8 Benefits of Cycling For A Healthy Mind And Body
Cycling is a low-impact aerobic exercise that boosts moods, improves heart health and supports weight management. Here are all the reasons to get a bike.
Cycling is more than just a mode of transportation. It is an excellent low-impact workout that most people can easily do to lose weight, burn fat, or build muscle. Most types of exercises tend to cause some kind of injury. However, cycling being a low-impact workout, is easy on the body—especially on joints in the lower part of the body. Since cycling does not put a lot of stress on the body, it helps strengthen your bones. Thus it is an ideal exercise for those who want a workout with reduced chances of injury.
As per the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans an adult (aged 19-64 years) should do a moderate intensity workout like cycling for 30 minutes a day, five days in a week. What makes cycling a great workout is the fact that it can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their age. Listed below are some benefits of cycling.
Benefits of cycling
Improves mental health: A 2019 research published in PLoS One highlights the relation between cycling and mental health. It was concluded that cycling for 30 minutes in a day improved cognitive function and mental health in adults.
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Strengthens the immune system: Cycling is effective in building strong immunity and fighting diseases as we grow older. A 2018 study published in the journal Ageing Cell compared the immune system of 125 cyclists aged 55-79 years with non-cyclists aged 20-36 years. The study revealed higher T-cells (white blood cells) which are responsible for strengthening immunity in cyclists than those who were inactive. A recent survey in Frontiers in Psychology explored the connection between cycling and COVID-19 and concluded that engaging in this simple physical activity can increase immunity.
Helps in losing weight: A 2010 walking and cycling analysis of international data published in the American Journal Of Public Health determined the correlation between obesity and active travel. The study revealed reduction in obesity in youth and improved longevity in those who choose habitual cycling. Some studies also show that combining high-intensity strength training with cycling results in burning more calories and thus losing weight.
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Improves heart health: Irrespective of having a history of heart disease in the family, cycling is good for your heart health. A meta-analysis of a quantitative study in 2019 published in British Journal of Sports medicine, conducted on more than one lakh individuals, states that cycling reduces the risk of cardiovascular conditions by 46 percent. Riding a cycle helps in strengthening muscles and makes the heart pump more blood with minimal exertion. This exercise boosts endurance and makes you healthier in the long term.
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Minimises cancer risk: Another benefit of cycling is that it may help in reducing certain types of cancer like breast cancer. A 2020 study in Frontiers in Nutrition shows evidence of strong immune response in breast cancer by staying physically active.
Good for the environment: According to a research published in 2021 in Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, using cycles instead of cars and other fuel-based vehicles is effective in bringing down the level of carbon emission in the environment by 67 percent.
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Decreases risk of type 2 diabetes: The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age. People over 45 years of age are more prone to risk of diabetes as insulin, the enzyme that converts glucose into energy, decreases. Cycling regularly increases glucose tolerance and lowers the risk of type-2 diabetes by 20 percent, as says a 2016 study published in PLoS Med.
Boosts mood and metabolism: Starting your day with cycling can increase blood circulation, make you feel rejuvenated and positive. As per the 2018 review report mentioned in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science In Sports, fasted cycling helps in increasing metabolism and gives you a sense of contentment.