There are numerous healthy reasons to get on your bike and start cycling – from cutting the risk of cancer and heart diseases, to losing weight, boosting and maintaining your immune system and toning your muscles and mind. Cycling even has some anti-ageing benefits, so there’s no good reason to stay out of the saddle!
1. Cycling protects your joints
If you are a runner, you might like to change things up with a bike ride every once in a while. Cycling is not a weight-bearing exercise and the smooth action is very easy on joints, compared to running, the injury rates are lower and lighter. A study by the Appalachian State University in the US found that long distance runners suffers over a third more muscle damages than cyclists.
2. Cycling builds muscles
If you are not physically active, you will lose up to five percent of your muscles mass every decade from the age of 30 and on, decreased strength and mobility as well as slowing your metabolism, but cycling is a great way to save your muscle mass active and healthy. It is especially good at working the largest muscles in your body, mainly your legs and bum, so you look more toned.
3. Stay protected from air pollution on your bike
You might think that cycling – especially on heavy traffic roads – would mean detrimental effects from gas pollution, but it is not so clear cut. A study by the Healthy Air Campaign in 2016 fitted air pollution detectors to a car driver, a bus passenger, a walker and a cyclist in central London. The cyclist experienced the smallest pollution levels – a fifth of the pollution the driver experienced.
4. How many calories does cyclists burn? (A lot!)
Looking to cut your weight? A leisurely ride will burn up to 400 calories an hour, while a full effort session can fire up to 1,000 calories! If you are eating according to a healthy diet, a cycling habit – even if it is only a leisurely ride – could mean you would start to see the weight disappearing. An American study of more than 18,000 women and for over 16 years found that those who cycled for as little as five minutes a day still gained less weight than those who didn’t.
5. Cycling cuts your risk of cancer and heart disease
If this will not persuade, we don’t know what would! A University of Glasgow study that looked at more than 260,000 individuals for over five years, found that cycling to work could cut a rider’s risk of heart diseases or cancer by half.
6. Lower stress levels on your bike
If you can commute to work by your bike, your whole day could be lifted up. A Canadian study revealed that cyclists showed significantly lower stress levels within the first 45 minutes of work than those who came in by car.
7. Cycling makes you live longer
Not only does cycling cuts by half your risk of cancer, but it turns out that cyclists are 15% less likely to die from any cause than people who doesn’t cycle. A study printed in the British Journal of Sports Medicine compared the benefits of six different sports including running, swimming, football and cycling. The research found that those who are riding at a lower effort had an even greater reduction in the chance of premature death than speedy riders!
8. Cycling helps your brain stay active
Struggling to finish crosswords? Get out on your bike for a ride and you will enjoy many improvements to your mind and your body. A study in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism found that cyclists experienced a 28% increase in blood flow to their brain during exercise and stayed high after the ride too. A boost in blood flow to the brain can improve memory, focus and even you mood, and can protect you for years to come.
9. Cycling has anti-ageing effects!
A study for the journal Aging Cell found cyclists in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s maintained their muscle mass and strength as they aged, and continued to produce many immune cells same as people in their 20’s!
10. Cycling helps insomnia
If you are struggling to get nice shut-eye, a spin on your bike could be the answer to that problem too. Research from the Stanford University School of Medicine found that the time taken for insomniacs to fall asleep was decreased by half when they biked for 20-30 minutes every second day. They slept for an extra hour too.
11. Cycling keeps commuters fit
Ditch the car in favor of your bike and you will enjoy the benefits all day long. According to an American survey, the average bike rider loses 13 lbs in their first year of cycling alone!