11 Benefits of Cycling: Why Bike Riding Is Great For Your Body, Mind, and Longevity

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The list of the benefits of cycling is almost as long as the roads and trails available to you. And the great thing is that more people are starting to realise this, as they start to experience these benefits for themselves.

Whether you cycle for fun at the weekends or for commuting, it won’t take long before you see the benefits of bike riding. 

On or off-road, cycling in any form will improve your physical and mental health. It can also improve your bank balance if you don’t give in to temptation and fill your garage with bikes.

In this article, we will answer some popular questions:

  • Is cycling a good cardiovascular workout?
  • Does cycling build muscle?
  • What Are the Mental Health Benefits Of Cycling?
  • Is cycling good for weight loss?
  • Can cycling prevent health issues?
  • Is cycling good for joints?
  • Can I save time cycling?
  • Can cycling improve my sex life?
  • Can cycling help me sleep better?
  • Isn’t cycling a lonely activity?

Are you ready to become a better version of yourself?

11 Benefits of Cycling Why Bike Riding Is Great For Your Body Mind and Longevity

1. Is Cycling A Good Cardiovascular Workout?

One of the most significant benefits of cycling is that it is good for your cardiovascular system. Therefore, it helps to reduce the likelihood of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure.

Riding a bike regularly lowers your resting heart rate and blood fat levels. In turn, your heart muscles get stronger, and your lung functions improve.

Numerous studies have revealed that those who ride bikes throughout their life are at lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.

If there is a history of cardiovascular disease in your family, it would be wise to jump on a bike and stay healthy.

2. Does Cycling Build Muscle?

Cycling tones and strengthens the muscles in your legs and hips, especially when you use the proper cycling form. But it also works other parts of your body that you may not realise.

For example, one of the benefits of cycling is that it can work your core. This is because you use your core muscles as a platform to push the pedals from. Also, you use them to control your bike, especially if you are a mountain biker.

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Riding your bike isn’t a substitute for a core workout, but it definitely helps. Working on your core off the bike can help your riding significantly.

When it comes to your legs, cycling really works your hamstrings and quadriceps. These muscles work together to put power into your pedals.

Your calf muscles also come into play when cycling, making them stronger and more defined. This is the case for your glutes too, as they help with the power and motion of pedalling.

If you want to focus on building leg muscle with cycling, you need to increase the intensity. You can do this on an indoor bike or go hunting for hills to climb.


3. What Are the Mental Health Benefits Of Cycling?

You may be surprised how much cycling helps with your mental health. In fact, it is probably one of the most significant benefits of cycling. So, much so, we will have to break it down into different categories:

Reduces stress

When you get stressed, your body produces cortisol, preparing your body for ‘fight or flight’. Unfortunately, if your cortisol levels are high for extended periods, it can increase your chances of obesity, insomnia, heart disease, digestive issues and depression.

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Riding your bike is a fantastic form of therapy that keeps the damaging cortisol levels at bay. It relieves stress and anxiety better than some medications.

When you start pedalling, your body produces endorphins, your natural painkillers. Endorphins relax your mind and improve your mood, which is why cycling home after a stressful day at work is a great thing to do.

Fights depression

A study by the University of Toronto discovered that exercise treats and prevents depression. It determined that adults who exercise three times a week can reduce the likelihood of depression by 19%.

It is not clear how, but experts believe that it may be due to the distracting nature of cycling and the way it encourages healthier habits.

Helps you to be mindful

When cycling, you are entirely engaged in what you are doing. The only thing you should be concerned about is keeping those pedals turning and staying safe.

In these moments, your brain has a welcomed break from everything else that is going on in your life.

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Improves Your Self Esteem

When you have stuck to a cycling training program for a few weeks, you will start to feel an immense sense of achievement. But, you will also begin to see an improvement in the mirror and on your bathroom scales.

Also, it won’t take much longer before others start to see your improvements. All of these things boost our self-esteem and positively affect how we see ourselves.

4. Does Cycling Keep Our Brains Working?

Unfortunately, as we get older, our brains become a bit slower. Also, we become susceptible to degenerative diseases that affect how our brains function.

However, cycling can help keep these effects of ageing at bay. The increased blood flow from exercising counteracts our declining hippocampal function as we age. Therefore, cycling can go a long way to preventing Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

5. Is cycling good for weight loss?

If your goal is to lose weight, you are in luck, as weight loss is one of the excellent benefits of cycling. As long as you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight by riding a bike.

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However, you need to think about how you will use your bike to lose weight. Start off with a realistic goal and put together a training plan.

When you begin to cycle for weight loss, ride at a regular pace regularly, use your bike to commute, and do a couple of high-intensity rides per week.

By doing this with some cross-training while watching what you eat, you will start to lose weight pretty quickly.

6. Can Cycling Prevent Health Issues?

We have touched on this already, but it is worth drawing your attention to the health benefits of cycling in a bit more detail.

According to the Harvard Medical School, riding a bike reduces the risk of severe health issues and helps us live longer. This is backed up by a study from the University of Glasgow. Researchers found that commuting on a bike was associated with a lower risk of a cancer diagnosis.

Therefore, cycling to work regularly, or even part of the way, will put you in good stead for a long and healthy life.

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7. Is Cycling Good For Joints?

So far, you may have noticed that most of the benefits of cycling relate to exercise. Therefore, you might be tempted to save some money and buy a pair of running shoes instead of a bike.

The problem with running is that it puts your joints under a lot of stress. The constant pounding can cause issues with your hips and knees. It can also damage muscle tissue and cause inflammation.

One of the benefits of cycling over running is that it isn’t weight-bearing, making it low impact. Therefore, cycling is better for your joints, and as long as you stay on your bike, it leaves you less prone to injury.

Riding a bike also comes with its issues, but as long as your bike fits you, you can prevent many cycling-related problems. It is worth remembering that the benefits of cycling outweigh the negatives.

8. Can I Save Time Cycling?

Depending on your circumstances, you can save time by riding a bike to work. For example, if you work or live and work in a city centre, driving in traffic can really extend your journey time.

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However, one of the benefits of cycling to work is that you don’t have to sit in traffic. You can take cycle lanes, shortcuts and weave through stationary traffic.

In addition to this, you don’t have to find an expensive parking space when you get there. Just lock your bike up outside work and start your day. Alternatively, you can ride a folding bike and take it in with you.

The other advantage of a folding bike is that you can take it on public transport. Once you get within riding distance, unfold your bike and ride the last mile or so.

9. Can Cycling Improve My Sex Life?

If you need any motivation to ride, you may want to consider how cycling can improve your sex life.

There are several ways cycling regularly can improve your intimate times. Much of them stem from fitness, less stress, good self-esteem, increased blood flow and stamina.

10. Can cycling help me sleep better?

Of course, any form of exercise can tire you out, but you may not be aware that a decline in fitness can cause sleep issues. This has been confirmed in a study by the University of Georgia

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But you can improve your sleep with some time riding your bike. Scientists believe that the reduction in anxiety helps you sleep better. In addition to this, maintaining a healthy weight will keep sleeping problems at bay.

11. Isn’t Cycling A Lonely Activity?

When you see someone pedalling by themselves out in the middle of nowhere, you may think that they are a bit bored and lonely. The truth is, they are probably in a lovely headspace, stress-free, enjoying their endorphins.

However, cycling can be a very social activity. For example, you can use your bike to visit friends without driving. You can also meet up for group rides, either on the road or on mountain bike trails.

You can even meet new people that share your enthusiasm for bikes. Why not join a local cycling club? Cycling clubs are excellent for finding new places to go and meet like-minded people. Another one of the benefits of cycling clubs is that they are great for your motivation, especially if the club organises events and races.

Its Time To Experience The Benefits Of Cycling First Hand

With all these benefits of cycling things in mind, it is hard to see why you wouldn’t go for a pedal. You may be concerned about the expense of buying a bike and everything that goes with it. But, you don’t have to have the latest carbon fibre superbike to experience the benefits of cycling.

You can make a difference to your well-being with a cheap hardtail, commuter bike or old BMX. But, the main thing about cycling is that it is fun; all these other benefits come with the territory.

Once you get more experienced, you will want to start pushing yourself. So check out these blogs to learn how to do it:

FTP Test: What Is Functional Threshold Power?

How To Cycle Faster: 9 Tips To Speed Up

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One of BikeTips' regular writers, Tom is a mountain biking expert living in the French Alps. When he isn't writing, he can be found charging downhill on two wheels or a snowboard! Tom's other passion is fitness, which goes a long way to help him make the most of the Alpine lifestyle.

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