 times more likely to have good mental health.
Exercise also boosts your mood, releases adrenalin and endorphins, and improves your confidence which all help your mental health. Specifically, cycling helps to improve your concentration and awareness of the present moment so that you can give your brain a break and relax. (1)
Like we’ve mentioned throughout, cycling is so easy to customize no matter the person, place, or fitness level. Whether you are biking through the mountains or sitting in a spin class, you can do as much or as little as you like, wherever you go! We hope that you take advantage of cycling’s versatility and go try something new!
Written by Alyssa Thompson