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Benefits of Cycling Once a Week. What Cycling Does to Your Body and Mind. Biking to Parks and Beaches.

Updated on June 14, 2019
mikejhca profile image

Some of my hobbies include long distance biking, hiking and nature photography. I like to exercise and I enjoy most of my workouts.

Why Bike?

Cycling is a popular hobby that is good for your health. Why do people bike when they could drive or stay at home? Riding a bike burns calories not gas. So it is cheaper than driving. It is efficient because you can workout and travel to your destination at the same time. I can get a week's worth of exercise when I go to the beach. People often ride their bike as a form of active entertainment. Sitting still for long periods of time gets boring and it is bad for your health.

Biking once a week was enough for me to experience the benefits of cycling. It became my favorite way to get fit and my favorite way to relax. I like that it is good for the body and the mind.

What Biking Does For Your Legs

Cycling can be one of the best cardio exercises for building muscle. Biking up hills, sprinting some of the time and using a high gear increased the size of my leg muscles. The results were similar to doing weighted squats, step ups, calf raises and lunges. I quickly gained around 35 pounds of leg muscle and my legs became significantly stronger. Having strong legs makes it easier to carry heavy objects and the muscles protect the legs, including your knees.

The first time I was able to gain a lot of muscle was from long distance cycling. Cyclists often have big leg muscles. Muscular legs help with fat loss and they usually look good. If you don't want to look like a cyclist then use a low gear and go for shorter bike rides. Male cyclists tend to have bigger leg muscles than female cyclists. Biking is not going to give you huge legs because you would probably lose fat and build muscle at the same time.

Cycling can give you similar results to leg strength training exercises with weights.
Cycling can give you similar results to leg strength training exercises with weights. | Source

Can You Lose Belly Fat By Cycling?

Cycling is one the best exercises for burning calories and slimming down. I lost inches of belly fat while biking to the beach once a week. When I want to quickly lose fat before beach season starts I go for a weekly bike ride. You can burn almost as many calories per minute as running. In my opinion it is better than running because it is a low impact exercise. I can last longer, it takes less time to recover and it requires less willpower.

During a relaxing bike ride I can burn over 1,200 calories. To slim down I just need to focus on improving my strength and endurance. It seems more like a form of active entertainment than a workout. One of the reasons cycling is good for getting rid of belly fat is because it is one of the best exercises for reducing visceral fat. It is the hard abdominal fat that is bad for your health. While losing fat and gaining muscle your weight may increase.

Going for a weekly bike ride is my favorite way to quickly lose inches of fat.

Getting fit is a good way to lose the fat but it can increase  your weight.
Getting fit is a good way to lose the fat but it can increase your weight. | Source

Abs, Heart and Lungs

Balance exercises like cycling outside work your abdominal muscles. Going for a weekly bike ride was enough to give me firm abs. I strengthened my ab muscles and reduced the fat covering them. So I did not need to do ab exercises like crunches. However my results were limited. If you want rock hard abs then I recommend leg raises. Using an indoor exercise bike would not give you the same results as an outdoor bike.

Cycling improved my cardiovascular fitness. My resting heart rate and breathing slowed down. When you strengthen your heart it does not need to beat as fast. Improving your lung capacity allows you to breathe more deeply. When your resting heart rate and breathing are slower it is easier to relax and a lot of activities seem easier. It is also good for your health. Improving your cardiovascular fitness improves your circulation and helps your immune system work better.

Diet

One of the first things I noticed after I started biking was that I was hungrier. My appetite increased but my junk food cravings decreased. So I was eating more healthy food and drinking more water. Some people started telling me I was eating too much food even though it looked like I was losing weight. After biking for three hours I needed more food than a person that stayed inside and watched TV.

A sedentary lifestyle decreases the amount of food you need and increases junk food cravings. People consume a lot of junk food while watching TV. An active lifestyle increases the amount of food you need but it decreases junk food cravings. Biking made it easier to maintain a healthy diet but I was also eating more food. Eating more food helped me gain muscle and lose fat.

Look and Feel Younger

As people get older they usually experience age related muscle loss, develop poor posture, gain a lot of belly fat and their resting heart rate increases. Their immune system does not function as well as it did and they may experience a decline in their mental abilities. They may also develop age related asthma. These signs of aging are also the signs of a sedentary lifestyle. A lack of exercise can cause these problems along with other problems associated with aging.

Getting fit can reverse or slow down some of the signs of aging. Cycling makes me look and feel younger. My heart is stronger and my lungs work better. I rarely get sick and my seasonal allergies are gone. The pants I wore 20 years ago would still fit, I have good posture and I have more muscle. In a lot of ways I am in better shape than I was 20 years ago. In my 40s I am stronger and have better endurance than I did in my 20s.

You can't stop the aging process but you can try to slow it down by acting young. Getting older usually means avoiding exercise and developing bad habits. People replace walking and biking with driving. They replace active entertainment with sitting still for long periods of time. Be active like a young person. Cycling is one of the best exercises for getting fit and feeling young because it is a low impact exercise. It is easier on your body than running.

One of the things I like about riding a bike is that it makes me look and feel younger.

Relax and Be Happy

Cycling can be good for your mental wellbeing. It can help you feel happier and more relaxed, especially if you bike near nature. The mental benefits are similar to meditation. You can improve your memory, willpower and your ability to handle stress. It can make you more mindful of your breathing and heart rate. Achieving your goal can provide you with a sense of accomplishment. The exercise tires me out but it also makes me feel great. When I can't go for a weekly bike ride I miss it.

If you bike in a relaxing environment like a park you could do it as a form of moving meditation. The two main reasons I like to go to parks and beaches is because it is relaxing and it gives me a sense of accomplishment. When the goal is difficult to achieve I feel a greater sense of accomplishment. That is why I compete against myself and try to improve until I can bike 60 km in 3 hours. That is around 37 miles.

I like to rest and relax at the beach after biking to a park.
I like to rest and relax at the beach after biking to a park. | Source

Parks & Beaches

Biking to parks and beaches can make it easy to set specific distance goals and they are good places to rest. They can also provide you with a relaxing bike ride. There is less traffic and the speed limit is lower. Some parks have bicycle lanes. If you don't want to bike to a park you could drive with your bike in the trunk or on a rack. I get into most parks for free when I ride my bike. If I do need to pay I get charged the walk in fee which is $2.

While you are at a park you could take photos, walk, swim and relax before biking back home. Resting for a little while allows me to double the distance.

Picture of a white-tailed deer taken while biking in a provincial park.
Picture of a white-tailed deer taken while biking in a provincial park. | Source

Benefits of Cycling

Bigger leg muscles.
Improved breathing.
Reduced stress.
Flatter belly.
Improved immune system.
Lost visceral fat.
Stronger heart.
Improved willpower.
Achieved big goals.
Better lungs.
Improved mood.
Got into parks for free.

Cycling makes your body and mind better. It helps you become a better version of yourself. So can other forms of exercise like kayaking and paddle boarding. I recommend doing both both if you can. Workout your legs and your upper body. If you don't like riding a bicycle then try to find another relaxing hobby that will help you stay fit and healthy.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Michael H

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