You already know that cycling is good for you—any workout is better than no workout. But did you know that riding a bike offers a whole host of additional health benefits besides the physical perks? Aside from using your rides to get in the recommended 180 minutes of weekly workout, there are many other health-related benefits of cycling you get by spending time in the saddle.
So if you’re thinking of jumping on the bike-boom bandwagon during this unique time (or already did!), here are 09 advantages of cycling that will make you happier, healthier, and more stoked to keep riding.
1. Gain Brainpower
A review of studies confirmed that workout boosts power and helps to stave off Alzheimer’s in the elderly. And a scientific literature review conducted on the benefits of workout in treating Alzheimer’s concluded the same—that exercise improves cognitive function and helps to slow decline.
But it’s not just seniors that benefit: A study published in Pediatrics showed that kids are even more positively impacted by time on the bike—and that exercise can help control issues like attention deficit disorder.
2. Fast Recovery
A study found that elderly patients with knee pain and osteoarthritis improved their condition when cycling was introduced to their routines, proving that as we get older, taking time to work out—even just spinning a few minutes a day—can be hugely beneficial.
3. Increase Heart Health
Cycling is also great for your heart—although not just because you love riding so much. A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise spent five years looking at the activity of subjects. Those who were active daily basis were 36 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure.
study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that getting in a hard workout can lower high blood pressure as much as prescription meds can. Don’t ditch your meds just yet, but do consider adding more sweaty rides to your training plan with the approval of your doctor.
4. Sexier Vibes
Best news You aren’t the only one who thinks spandex kits are super hot. A survey of 900 men and women commissioned by The British Heart Foundation found that cyclists were perceived as 18 percent more intelligent and cooler than other people, and a whopping 27 percent said a cyclist would be their preferred blind-date athlete.
5. Less Fat
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that weight loss is one of the big advantages of daily cycling, but it bears repeating. Yes, diet is a very important component of weight loss and fat loss, but science shows that exercise is helpful, too.
Studies have shown that older, diabetic women could only drop visceral fat (harmful fat that can increase the risk of a health problem such as heart attack, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes) if workout, along with diet, was introduced into their routine. And a study published in the Journal of Herpetology also found that aerobic workout (like cycling) helped overweight and obese participants drop visceral fat.
6. Lowered Risk of Cancer
Maintaining a healthy weight, regular workout, and a conscientious diet all help lower your risk of cancer. And a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at near men and concluded that those with a higher fitness level as they approached middle age were at a lower risk for lung and colorectal cancer.
It’s no surprise that exercise in general (and cycling in particular) helps improve your self-esteem. The next time you take the perfect mid-ride selfie, score that Strava QOM or KOM you’ve been chasing, or finish a really hard workout, your body will release a whole bunch of feel-great hormones that will make you feel like you can take over the world.
7. Higher Self-Esteem
It’s no surprise that workout in general (and cycling in particular) helps improve your self-esteem. The next day you take the perfect mid-ride selfie, score that Strava QOM or KOM you’ve been chasing, or finish a really hard workout, your body will release a whole bunch of feel-great hormones that will make you feel like you can take over the world.
8. A Longer Life
According to a study, cycling increased the racers’ longevity. On average, the former pros lived to 81.5 years compared to the general population’s.
9. Lowered Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Cycling’s disease-fighting benefits include warding off Parkinson’s Disease (PD). A study found that vigorous exercise can lower the risk of PD in men. (There still needs to be more research done for women.)
10. Slower Aging
Researchers found that high-intensity cycling (and other high-intensity interval training) can have major anti-aging benefits down to the cellular level. The 2017 study found that people who did high-intensity exercises had an increase in mitochondrial capacity. A decline in mitochondria can lead to physical decline, so the better your mitochondria can function, the more rejuvenated.
At last, Everyone knows that exercise can help reduce stress, but a study in The Lancet of over one million (!) participants confirmed that cycling is one of the top stress-busting activities.
Cyclists enjoyed 21.6 percent fewer days of poor mental health compared to those who didn’t ride.
This was only second to team sports (22.3 percent), and above other aerobic and gym activities. Simply making your rides group rides can help you reap the social benefits of a team sport and increase the number of good days you have