Cycling：The Most Beneficial Form Of Exercise
While riding a bike as a child is an ever-so-common recreational activity, who would have thought that years later it’d be recommended as one of, if not the most beneficial form of exercise for one’s health and well-being.
Similarly, though many globally use bicycles as a means of primary transportation, it just so happens that it’s much more than simply getting from point A to point B. In fact, forget point B… Cycling just might be the mechanism that gets you furthest in the healthspan and longevity game that we call life!
With that said, in what follows, we’ll be diving into the research behind why cycling might just be the most beneficial form of exercise for your health, both physical and mental, and why it should most certainly be implemented as part of your daily fitness regimen.
The good news?
There don’t seem to be any clearly outlined parameters as to how you should implement a cycling regimen; simply pick up a bike,Grab your helmet, hope on the seat, and start peddling! The rest will work itself out on its own…
Cycling and Its Popularity
Cycling is one of the few activities that have seen an uptick in adoption over recent years, and for good reason. Not only because of the onset of the Pandemic which proceeded to shut down gyms and forcibly encourage outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, and biking, cycling has gained noticeable popularity, particularly among adults.
So much so, in fact, that the bicycle manufacturing supply chain has struggled to keep up with its demand.
If fact, in the United States alone, there are an estimated 47.5 million individuals who ride their bikes on a frequent basis, whether for transportation, leisure, fitness, or otherwise.
In a world where nearly a third of the population is medically defined as overweight or obese, this is more than an encouraging statistic; it might just be a sign that we’re finally becoming a more active and health-conscious population!
The Many Benefits of Cycling
The benefits of cycling are plenty and they don’t stop at just the physical… Instead, they persist to benefit greatly a rider’s mental health and cognition as well.
Further, withstanding the many health benefits, cycling has also proven to be extremely beneficial for the environment and even for those who happen to live in tough socioeconomic situations.
With that said, the following will be a breakdown of cycling benefits, from its positive impacts on physical health and mental health to its wide array of positive carry-over to the environment.
Cycling and Physical Health
Whether it’s to increase strength, improve cardiovascular health, or boost your overall fitness capacity, cycling is an incredible exercise modality for doing just that! Similarly, whether your goal is to build muscle, lose weight, or simply maintain good health, cycling is a great implement to do so…
Finally, withstanding the external physical benefits, cycling has also been shown to improve several internal systems including bowel function, immunity, libido, and heart health.
All without placing strain on the joints, ligaments, and tendons of the body! With that said, below is a summary of the many physical health benefits to be expected from cycling on a frequent basis:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Increased muscular strength
- Improved mobility, balance, and coordination
- Improved posture
- Decreased body fat
- Reduced risk of disease
Cycling and Mental Health
Like any type of exercise or physical activity, cycling doesn’t only get your legs pedalling but has been shown to get your brain pedalling (no pun intended) as well! In fact, it’s been shown through research to both increase blood flow and oxygen uptake to the brain, stimulate the growth of new brain cells and even regenerate damaged cells, ultimately improving cognition and well-being.
All of these brain benefits from cycling ultimately result in improved memory, heightened focus, less mental stress, and most importantly, improved mental health status.
With that said, below is a summary of the many mental health benefits to be expected from cycling on a frequent basis:
- Improved mood
- Improved sleep
- Improved memory
- Creative thinking
- Improved social life
- Boosted confidence
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased focus
Cycling and the Environment
Before diving deep into the research regarding carbon emissions and the environment, let’s examine quickly the basics of why cycling, in particular, is incredibly beneficial, both socially, economically, and of course, for the environment.
For starters, vehicles take up a TON of room! Second, they’re undeniably loud compared to electric or non-motorized transportation methods. Lastly, they’re infamous for emitting harmful emissions…
So, how do we combat this?! By riding bicycles, of course; it’s truly that easy! By encouraging more people to ride bicycles, we simultaneously encourage the reduction of vehicular congestion, noise pollution, and the emittance of harmful carbon emissions.
Not to mention, it also encourages the reduction of gas expenditures and the improvement of one’s overall lifestyle, both socially and otherwise…
With that said, below is a summary of the many benefits to be expected from cycling on a frequent basis:
- Reduced air pollution
- Fewer gas emissions
- Less noise
- Improved biodiversity
- Nature preservation
- Less vehicular congestion
To say that the benefits of cycling far outweigh its risks is a complete and utter understatement of the true value of this physical activity. Sure, riding a bike on a daily basis does increase an individual’s risk for injury, but so does driving a 2-ton vehicle!
A Final Word
From the physical and mental health benefits to the socio-economic and environmental benefits, there’s no question about the importance of cycling as a primary modality for improving ourselves and the world around us.
The best part? Scientists have suggested that a mere 30-60 minutes daily of steady-state cycling will do the trick!
Just remember, although its pros far outweigh its cons with respect to cycling fatalities when riding on the road, it remains vitally important to practice extreme caution when cycling, choosing to play it safe on the busiest of roads…
Otherwise, the open road is yours to enjoy… Have fun!