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How Cycling Benefits your Health

Updated on December 31, 2014

Health Benefits of Cycling

Everyone everywhere is cycling. Be it outdoors on roads, mountains, streets, all terrains or indoors on spin bikes at home and in gyms. Cycling has developed to be a popular form of recreation and transport. Cycling appeals to everyone from toddlers to pensioners, young and old, Europe to Africa, America to Australia, Chile to Asia. However, it's more than a fun activity-it is very healthy and beneficial to the cyclist.

Cycling and Weight Management

Basically, cycling does 3 things for your weight:

  1. Burns fat
  2. Increases muscle weight
  3. Increases bone mass

This means that you shed off excess and unhealthy weight and put on healthy weight. Cycling burns off calories. Steady cycling for an hour burns 300 calories. Why's this? Cycling expends energy. The pedaling increases your metabolic rate. Energy comes from fuel. Fat is a good source of fuel. Your body will start there. Obesity and weight management issues will be a thing of the past.

However, cycling alone won't help to effectively and healthily manage you weight. Watch your diet too. If you don't eat well and continue exercising, your body will still need calories and will burn deep into your fat reserves. Once it depletes them, it will start on your muscles. Your body will look to your proteins for calories. Yes, your body will turn your muscles into fuel. That's not good.

Take in a carbohydrate and protein rich diet to derive these benefits from cycling.

How Cycling Benefits your Cardiovascular System

With cycling, all the pedaling and physical activity increases your heart and breathing rate. You pump more blood faster, and breathe deeper. This improves blood circulation in your body. In addition, it strengthens the heart and lung muscles. Consequently, it lowers your pulse at rest and reduces your blood's fat levels. You are thus protected from the vast array of cardiovascular complications from high blood pressure, heart attacks to stroke.

In addition, cycling promotes healing. With the increased circulation, more nutrients and spread further through the body, and especially to injury sites. These locations receive more blood that is rich in oxygen and nutrients, consequently promoting the healing process.

Cycling Boosts Immunity and Prevents Cancer

As cycling improves the functioning of your cardiovascular system, it improves the immune system and also goes further to reduce risks of cancer such as breast cancer. It even benefits your bowels! How?

Cycling reduces the time food takes to go through your large intestines. In effect, it reduces the amount of water reabsorbed back into your body. Consequently, it means you'll have softer stool that is easier to pass.

In addition, it cycling stimulates the contractions of the small intestines. (This comes with increased breathing and heart rates). This does two things. For one, it prevents you from getting that bloated feeling. But more importantly, it assists in protecting you from bowel cancer.

Cycling and Bone Health

First off, riding a bike adds o your strength and sense of balance and coordination. When you're moving your feet around in circles and steering with both your hands and body weight, trust me, you'll develop your coordination skills. In addition to increasing your bone mass, it enables you prevent future falls and fractures.

Increase Muscle Tone
Simply put-cycling is a great muscle work out. When you pedal, you use most of your major muscles, especially your calves, thighs, and rear end.

Cycling is a low-impact exercise. As such, it's beneficial to those with bone and joint conditions or bone injuries that prevent them from being active.

Mental Health Benefits of Cycling

Riding to work puts your brain at peak activity for hours. Don't believe it? I have the scientific studies and facts to prove it:

Scientists in a study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research prove that people doing their thing on a stationary bike for just 30 minutes had higher scores in tests for memory, reasoning and planning. After pedalling, they completed their tests faster. Still skeptical? Here's exactly what happens to your brain when you cycle.

Your brain is the 'Command and Control' centre of your body. Cycling, being an exercise, make more blood pump into your brain. This blood is rich in oxygen and nutrients. You are basically fertilizing your grey matter. But wait, there's more.

Pedalling jump starts more nerve cells. This increases the production of BDNF- (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and some more compounds. These increase new brain cell formation...i.e., you'll get more and more brain cells. With more cells comes greater mental power and enhanced mental functioning. Imagine what this would mean if you got your kid to start cycling from a very young age.

Slow your cranks, this does not that cycling across a continent will turn you into the next Einstein. Whereas cycling boosts your mental prowess, it does not suggest that you spend long ardours hours on your bike. The brain benefits from short, effective cycling sessions. Over-cycling will deplete your body of essential nutrients and energy it requires to spur brain growth.

Take up cycling for a bigger, better, more connected brain that will work better and faster.

Cycling Reduces Stress

Outdoor rides enable you take in the fragrance of nature and take in refreshing air. A visit to the gym to take on the spin bike enables you work out that tension within you. Added to that, cycling is a fun activity you can do with friends and family. As such, cycling reduces stress and depression. Furthermore, it also improves your self esteem and overall well being.

Why you Should start Cycling Today

Cycling is fun and healthy. You get to boost your health and have fun doing so. Get on a bike today and experience all these benefits for yourself. And make it a regular routine.

You'll get to live longer and happier!

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