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Cycling Strengthens Your Immune System!

Updated on May 28, 2019
Sigei Erastus profile image

I'm the Author of 'Cycling and Pregnancy' article which aims at women health and fitness.

Wheel and saddle to boost your immune system!

While the shelves are stocked with ‘miracle-pills’ that claim to boost our immune system, it turns out the solution may have been under our noses the whole time in the shape of two wheels and a saddle!

The findings, outlined in two papers in the journal Ageing Cell, showed that the cyclists preserved muscle mass and strength with age while maintaining stable levels of body fat and cholesterol. In men, testosterone levels remained high.

More surprisingly, the anti-aging effects of cycling appeared to extend to the immune system thus cycling can hold back the effects of aging and rejuvenate the immune system, a study has found.

As well as helping to combat mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, it’s also been found that consistent cycling can help protect against conditions such as dementia in later life. The study noted that the blood flow to the brain rose by 28% on average while cycling, with blood flow to other areas rising by as much as 70%.

Cycling Health Mental Benefits

  • Reduces anxiety

    Anxiety is a condition which affects a lot of people the world over. It is associated with the amount of responsibility you have. For instance, if you have a family to support, you are going to be passively worrying about possible threats to their livelihood as well.

    However, when you do a physical activity, such as biking, jogging and walking, your body is going to start producing higher amounts of certain chemicals such as dopamine, which is known to increase a positive mood, hence help to decrease your stress levels.

    In addition to this, high amounts of cycling mean that your body is going to start producing other chemicals as well. These include cannabinoids which are the same type of chemicals that can be found in marijuana.

    All of these chemicals have been proven to reduce stress and lift up moods, which means that regular cycling is going to allow you to overcome serious conditions like depression in the long run.

  • Reduces stress

    By focusing on your pedal stroke you can block out other worries and stresses of the day, giving your brain a break from all of your daily problems. Hence, repetitive action of pedaling involved in cycling can help your brain release outside stresses in the same way that meditating on a phrase or a word is used in classical mediation.

    The researchers found that commuting to work peddling and their effects on stress levels and work performance is a good way to start off the day. Not only were people who biked to work less stressed, but also showed improvements in their work performance. Within the first 45 minutes at work, those who cycled saw improved stress levels and performance compared to those who commuted by car.

    What was interesting is that regardless of the transportation method, the researchers did not find a difference in mood.

  • A good practice of mindfulness and boosts creativity while preventing cognitive decline

    As you routinely pedal on your daily cycling, your nerves begin to work a lot harder than they usually do hence, new brain cells are created faster and more efficiently by the centers of your brain that deal in these process. This is because as your nerves work harder, they increase the production of certain proteins that assist in the creation of other new brain cells.

    This basically means that the more you cycle, the more new brain cells are built within your brain, thereby increasing your capacity to think and focus on just about anything. In addition to this, you also release increased amounts of chemicals that cause the messages that are shooting through your neurons to deliver much faster information than they used to.

  • Fights against depression

    According to a study, Cycling activity has been found to a significantly decrease the risk of developing clinical depression later in life, even when adjusted for other factors such as socioeconomic status, life events, social supports, and other health habits. Similarly, a meta-analysis of other studies on the subject found that, for youth and adults already suffering from depression, cycling activity can be as effective as psychotherapeutic techniques i.e. meditations, to treat the disorder. But unlike in most psychotherapies, there were no observed negative effects of cycling activity in treating depression.

  • Enjoying the great outdoor exposure

    When you find a peaceful hill to climb, or even when cycling through a quiet neighborhood, you have the opportunity to be out in nature. By being exposed to the natural elements of cold or heat and feeling the wind breeze, is another way to release the stressful thoughts and focus on things outside of ourselves.

  • Improves self-esteem, self-confidence, and better social life

    A study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science has shown that when sedentary people start exercising, their self-esteem improved after just 10 brief sessions. The three-week study where two-thirds of the participants—sedentary college students—participated in either stationary cycling, running on a treadmill or working out on an elliptical machine for at least 30 minutes found their self-esteem scores had shot up by nearly 11 percent, unlike the other third group who didn't exercise at all.

    Your body image is the mental representation you have of your body; it reflects the attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions you have about your body and its shape and size. It also reflects how comfortable you feel in it. Having a generally poor body image can have strong ripple effects on your overall well-being, your state of mind and your behavior.

    Numerous studies have found that when people engage in regular aerobic exercise especially cycling for a significant period of time, they experience improvements in their body image. Research has even found that women who exercise by cycling during pregnancy preferably Indoor cycling which is ideal because pregnant women won’t confront balance challenges or have a heavy impact on their joints, respond more favorably to physiological changes in their bodies than women who are sedentary during the nine-month stint.

Cycling Boosts Your Heart Health

  • Weight under control
  • Blood under pressure
  • Cycling builds muscle
  • Stay stress-free
  • Cyclists are more self-aware

Overall the study found that commuters who cycled were associated with a 41 percent lower risk of premature death.

Walking to work was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 36 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, but not cancer or premature death overall.

Calories burned by cycling can depend on anything from your weight to your aerodynamic drag, unlike running, where calorie-burn is fairly easy to predict. So, to optimize your bike rides to burn as many calories as possible while on the saddle, you should use these seven saddle-savvy tips, and you’ll be cycling away more calories in no time;

  • Hit some gravel, trail, or even the 'Go off-piste'
  • Herculean hills
  • Sociable cycling (Tune in some Music)
  • Invest in a heart rate monitor
  • Make a little muscle
  • Length does matter
  • Keep your body guessing

© 2019 Erastus Sigei


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