Along with being a fun, family-friendly activity for much of the year, there are other benefits that push bicycling to the top of the list in terms of increasing health and wellness. Cycling benefits the mind and body in various ways.
One of the more common mental health benefits of exercise is that working up a sweat can help alleviate physical and mental stress. Reducing stress is important for overall health and can reduce a person’s risk of developing certain illnesses.
Cycling is a great way to get outdoors, meet people and see the scenery. Getting outside to exercise also can reduce anxiety and depression.
A study conducted in 2007 by researcher Charles Hillman indicated that exercise boosts brain power and may be able to stave off Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly. Dr. Phil Tomporowski has studied how children with ADHD may be positively affected by bike riding, and how control issues were improved without the use of medication.
The Victoria State Department Better Health Channel says that cycling for health and fitness is a good idea. Riding a bicycle is a low-impact form of exercise for people of all ages. Cycling can be fun and doesn’t require expensive equipment. Cycling generally causes less strain on joints and other areas of the body because it is low-impact. However, cycling provides enough resistance to be an effective muscle workout.
People who want to improve their cardiovascular health and manage their weight can turn to cycling to achieve their goals. Cycling raises one’s metabolic rate to help the body burn fat when combined with a healthy diet. Cycling Weekly says cycling burns between 400 and 1,000 calories an hour, depending on the intensity of a ride and the rider’s weight. Individuals can modify the distance and intensity of a cycling workout to suit their fitness goals.
Disease risk and adverse health outcomes can be reduced by hopping on a bike. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow examined more than 260,000 individuals over the course of five years. The study found that cycling to work can cut a rider’s risk of developing heart disease or cancer in half.
Those eager to get started on cycling are encouraged to begin slowly, especially if it has been awhile since they last exercised. It’s also important to find the right-sized bicycle to reduce strain and injury. A full-service bike shop can help bike shoppers find one that is the right height and frame size for the rider’s body. The height of the handlebars and the seat also can be adjusted for comfort.
Always consult with a physician prior to exercise to ensure that the regimen is safe. Those with prior injuries or health problems should be doubly careful, though cycling is generally safe for beginners.