The benefits of cycling are endless. Whether you want to lose weight, improve your fitness level or reduce your level of stress, hopping on a bike can help you. Former Tour de France rider Nick Gates has been reaping the benefits of cycling for years and years. In this article, he talks about how you can benefit from taking to two wheels today. But don’t assume before reading this that you need to be an athlete, or even know how to ride a bike. Cycling is for a range of people which is why it is so beneficial for your health and fitness. If you have the right equipment, cycling can be an advantage for everyone from toddlers to pensioners to people with disabilities. It can also be a very fun way to get out there and exercise.
Have a read of Nick Gates’s tips to see how you can make the most of the benefits of cycling now.
Top benefits of cycling
1. It is low impact
Cycling is a lot easier on your joints and muscles than other sports, like running. It does not cause a lot of stress on your body so it is good for a wide range of people, especially some who may have a limited range of motion in their body, or others who cannot handle high impact exercise. But even though it is low impact, it can still help get you into shape. Low impact sports can also help to lower your blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
2. Lowers stress levels
Hopping on a bike can reduce your stress levels, and this is key to remaining healthy and keeping your weight down. High cortisol levels have been linked to increased fat around the midsection, so it is important to try to keep the stress levels as low as possible.
But the even better thing is that you don’t have to spend hours on a bike to experience these benefits of cycling. The low impact exercise can make a big difference on your body in just a short amount of time.
3. Aids weight loss
A lot of people who cycle experience a lot of weight loss, almost immediately. Significant weight loss is one of the many benefits of cycling but a lot of the time, it is not the reason people start. The weight loss just comes with becoming fitter and healthier. Don’t make weight loss your main focus though.
Although other sports including running can burn a lot of fat it can be bad for your body as it is a high impact sport. You strike your foot down on the ground several times and your foot takes the brunt of your body weight. That can be a lot of force!
So, focus on starting out on a bike as most your body weight will be taken by the saddle so your bones don’t take the stress.
4. See the world from your bike
Experience some of the most beautiful places in the world just by hopping on your bike. This is a huge benefit of cycling because usually, as tourists we experience the world through the car window. In Phuket, our cyclists go off on several rides a week around the island and see things a lot of people wouldn’t just from being on a bike and having more freedom.
5. Fights fatigue and boosts your energy
Cycling helps to fight fatigue and make you feel less tired. Sometimes you will wake up in the morning too tired to get on your bike but the best thing you can actually do is go for a ride. Just a few minutes can be an incredibly positive wake-up call. Several studies have found that exercise directly lowers you fatigue levels and can give you more energy.
A study carried out and published in the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics journal found that cycling improves energy levels by up to 20 percent and can decrease fatigue by a whopping 65 percent. This is because when you cycle your brain releases a neurotransmitter called Dopamine. This is linked to energy. However, the lead professors said there is no need to go overboard. You can see a result from cycling at low to moderate pace just three times a week.
6. Make friends and be part of a social group
There are such positive social benefits of cycling. Just from getting out there and becoming part of a team, you can be doing as much good for your body as the actual exercise.
A study from the University of California showed that socialising with others, especially in a sports context, releases the hormone oxytocin which can buffer the fight or flight response. Another study from Harvard showed that those with more friends are less likely to die an early death. The results from the study were so important that the researchers concluded that having limited friends can be as bad for you as smoking or being obese.
7. It is good for your heart
Cycling up to 20 miles a week can reduce your risk of heart disease by less than half when compared to people who do not exercise, the British Heart Foundation found. They also stated that around 10,000 fatal heart attacks a year can be avoided if people live a healthier life and become fitter.
In another study carried Purdue University, USA, the researchers found that regular cycling can cut your heart attack risk by 50 percent. The benefits of cycling are endless.
There are so many benefits of cycling that you need to experience, so get on a bike and make the most out of life. Lead a healthy life that you will benefit from each and every day.
Start cycling today, and speak to one of Thanyapura’s elite coaches to find out how you can make the most of our your cycling journey, and boost your health and well-being while doing so.
Optimize your potential and reap the benefits of cycling today. For more on how to get involved in cycling at Thanyapura, click here.