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Health Benefits of Cycling

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Riding bikes has always been a favourite pastime for many, but more so in the past 12 months. Since the pandemic, searches for “bikes for sale” on Google has risen up to 50%. That means there are more bikes flying off the shelves and onto the road. But why do people ride bikes? Or better yet, why should you take up cycling? There are many reasons why bike riding could be beneficial and we’re here to tell you why.

 

Bike riding comes with many health benefits

Riding a bike is a form of low impact exercise making it a physical activity many can part take in. It causes less strain and injuries when compared to other physical activities.
It is also a form of exercise that doesn’t require much skill. Most people learn to ride a bike as kids and this skill is generally stored as muscle memory, meaning the coordination and skills needed to ride a bike are almost never forgotten. You’ll just need a few rides before you’re riding like a pro again.

The main health benefit that cyclists achieve is increased cardiovascular fitness as consistent bike riding can increase your stamina and aerobic fitness.

 

Riding your bike can help prevent many serious health issues

Preventing cardiovascular-related diseases

Because bike riding greatly improves your cardiovascular fitness, riding your bike can help with diseases such as strokes, high blood pressure and heart attacks. Healthy cardiovascular means you have good heart and lung circulation and more blood is pumped with each heartbeat.

Bike riding burns calories

Riding your bike is a great way to burn some unwanted calories, however, the amount you burn depends on the intensity of your bike ride, weight, gender and a whole host of other variables.

But to give you an idea, let’s take a person who is 90kg, and

  • cycling at a moderate speed (21km/h). They can burn up to 600kcal/hour.
  • If they increase their intensity (29km/h), they can burn up to 1080kcal/ hour.

There can be some good tools online to help you count how many calories you burn during a bike ride like this one. But always remember these are only estimates, and results can fluctuate up to 20%.

Cycling helps improve mental health

Regular bike riding has been proven to improve one’s mental health, including

  • Reduced Stress
  • Better Sleep
  • Increased Productivity
  • Reduces Anxiety
  • Helps Fight Depression

Read more about how cycling can help with mental health here.

 

What muscles does biking work out

Several muscle groups are worked out during a bike ride with the main groups located in the lower part of your body. Your legs do the most work as they pedal so it is a great lower body workout.

Lower body muscle groups that are targeted are

  • Calf - Soleus, and Gastrocnemius
  • Thigh - Hamstrings and Quadriceps
  • Buttocks - Gluteus Maximum, Medius, and Minimus
  • Feet - Plantar flexors, and Dorsiflexors

Other muscle groups that are sometimes forgotten are your arms and shoulders.

  • Arms - Biceps, and Triceps
  • Shoulders - Deltoids.

 

Bike exercises and workouts

Get creative with how you choose to work out while you cycle. Bike workouts you can incorporate

  • Incrementally increase the distance you cycle
  • Start Mountain Biking
  • Use your bike as a regular mode of transport

Incrementally increasing the distance you cycle

In your first week, start at a comfortable distance. For example, you can set your distance to 3km. Ride this distance regularly for a week or two, and start increasing your distance by 1km.
If you started at 3km and increased your distance every 2 weeks, you would have been riding able to increase your ride to 29km! Applying this method type of exercise greatly improves your stamina and aerobic capacity.

Start mountain biking

Mountain biking or off-road biking can be a little more complicated than your normal long-distance bike ride. You’ll be riding on off-road terrain where the surface is uneven, meaning you will be activating your core muscles to stabilise yourself during a ride. Mountain biking is a great whole-body workout as opposed to your normal endurance bike ride, which mostly targets the lower body.

Using your bike as a mode of transport

This kills a few birds with one stone. Swapping out your car, taxi, or bus for a bike is a great way to seamlessly add a bike workout to your schedule. Make a rule that if the destination you need to go to is less than 10km, use your bike. Not only will you be getting fitter, but you’ll also be saving your wallet by saving money on fuel or fare rides.

Get out there and start cycling

We hope we’ve made a convincing case as to why you should make bike riding a normal part of your lifestyle. What’s great about cycling is, it’s an activity you don’t have to do alone. Get together with friends or get your family involved. Vuly even have a range of kids bikes so the little ones can start having a healthier and happier lifestyle!

 

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