The health benefits of cycling are pretty rewarding, but if you’re thinking of taking up this sport, your health will not be the only thing benefitting.
Cycling has been proven to help the environment and the economy as well, and this is a major reason why it has been embraced by many large countries and cities.
Whether doing utility cycling or getting up early to hit the road, you can be sure that your decision to go cycling is helping both you and the planet in more ways than one. Here are several benefits of cycling that’ll make you happier to hit the open road every day.
Types of Cycling
In this type of cycling, persons use the bicycle to commute daily from place to place, and also to transport goods or in any commercial activity. These include delivering mail via postman, delivering food or just dropping off packages from place to place as a courier. This type of cycling is also used by policemen worldwide to get into hard to reach corners and places otherwise inaccessible by cars.
These involve competitive races by professional cyclists in large and well-known events, and also in more local events. These include competitions such as the Olympics and the Tour de France and have significantly risen to popularity as a very popular sport to get into.
These include 3 major types, namely cyclotourism or bicycle touring, mountain bike riding and organized riding, among other lesser known forms.
1) Bicycle touring speaks to an exploration of landmarks and many different areas that are normally off the beaten path. Persons normally use this method to go on hikes or take a ride to beaches and rivers that are either lesser known or completely unknown. This is a very great leisure activity for many and is normally used quite often.
2) Mountain biking – This has come a far way from its origins in the 1970s and has now become an established sport, practiced in many different countries.
3) Organized cycling – For many who are a part of local cycle clubs, these clubs host local cycling events to help attract members.
Benefits of Cycling
There is no question about the countless health benefits that cycling has. It is a perfect sport for those who live a sedentary lifestyle and want to jump back into exercising without doing strenuous physical activity.
Simply changing your method of getting to work by cycling instead of driving or getting the train, could significantly reduce your chances of obtaining any debilitating or life-threatening illnesses.
Here are the top 5 health benefits of cycling.
1. Increases lifespan:
A new study conducted by the University of Glasgow has proved that cycling to work reduces the likelihood of death by a shocking 40%, in both men and women. The benefits of cycling, even for such a small amount of time for the day, was proven to increase the lifespan, and persons undergoing this test lived longer than those who walked or drove.
2. Prevents Cancer:
Physical activity, in general, has been known to reduce the risk of many serious health conditions, but cycling has significantly been linked to reducing the ability to develop cancer by 45%. Because it uses most of the muscles and parts of the body, cycling is almost the “one size fits all” workout, and maybe the most effective one yet.
3. Helps patients with Parkinson’s disease:
Roughly 7 – 10 million people around the world suffer from Parkinson’s disease. This is a condition in which nerve cells in the brain are affected resulting in slow, imprecise movement and excessive shaking and tremors.
Cycling reduces the effects of Parkinson’s by providing the body with more physical activity, resulting in an increase in oxygen molecules in the nervous system.
The conclusion resulted in cycling (whether stationary or on the road) being used as a “low-cost therapy” for many with Parkinson’s disease.
4. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases:
Using cycling as a means of exercising can help to significantly lower your risk of heart disease and increase cardiovascular fitness.
More intense bikers such as professional cyclists, however, can be at an increased risk for some types of heart disease if they push their bodies too far, so ensure you get your daily exercise but if you’re not training to be a pro, take it easy on the bike.
5. Reduces stress & mental health issues:
Conditions such as depression and anxiety are significantly reduced through cycling, and reports have shown that stress levels have also decreased. Cycling reduces the level of the stress hormones released, and instead produce endorphins which help to keep you happy and mindful.
6. Helps with Insomnia and Sleeplessness:
Cycling outside, in particular, helps to expose you to natural sunlight, which decreases the symptoms of insomnia and sleeplessness.
Exercising outside helps to get rid of the stress hormone cortisol which prevents sleep, therefore increasing your ability to fall asleep quicker and reduce the symptoms of insomnia.
7. Boosts sex drive & decreases impotence:
Male cyclists tend to increase their stamina because of the increased physical activity caused by cycling. Females, on the other hand, are known to reduce menopausal symptoms, and may also push it back to a couple years before the official process begins. The risk of impotence in men age 50 and over is also reported to have significantly reduced after taking up cycling as a sport.
8. Arthritis Relief:
Both road cycling and stationary cycling have been noted as an effective therapy for persons with arthritis and joint pains, helping to both tones and strengthen the muscles in the affected joints. Cycling is also a good way to prevent arthritis in the first place.
9. Weight Loss:
Cycling is not only an effective weight loss remedy but also an effective and enjoyable way to keep the fat off. Cycling raises your metabolic rate naturally and keeps it raised for hours after your ride, allowing your body to burn more calories than you normally would have naturally.
10. It will make you happy:
Exercising in general releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy, it is that simple. Add those endorphins to getting fresh air and sunlight every day, and your moods are sure to be lifted in little to no time. While stationary bikes are just as good, you will not reap the physical benefits of heading outside and being engulfed by the natural air.
One of the most overlooked benefits of cycling is its positive environmental effects, and how it helps in keeping the earth a little more healthy than other modes of transport.
Instead of using a car to get to work, cycling is the healthier alternative because it keeps you in shape and benefits the earth all at the same time. Biking to work gets rid of the CO2 and carbon emissions that would otherwise come from cars, which reduces the number of greenhouse gases being released into the air.
When you take into consideration the manufacturing process that cars go through, not to mention all the added pollutants needed to make it function effectively, riding a bike to work may be more beneficial than you think.
Car manufacturers use foam and plastic to make their seats and other parts of the vehicle, not to mention the rubber in the tires that get worn out consistently.
Add to that the painting and coating of cars that also released emissions of gases into the air, and you’re headed down a downward spiral of pollution.
Cycling reduces the emission of all of these gases, as there is no need for fuel and excessive chemical spraying and coating. This makes for a more sustainable and efficient means of transportation.
Cycling also benefits the environment by helping to reduce global issues such as deforestation. The place of 2 cars can hold about 20 cycles, giving us way more space than we’d like to admit.
This provides a domino effect; more space means that a lot less land could be used, resulting in more forests and wastelands.
These, in turn, help to protect us against natural disasters, and help to keep the earth healthier and by extension produce healthier environments for us to live in.
Cycling also reduces car traffic on the roads, resulting in an overall less time spent to get to work or other places, which also helps to reduce the number of greenhouse gases being released into the air on a daily basis.
On a whole, the environment benefits significantly from those who decide to stop driving to their destinations and begin to cycle instead, and although only a small portion of most major cities and countries use the bicycle as a way to get around, they still prove effective in helping to strengthen the earth.
It’s as simple as it sounds, cycling is very much cheaper than driving or commuting by any other means of transportation (except walking).
The basic human needs are food, transportation, and clothing, we’ve been taught that since we were three, so why haven’t we attempted to find ways to ease the economic burden that comes with transportation?
Statistics have proven that cycling is the 2nd most economically viable ways to get around, and can cut your transportation expenses by half if you take the train, or by at least 3 times if you drive a private vehicle in the UK. Similarly, in Australia transport comes second only to food as the largest expense incurred in the family, and cycling has significantly reduced this expense.
There are also studies showing that an increase in cycling and cycling related infrastructures and activities boost economic growth and job creation significantly.
Investing in the cycling sector also helps to boost tourism and increase job creation, resulting in more viable employed persons, a healthier environment, and increased visitors, all of which are sure to benefit the economy.
An increase in cycling may seem like a small lifestyle change to you, but it can be a start to building a happier and more economically viable town, city or country.
Another major but often overlooked benefit of cycling is that it makes properties more expensive. Houses with more developed infrastructure and communities, with bike lanes and walkable areas, are more expensive than those homes without these infrastructures.
Words like “bike premium” are sure to boost sales in property and increase the likelihood of your property being sold.
Bikes cost less in general than cars, resulting in a decrease in transportation costs both individually and for governmental organizations.
Cycling, in general, is also more safe for transportation and results in fewer accidents due to additional road spaces for cases of emergency and medical reasons.
There is also more safety due to a reduced need to change lanes or “overtake”, and extra distances.
Bikes also help to improve the transport sector in most countries because it does less damage to roads and infrastructure, resulting in less money spent on roads which can then be poured into other sectors.
Your decision to go from driving to cycling, and impact other persons to do so as well can change the direction of your life and even your children’s lives, by providing more resources for your family and by extension the rest of your community. It may seem like a small change to make but the implications are more impactful than you might think.
Now after all these benefits, I know you might be excited to jump on the saddle and get pedaling, but remember to take adequate safety measures to ensure that your time on the road is just as enjoyable as you imagined it to be.
Remember that a helmet is always the best and most important cycling clothing that’s needed, and ensure to check cycling laws specific to your country to make sure you’ve taken all the right precautions.
If you’re riding at night, remember to attach both frontal and rear lights to make sure that you can see clearly.
Lastly, make sure your bike is in the right shape to take you on your cycling adventure. Cycling is a great sport to indulge in, and with all these benefits, I can bet you can’t wait to get in the saddle.