Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.
Cycling is a versatile form of aerobic exercise that is low impact and offers a cornucopia of benefits. One of its biggest attractions is that you can vary the intensity of your cycling to meet your personal exercise requirements and limits.
If you wish to enjoy light exercise, you can cycle a short distance around a relatively flat park. If you want to push yourself more, you can cycle longer distances along country roads, taking in a hill or two. And if you want a challenge, you can go mountain biking across rugged slopes.
Cycling is suitable for people of all ages and ability levels. You can also choose to do it in the most beautiful of places.
You can even splice cycling into your normal timetable rather than treating it as a separate activity. Simply replace all or part of your daily commute with a cycle ride or choose to cycle to the shops instead of driving.
Cycling offers many health benefits. Here are just 10.
#1. Aerobic workout
Cycling provides an aerobic workout suitable for your current fitness level. Aerobic workouts get your blood pumping and your heart racing.
Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart, increases your lung capacity, and helps with weight control. The CDC recommends that adults spend at least 150 minutes each week engaged in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health so reducing the risk of heart disease. It can help lower blood pressure and help regulate blood sugar levels.
#2. Core workout
While you’re cycling, your back and abdominal muscles are forced to work to maintain your upright position and balance the bicycle. These are core muscles that many other forms of exercise neglect. Strengthening your core muscles helps with posture, stability, and helps prevent back pain.
#3. Leg workout
The most obvious part of your body that gets worked while you’re cycling is your legs. The full peddling motion strengthens your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads. If you enjoy mountain biking, you’re going to get big and shapely thighs.
#4. Weight control
Cycling won’t necessarily cause you to lose weight. Muscle is heavier than fat. If you cycle a lot and your muscles grow stronger, you might get heavier.
However, cycling will help your body to burn excessive fat reserves. If you cycle regularly, you’ll observe a decrease in fat accompanied by an increase in muscle.
The increased weight from muscle is actually a good thing. When your body is heavier, you burn more calories from regular activities than when you’re light. The more muscle, the more weight, the more fat you’ll lose. Basically, cycling promotes superior weight management.
#5. Fights cancer
Recent medical research has demonstrated that staying active while undergoing cancer treatment can help to reduce the side effects. Cycling also promotes your overall fitness, which also helps in the fight against cancer.
When you’re recovering from cancer treatment, cycling can be incorporated into your care plan for getting back to a more normal lifestyle.
#6. Prevents diabetes
Cycling regularly is known to improve your metabolism. A respected medical study has found a direct link between cycling and the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes.
If you commute to work by cycle, go shopping regularly on your bike, or simply cycle for fun several times a week, you’re less likely to develop diabetes. It doesn’t matter how old you are. As soon as you begin cycling, you will reap instant benefits.
#7. Improves balance
While you’re cycling, you’re constantly making subconscious decisions to shift your body to remain balanced. When you turn corners, you naturally act to keep your bicycle stable.
As people age, their balance can decline. Cycling helps to prevent this decline and keep you upright. This can help prevent tumbles and broken bones as you grow older.
#8. Improves mental health
While some forms of exercise can be boring and repetitive, cycling gets you out and about. Cycling through parks, along trails, and alongside rivers exposes you to the beauty of the great outdoors and improves your spirits.
Even cycling along an urban road during your morning commute can help. Observing the road and traffic signals helps develop your awareness of the moment and takes your mind off your stressful work and home problems.
Cycling is known to release endorphins, which give you a mental high while combatting stress levels. Regular cycling can also boost your confidence levels, alleviate fatigue, and improve your general happiness.
#9. Doesn’t damage joints
One of the big problems with many forms of exercise is that the jolts you receive while exercising can cause damage to your joints and ligaments.
Cycling is a low impact activity. The movement your legs go through doesn’t involve any sudden jolts or shocks. That means you can indulge in an intensive workout and really build up a sweat without worrying that it will lead to later problems with your hips or knee joints.
#10. Cycling is versatile
It doesn’t matter how healthy or how unhealthy you are. You can devise a cycling program that will help you to get or to stay healthy.
By varying the length of time you cycle and the terrain you cycle across, you can make your cycle ride as easy or as difficult as you like.
In conjunction with your physician or a professional trainer, you can work out a schedule that ensures you don’t overwork your body and you benefit from your cycling exercise.
And anybody can do it. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to learn how to cycle. You just need patience and the determination to make an improvement to your lifestyle.
This video explores the mental health benefits of cycling in more depth
The benefits are endless
I’ve only listed 10 obvious benefits here. There are actually many more. If you’ve never considered cycling before, I hope that this article has inspired you to consider taking up this sport in the near future. It won’t do you any harm and could literally save your life.