The Amazing Benefits of Riding A Bicycle
Riding a bike is a fun activity that almost anyone can enjoy. Whether you are riding for fitness, to bond with your family or just to get around town, there are many benefits to cycling.
Riding a bike is a low-cost activity that doesn’t require much equipment besides the bike.
With just two wheels, you can enjoy a healthier and more productive life. Read on to learn about the plethora of benefits cycling can provide you.
A bike is an excellent tool in the fight against obesity. Studies have shown the benefits of regular exercise when it comes to weight control, and biking is one of the best exercises to burn calories.
The average person burns nearly 300 calories in just 30 minutes of biking, so riding your bike a few times a week is a great way to fight fat and keep the heart pumping.
Decrease Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Speaking of the heart, did you know that riding a bike has been shown to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease?
Regular biking stimulates the heart muscles, strengthens the lungs and increases circulation in the body.
Cycling has been shown to lower your resting pulse and reduce the levels of blood fat in the body. Research has also shown that regular bike riding can reverse some of the age-related heart damage that many people suffer.
Reduce The Risk of Prostate Cancer
There has been evidence that cycling has been known to cut the risk of prostate cancer in men who bike regularly.
According to a study by Harvard University, men who participated in vigorous exercise, including biking, were 30 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer and 25 percent less likely to develop the most aggressive form of the disease.
Physical activity is known to reduce inflammation in the body, and this reduced inflammation helps keep away the free radicals that lead to cancer.
Decreased Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is a tough condition to suffer through, but cycling has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
In patients who were diagnosed with pre-diabetes, cycling, combined with a healthy diet, had been shown to cut the risk of developing the disease.
Helps Heal Arthritis and Joint Pains
Bike riding is an excellent form of exercise for people with joint pain and arthritis.
According to the Journal of Rheumatology, cycling reduced stiffness and enhanced the quality of life for seniors with osteoarthritis. People with rheumatoid arthritis found that cycling on stationery bikes reduced pain, decreased blood pressure and eased tender joints.
While most people think they can’t ride a bike when they have joint pain and arthritis, studies have shown that careful bike riding can actually improve these conditions.
Strengthen Your Legs
Biking strengthens the legs. Biking can build strength in the quads, calves and glutes. Biking can help to increase the circulation in the lower body, aiding in muscle growth. When combined with squats, lunges and leg presses, biking can build muscle quickly and burn fat in record time.
If you have ever wanted to clear your head, there are few things that bring mental clarity better than exercise.
Improve Your Mental Health
Biking is an excellent boost to mental health, improving your mood and lowering the chance that you will develop depression. Biking aids in memory retention and improves creativity.
Have you ever noticed how well you can problem solve when you have a few moments outside to think without interruption? Many people use their biking time to clear their minds, develop new ideas and simply enjoy a short digital detox.
Scenic bike rides are especially calming, and cyclists report the combination of fresh air, breathtaking scenery and serenity helps them to focus and enjoy mental acuity.
These rides can also lift sadness and help to ease anxiety. In addition, outdoor exercise gives you a boost of vitamin D, which is also known to increase mood.
Improve Your Navigational Skills
One of the lesser known benefits of biking is that you can throw out your GPS once and for all.
Navigating around biking trails can help you to sharpen your map-reading and orienteering skills.
It won’t take you long to figure out which way is west when the sun is setting in your face and you’re suffering from sun blindness.
Finding your way east will be simple when you get the rare chance to enjoy a breathtaking sunset during your ride.
Improved Sex Life
Another added bonus for those that travel on two wheels? An improved sex life.
Men and women who cycle regularly report higher levels of confidence than those that don’t.
Cycling gets the heart pumping and the feel-good serotonin pulsing through the body, priming the body for an intense sexual experience.
In addition to feeling better, you may be excited to find out that people perceive cyclists as more attractive and intelligent than non-cyclists.
In a study by the British Heart Foundation, survey respondents rated the cyclists as highly desirable when compared to the control group, who didn’t ride.
Cycling also gives you a bit of a “high,” similar to the high that runners feel at the end of a race.
That feel-good chemical means that you will be more relaxed and less stressed–two of the key ingredients of a healthy sexual experience.
Cycling also increases your strength and endurance, leading to a happy and satisfying sex life.
More Environmentally Conscious
Cycling is one of the most eco-friendly transportation options, and helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
Biking to work instead of driving not only burns calories and strengthens your heart, but helps to protect the earth and keep harmful chemicals out of the ozone layer.
Biking gives you access to bike paths and trails that are built to protect the habitats of local species and the surrounding areas.
Cars produce nearly one pound of pollution per mile each year.
Bicycles produce zero.
Bikes require far fewer resources to produce than cars, cutting down on waste and pollution.
Bikes don’t contribute to noise pollution which can kill entire species of small animals.
In addition, cyclists are far less likely to kill animals while on their routes.
Make New Friends
Have you ever noticed that cyclists tend to be friendlier and more welcoming than other groups?
There is something about biking that brings out the best in people.
This family-friendly activity means that you are more likely to meet other families and develop new friendships.
There are tons of biking clubs in major cities, so it is easy to link up with other bikers and enjoy exploring the city in groups.
Biking is a great way to meet health-conscious and earth friendly people.
If you are single, cycling is the perfect way to interact with other singles who are in your area.
Biking is the perfect date night activity, so get out there and meet people while boosting your physical and mental health.
Who Shouldn’t Be Cycling Every Day
While cycling is a healthy and fun activity, it’s not for everyone.
Pregnant women should avoid cycling as falls can be harmful to both Mom and baby.
While biking has been shown to increase joint health, it can have the opposite effect on people with knee injuries. If you have chronic knee pain, cycling may not be the best exercise for you.
People who are easily injured or who have fragile bones may find that a fall from a bike can prove serious.
Finally, if your doctor has advised you not to engage in vigorous exercise, you should probably avoid cycling.
Safety Concerns While Cycling
While biking is a generally safe activity, there are some elements that can make cycling dangerous.
Falling from a bike can be dangerous, so cyclists should always wear a helmet to reduce the incidence of head injuries.
While a helmet is not 100 percent foolproof, it can provide some protection from a direct hit to the head should you fall from your bike.
Cars often hit bikers when they can’t see them in the roadway.
Ride with, not against the flow of traffic so that you are more visible to cars.
Wear bright colors like neon and white to stand out.
Consider wearing reflective tape on your clothing or donning a reflective vest while riding.
If you are riding at night, avoid wearing black. Get a forehead headlamp or install a tail light onto the back of your bike so that cars can see you.
Install rearview mirrors on your bike so that you can see what is behind you at all times.
The roads are not always friendly to bikers.
Map out your route in advance, avoiding busy roads that might bring you into contact with heavy traffic. Try to stick to roads that have marked bike lanes and bike paths so that you can navigate safely.
One way that bicyclists are frequently hurt is when they ride next to parked cars.
Drivers may open their doors suddenly, sending bikers hurtling over car doors and causing massive injuries.
Avoid riding between a line of moving traffic and parked cars for your own safety.
Try to follow the rules of the road when you are on your bike.
Stop at stop signs and red lights, avoid passing on the right and don’t make sudden lane changes.
Yield to pedestrians and ride at a safe speed.
Keep a safe following distance from other cars to avoid accidents.
Don’t ride on the sidewalk and stay out of bus lanes.
Use hand signals that drivers understand. Right arm out for a right turn, left arm out for a left turn.
Consider getting a bell or a horn to make sure you are heard by cars.
Ready To Start Cycling?
Now that you are aware of the benefits of cycling, the ways to stay safe on the road and the different cycling options available, it’s time to hit the road.
The first step in getting started is to find the right gear for your new hobby.
There are several types of bikes available, from cruisers to trikes, mountain bikes to fixed gear bikes, to racing bikes and e-bikes.
Finding the right one is a matter of matching the bike to your riding purpose.
Just out for a fun, casual ride with the kids?
Cycling for fitness?
Training for a bike race?
All of these factors will determine the bike you ultimately choose.
Getting the right size bike is important.
You will need to ensure your bike is the right one for your height so that you can avoid injury and pain.
Straddle the bike and leave about an inch between your body and the frame.
Your bike store staff can help to measure you for the right bike.
If you are buying online, take your measurements to ensure you have a comfortable fit.
In addition to getting a new bike, you will need a cycling kit—a helmet, padded shorts, socks and a jersey.
This will help you to have a comfortable and safe ride.
You will also want moisture wicking clothing and athletic shoes to get started.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money for good gear, but you do want high-quality bike wear and shoes that fit well.
It may be tempting to set a goal to ride 20 miles a day or cycle for hours at a time.
If you haven’t been active for a while, listen to your body and start with a small goal that you can add on in the days and weeks after you begin.
Be sure to stop often and stay hydrated during your ride. Stop if you feel pain or shortness of breath during your ride.
Cycling can be a great form of exercise, a family friendly activity and an excellent way to enjoy increased mental and physical health.
One of the most eco-friendly forms of transportation, a natural mood booster and an instant conversation starter, the bicycle can bring hours of joy to your life.
If you are ready to get started, you will find a welcoming and healthy community of other bikers who enjoy the sport daily and can keep you company on your rides.
Grab your helmet, lace up your shoes and hit the road today.