Pedal Your Way to a Better You with These Benefits of Cycling
We’ve talked about the importance of picking the right workout routine. Whether that means lifting weights or running through your scenic neighborhood trail, you’re doing what’s best for you. A body in movement is a body strengthening and improving itself.
Sometimes the best workout for you doesn’t involve a gym membership or your feet hitting the pavement. All you need are handlebars and pedals — and probably a pair of wheels.
Cycling is a fantastic workout for your cardiovascular health. It also acts as a perfect accompaniment to running by improving your cardio and strengthening your quads.
Shake up your exercise routine with cycling. You’ll reach new places — literally.
Much like running, the benefits of cycling mainly apply to your cardiovascular health. Your cardio improves with every ride, building up your endurance. Just like that first one or that grueling first workout (and the dreaded day-after soreness).
However, the body will do what it always does: it will adapt. Your quads will enjoy the journey you’re taking instead of feeling like they’re on fire. You’ll conquer those once-dreaded inclines with the ease of a Sunday stroll.
The benefits of cycling mirror the benefits of other workout types. Like running, cycling can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also linked with lower mortality rates and lower risk factors for diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the National Library of Medicine.
While you can ride over steep hills and get over once-insurmountable inclines, cycling is a profound workout for the mind and soul too.
For our urban readers, there’s a good chance you commute to work by cycling. While you’re clearly helping the environment, you’re coming to and leaving work with a clearer head.
A study by the British Medical Journal examined the relationship between cycling and stress. It found a “positive association of active commuting with well-being in adults.”
Specifically, cycling releases endorphins, also known as our feel-good hormones. Runners experience this through a runner’s high, a “short-lasting, deeply euphoric state following intense exercise,” as defined by John Hopkins Medicine.
The release of endorphins can help you deal with anxiety and various symptoms of depression. However, it’s worth noting that cycling nor other forms of exercise are valid substitutes for professional help.
Consult a healthcare professional if you deal with bouts of depression or other mental health-related issues.
You might not have a gym membership, but you have a bike. With that and a trail, you’re basically unstoppable.
Though gyms offer a ton of ways to improve your physical health, they’re in enclosed spaces. They have walls and ceilings, things that prevent you from gazing upon the sunset or sunrise.
With cycling, you get to ride toward that beautiful scenic route. What better way to decompress from the day you had or prepare for the day ahead than cycling?
Breathing in that fresh morning or evening air can give you a mental second wind, letting you truly enjoy your free time. As a full-time worker, your free time is a precious commodity. Time is of the essence, so let the benefits of cycling wheel you to a clearer headspace.
The hardest part of any journey is the beginning. After that first workout, you (and your muscles) realize what a workout regimen truly feels like.
You were likely huffing and puffing after that first run too, where the mere idea of running again was torturous enough.
Before you get on your bike for the first time, you need to… buy a bike.
As a beginner, you don’t need to splurge on a super expensive bike. Like with your running shoes, buy an economic, general-purpose bike that can get on your way.
You may wonder why certain bikes are so expensive. That’s admittedly something to ask the biking experts. You can head to bicycling.com for the best bikes for beginners. It can help save you an arm and a leg.
Now it’s time to start thinking about your biking gear. For starters, buy a helmet. One-third of non-fatal cycling injuries are to the head, according to the National Safety Council.
What’s more, a majority of cycling-related head injuries to the head are brain injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Like wearing a seatbelt, putting on a helmet before going for a bike ride is a simple but extremely important safety precaution. There’s no need to take a chance on your safety.
After picking a safe — but fashionable helmet, it’s time to look at clothing.
Road Biker Rider recommends you buy bike-specific articles of clothing such as shorts, gloves, and even shoes (cycling shoes have more rigid soles that prevent your feet from cramping up during longer rides).
You can get by with general athletic apparel, though. Just make sure your clothes have reflective material for late-night bike rides.
Though the benefits of biking include greater endurance, it doesn’t cure dehydration. Stay hydrated by riding with a filled water bottle. If it doesn’t already have one, install a water bottle mount on your bike.
These usually come with the bike, but make sure your bike has blinking lights to increase your visibility when the sun is down.
Yes, your neighborhood trail is a great way to start cycling or running. Living close to a trail makes it easier to truly experience the benefits of cycling. Prevent your routine from getting stale by looking for new trails or routes.
Websites like AllTrails show you all the available trails in your area. Whether you’re wanting to bike on dirt roads or through a new city, this is an extremely valuable tool for all cyclists.
The benefits of cycling speak for themselves. It’s now up to you to make them your own. Whether you need a break from the bench press or are recovering from a hard run, cycling is a fantastic way to stay in shape.
It’s a physical and mental catalyst for great change. Enjoy the great outdoors with the laundry list of benefits of cycling.