Since 96th edition of the Giro d’Italia, one of cycling’s three European grand tours (along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana), took place a few weeks ago there was renewed attention on the benefits of cycling for health.
Here are ten of the most significant benefits of cycling for health:
- First, and perhaps most important, cycling is a great low-impact mode of exercise. This is important for people who are just starting to exercise that may not be in the best of shape, people with joint conditions, people with injuries to the legs or hips, and individuals who are overweight. Since approximately 70% of a cyclist’s body weight is distributed through the saddle and handlebars instead of through the rider’s ankles, cycling offers a cardiovascular workout without stressing weight-bearing joints. There’s compelling evidence that cycling benefits people with very low initial physical fitness and that it can cause considerable reductions in cardiovascular-disease mortality.
- Compared to other forms of exercise, cycling is one of the most convenient. Swimming requires a pool. Weight lifting means a purchasing costly equipment, or at the least, a gym membership and a commute. The only expense associated with cycling is a bike. An exercise routine that is convenient is more likely to be adhered to than one that requires lots of preparation. Not only can cycling be easily incorporated into daily life, but the exercise can be done at varying intensities and has few side-effects. Although cycling gear could be moderately expensive, you can always protect yourself against crash damage or theft by buying a bicycle insurance policy.
- There are numerous studies detailing the many health benefits of cycling as a form of exercise. These include reduced body fat, better sleep quality and lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- According to Preventive Medicine, cycling regularly has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression and stress. Scientists say regular aerobic exercise such as cycling has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize moods, and improve self-esteem.
- Cycling helps you live longer too. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, found at Consumer.org, “a 15-year study associates cycling with a 40% reduction in mortality for both males and females over all ages.”
- Another way cycling is good for your heart is that it improves the ratios between good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol. According to MayoClinic.com, exercises like bike riding can help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
- Riding your bike is an excellent way to gain improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as a lower your risk of coronary heart disease.
- Cycling is also a safe exercise alternative for expecting mothers. Bicycling magazine claims that women who cycle while pregnant improve their overall cardiovascular fitness and that regular exercise may ease childbirth.
- A 1998 study conducted by Allot & Lomax and the Policy Studies Institute found that since bike riding is an activity that doesn’t require you to bear your own weight it is a much safer form of exercise than other methods. The study also discovered that regular cycling leads to improved muscle strength and improved mobility and coordination.
- Last but not least, cycling is fun. Not only can riding your bike put you in a good mood, but it’s also a proven stress reliever. In fact, a study published in the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics journal found that cycling boosted energy levels by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent. The lead author of the study, Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia at Athens, claims that cycling causes your brain to release dopamine, which is linked to energy.
Although you may not win the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France, if you commit to including cycling as part of your routine, there’s no doubt you’ll end up a winner in the health department! To stay protected, get a free and easy bicycle insurance quote.