These Cycling Benefits Will Have You Looking Forward To Your Next Spin
It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid cycler, enjoy spin classes, use your bike to get around town, or simply hop on a stationary bike for your warm-up and cool down - there are so many reasons to love cycling.
From being low impact and great for any fitness level, to improving your cardiovascular health and overall fitness, the benefits of cycling can have a wheel impact (ha!) on your wellbeing. Ready to get spinning?
It’s perfect for any fitness level
Some training styles require a higher level of fitness, mobility, strength or coordination to get started, but cycling is a great option for most people!
Looking for a challenge? Pedal faster, try interval training with cycling sprints, or add hill climbs to your ride (either with a real hill if you’re outside or by increasing the resistance on a stationary bike). Cycling is a great way to build your fitness from any starting point.
It’s low impact
High-impact training like running and plyometrics (movements which involve jumping) definitely aren’t for everyone. Some people find high-impact training puts too much strain on their joints, and it can also be riskier if you’re coming back from an injury.
With cycling, there’s little to no impact, meaning your joints will be happier and the injury risk is reduced too. Low impact doesn’t mean it can’t be high intensity though! Biking can definitely be a tough, sweaty workout.
It allows you to build your fitness AND care for your health
By stimulating your heart and lungs, going for a spin promotes cardiovascular fitness and stamina and can reduce your risk of disease.
According to 2017 research by the University of Glasgow, published in the British Medical Journal, cycling to work is associated with a 45% lower risk of developing cancer and a 46% lower risk of heart disease when compared with a non-active commute. Overall, they found that commuting by bike was associated with a 41% lower risk of premature death.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association also looked at the effects of cycling to work on cardiovascular health. They studied over 20,000 Swedish men and women over 10 years and their findings suggest biking to work lowers cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, hypertriglyceridemia and impaired glucose tolerance.
Maybe this could be the year you start biking to work!
It increases muscular strength and endurance
If building muscle is your primary goal, you might be better off doing a program involving more strength training, but cycling can definitely help as long as you’re challenging yourself.
To work your muscles more when biking outside, find a hill to climb or ride in a higher gear. For a challenge on a stationary bike, turn up the resistance! You can also stand out of the seat to really feel the burn. Long rides are great for building muscular endurance, while interval training can help to build explosive power. If you’re at a gym and want to REALLY increase the intensity with a full-body blast, ask if they have an assault bike. Sweat Trainer Chontel Duncan loves them!
During any ride, you should feel your lower body engaged as you pedal (such as your calves, glutes, quads and hamstrings), as well as your core for stability, and your upper body if you’re holding onto the handlebars.
It promotes better stress management and mental health
For many years, research has indicated regular exercise can help reduce stress while helping to improve mental health, self-esteem and cognitive function.
Sometimes when we’re feeling stressed or low, exercising is the last thing we feel like doing, but going for a bike ride can be a quick way to get those endorphins pumping and some fresh air in your system!
It might lead to more quality zzz…
According to John Hopkins Medicine, physical activity like cycling can help you fall asleep faster. You might just find the quality of your sleep improves, too! Just be mindful of the fact that exercising close to bedtime can upset sleep patterns for some people, so listen to your body to find what works best for you.
It allows you to spend time in nature
If you can cycle on a road or trail, it’s a great way to get fresh air and spend time in the great outdoors. According to the American Psychological Association, there is mounting evidence that spending time in nature has benefits for both physical and psychological wellbeing. Mountain biking is another fun active hobby if you love rugged terrain or are a bit of a thrill-seeker!
It can save you time, money and the planet
Getting from A to B on your bike is such a great way to reduce your environmental footprint, as bikes don’t release any harmful emissions.
If you choose to travel by bike, you’re most likely going to save yourself some cash that you would have otherwise spent on petrol, public transport, Ubers or car parking - just remember to carry a secure bike lock, use bike racks where possible and you’re away laughing!
Biking can also be a way to make your commute more enjoyable, increase the amount of incidental exercise you do each day, and spend less time sitting in traffic. Win-win!
It encourages friendship and community
Whether you prefer biking outdoors or on a stationary bike, cycling communities are everywhere.
Try joining a local cycling group, or check out if your local gym has any spin classes. The fun you’ll have as part of a group can also work wonders for your mood and mental health, and who knows, you might even find a new workout buddy.
It can allow you to discover new places
Getting a bit tired of your same running and walking routes? Hop on a bike! Cycling allows you to go further, faster, making it a great way to explore more of your neighbourhood and experience a change of scenery without needing to exercise for longer periods. It’s also a fun way to explore a new city when you’re on holiday!
Ready to ride outdoors? Tips for safety and comfort
- If you’re cycling outside, it’s safest to stick to designated cycle lanes and paths.
- Before you go, make sure both tyres are pumped up and your brakes work.
- Use front and rear lights if you plan on cycling when it’s dark (some high vis gear is a great option for safety, too).
- Always wear a helmet that fits your head properly and is secured underneath your chin.
- Make sure the seat is at the right height for you (your legs should only have a slight bend when at the full extension of the pedal rotation).
- You can also buy a seat with extra padding if it’s uncomfortable on your glutes, padded cycling tights are great for long rides, and cycling gloves can protect your hands.
- Always check around you before making any turns, and it’s best to indicate by pointing with your hand.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.