12 Benefits of Cycling, Plus Safety Tips
Cycling is a low impact aerobic exercise that offers a wealth of benefits. It also varies in intensity, so it’s suitable for all levels. You can cycle as a mode of transportation, for casual activity, or as an intense, competitive endeavor.
Cycling is a wonderful workout that keeps you active. It can help shape a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.
Continue reading to take a look at some of the ways cycling can enhance your fitness level and well-being.
1. Cycling may help you lose weight
Additional studies suggest that including sprint and strength training with regular cycling may temporarily increase your metabolism and build muscle, which allows you to burn more calories, even while at rest (2).
2. Cycling will help strengthen your legs
Cycling improves overall function in your lower body and strengthens your leg muscles without overstressing your joints. It targets your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
To make your legs even stronger and enhance your cycling performance, try doing weightlifting exercises, such as squats, leg presses, and lunges, a few times per week (3Trusted Source).
3. Cycling is good for beginners
Riding a bike is fairly simple. If you have difficulty with a standard bicycle, stationary bikes are a great alternative.
If you’re new to fitness or bouncing back from an injury or illness, you can cycle at a low intensity. As you get more fit, you can increase the intensity or continue to cycle at a chill pace.
Studies have shown that even sedentary people reap the health benefits of cycling, so it can be a great introduction for exercise novices (1).
4. Cycling may lower cholesterol
The health-enhancing effects of cycling may help improve cholesterol levels, which can boost your cardiovascular health and lower your chances of stroke and heart attack.
According to one review of 300 studies, indoor cycling has a positive effect on total cholesterol. It may boost HDL (good) cholesterol levels while lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels (4Trusted Source).
5. Cycling boosts mental health and brain power
Cycling can ease feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. Focusing on the road or your cadence when cycling can help you develop concentration and awareness of the present moment. This may help take your focus away from the mental chatter of your day.
Research backs this up. One study found that biking outside improved cognitive functioning and well-being for older adults (5Trusted Source).
If you find yourself feeling lethargic, listless, or like your brain is moving slowly, get on your bike for at least 10 minutes.
Exercise promotes the release of endorphins in your body, which helps you feel better while lowering your stress levels. As the study above found, exercise outdoors only increases these effects (5Trusted Source).
You may feel more confident and content once you make cycling a regular part of your life.
6. Cycling can help people with cancer
Cycling is a fantastic addition to your care plan if you have or are recovering from cancer. However, many cancer patients experience low energy and pain during treatment, so be sure to work with your care team, listen to your body, and exercise only if you’re up for it.
Cycling can also help keep you lean and fit, which may reduce your risk for certain types of cancer, including breast cancer (6Trusted Source).
7. Cycling can offer a positive start to your morning
Beginning your day with a healthy activity like cycling wakes you up by boosting your circulation and allows you to start your day with a sense of accomplishment.
You may feel more inclined to make healthy, positive choices as the day progresses (8).
The caveat? The research seems to show that this is mainly true for casual bikers, and it’s not recommended that highly trained athletes fast before long endurance rides (9Trusted Source).
8. Cycling may help prevent and manage medical conditions
Whether you want to prevent health concerns from arising or manage existing conditions, regular exercise is key. Cycling regularly is one way to avoid a sedentary lifestyle and its possible accompanying health concerns.
In fact, very recent research suggests regular cycling can lower mortality rates for people with diabetes by 24% and, if continued for at least 5 years, can decrease mortality rates by 35% (14Trusted Source).
9. Cycling is environmentally friendly
Reduce your carbon footprint by riding your bike whenever possible. Recent research in Europe found that commuting by bike instead of by car once a day decreases your transportation carbon footprint by 67% (15).
Cycling is a great replacement for transportation options that involve sitting in traffic for extended periods. It’s especially useful when you’re going places that are a bit too far to walk, but you don’t want to take a car.
A bonus is not having to fight for a parking space in crowded areas.
10. Cycling improves balance, posture, and coordination
Balance tends to decline with age and inactivity, so it’s vital to stay on top of it. Improved balance is beneficial in the prevention of falls and fractures, which can help decrease your risk of injury and keep you off the sidelines.
11. Cycling is a low impact option
Cycling is a great option for people who have joint concerns or overall stiffness, especially in the lower body.
12. Cycling may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
Cycling is a fantastic way to raise your heart rate, improve cardiovascular function, and enhance your overall fitness level.
The results of a 2019 review suggest that cycling is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s also associated with lower mortality rates and lower rates of physiological risk factors such as diabetes, physical inactivity, and high blood pressure.
105 total views