What Are the Health Benefits of Biking?
Cycling has shown a huge spike in popularity over the past several years. In fact, biking increased by 253% in the western United States within the last year. This should come as no surprise, as there are a number of health benefits of biking.
For example, riding a bike is better for the environment than driving a car. Additionally, it’s cost-effective and allows people to save on gas.
This easy cardio activity also has great advantages when it comes to your mental, emotional, and physical health. Here’s how.
Perfect for Beginners
Riding a bicycle is easy and can be a great single or social activity. It is a great option if you are just getting into working out or have pre-existing conditions that make exercise a challenge.
To start, try a stationary bike. This will help you build up muscle and stamina before hitting the road. Once you are comfortable with the feeling of riding a stationary bike, try doing a few laps around the park on a real bicycle.
Enhance Mental Wellbeing
One of the great health benefits of biking is enhanced mental wellbeing. The release of endorphins while exercising reduces feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. It also forces you to draw your attention away from day-to-day problems and focus on the road.
This has additional benefits such as increasing your navigation skills, critical thinking, and spatial awareness. Avoiding mental distractions is even more important when biking in heavy traffic where the chances of biking accidents and injuries are higher.
Builds Strong Muscle
Another reason to bike is that it builds strong muscles. Biking activates all the major muscle groups in your legs, including your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quads. Throw in a bit of an incline or some wind resistance to really get your body toned and trim.
Regular biking targets key areas of your abs and back, as well. Strengthening these muscles improves posture and increases stability and balance both on and off the bike.
Increases Weight Loss
Riding a bike can help you burn through body fat with ease. Harvard University estimates you burn between 240 and 336 calories for every thirty minutes of moderate-paced cycling. These numbers vary slightly depending on a person’s weight, the difficulty of the terrain, and cycle speed.
Activities like running, heavy weight-lifting, and other high-impact cardio are often jarring on sensitive joints and old injuries. Biking, however, is a low-impact exercise, which means it doesn’t put a lot of excess strain on your muscles and joints. This makes it a more sustainable long-term solution to exercise and weight loss.
Boosts Immune Health & Prevents Disease
Biking can have profound effects on your body’s immune response. One study found women with breast cancer were better able to cope with treatment and showed improved quality of life. This is because cardio exercise, like biking, helps activate the production of essential healing proteins in your body.
Biking also helps reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as type II diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. A study by the University of Glasgow found that regular cycling over five years reduced the risk of developing heart disease and cancer by half.
Supports Lung & Cardio Health
Another health benefit of biking is improved lung and cardio health. Riding a bike requires your lungs and heart to work harder to get oxygenated blood to active muscle groups. Over time your body begins to adapt to this process.
You might notice simple activities such as climbing stairs are not as difficult as they once were. A run through the park won’t leave you feeling exhausted and out of breath. This is because your lungs and heart have grown accustomed to working efficiently at higher activity levels.
Promotes Brain Health
Riding a bike increases cognitive function and improves blood flow to the brain. Stimulating the brain reduces the risk of developing mental illnesses, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s later in life. This is one of the greatest health benefits of biking for children as well, as it increases their ability to focus.
It should be noted that riding a bicycle also poses a hazard to brain health. Collisions and serious accidents can result in broken bones, traumatic head injuries, and even death.
To avoid the dangers and reap the health benefits of biking, always wear the proper safety gear.
Improves Sleep Quality
Not getting enough physical activity can impact your sleep cycle, especially as you get older. One of the benefits of biking is that it promotes sleep by enhancing your body’s ability to fall into a deeper state of rest.
Scientists are still looking for the specific connection between biking and sleep quality. However, many believe it is related to reduced anxiety, weight regulation, and hormonal stability.
Increases Life Expectancy
Did you know that riding a bike can increase your life span? Multiple studies have shown that people who cycle live longer than those that don’t. One study found that premature death decreased by up to 23% when people cycled one to sixty minutes per week.
Increases Social Connection
Not only is biking great for physical and mental health, but it also encourages the forming of social bonds. Push your limits by joining a weekly cycle group. Having others around you will boost your motivation keep you inspired to try harder.
Health Benefits of Biking
The health benefits of biking are practically endless. Boost your mental wellbeing and lung capacity on a weekend ride with the family. Or, make cycling a regular part of your routine to extend your life and enhance your focus.
Whether you are alone or riding a bike with friends, taking a little time each day to get on your bike will help you live a happier, fuller, and healthier life.
Even when you are practicing proper bike safety, accidents can happen. If you or a loved one was recently injured in a biking accident, we can help. Contact us to learn more about injury lawsuits and your rights as a cyclist.