Many of us learn how to ride a bicycle from a very young age, and it is one of the earliest forms of exercise that we get. Most of the time, it didn’t even feel like exercise at all because we were having so much fun. But as adults, can we get the same benefits from cycling like we did when we were kids?
Getting regular exercise as an adult is a feat in itself. If you are working eight hours a day, have kids and a house to take care of, and barely have time for yourself, it can be a challenge to squeeze physical activity into your schedule. However, it is not impossible! If you’re stumped on deciding what type of exercise will work best for you, this is where cycling comes in. Cycling is a low-impact, enjoyable form of exercise that can be easily incorporated into your everyday life. No matter how busy you are, cycling can slip into your schedule without a hitch.
The Many Benefits of Cycling
What is the advantage of cycling? Here are some of the main ones:
Cycling can save you money
Riding your bike to work, school, and other destinations can help you save a ton of money for gas. Moreover, you can also beat the traffic and save even more money if your regular commute is always traffic-jammed. By riding your bike, you can save as much as $100 to $200 per month, which can be used for more important expenses instead.
Cycling has a ton of health benefits
Aside from saving money, a lot of people ride their bikes because they want to keep themselves healthy. For people of all ages, regular cycling has the following health benefits:
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility
- Stronger bones
- Improved cardiovascular function
- Better joint mobility
- Lower body fat levels
- Decreased stress levels
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Better posture
- Better sleep
- Increased sex drive
- Improved pregnancy
- Improved digestion
- More brainpower
- Lower risk of cancers
- Less risk for diseases
Cycling can help manage weight
Being overweight or obese is a huge risk for developing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, and many more. For people who fall into this category, weight management should be achieved as soon as possible.
Cycling is an enjoyable sport that doesn’t confine a person into a single space, like in a gym. People who want to lose weight sustainably turn to cycle as their main form of exercise, since it’s a non-confined sport and is relatively easier to do than other types of exercise. Individuals who are trying to get fit also find cycling easier to stick to than going to the gym or running.
Cycling can improve your mood
Cycling, along with other forms of exercise, stimulates your body to release the “feel good” hormones that make you feel happy, contented, and relaxed. Cycling, in particular, is an excellent sport to engage in when you are feeling down. Aside from the natural response of your body from the exercise, feeling the wind in your face and being in the outdoors are excellent boosts for your mental health.
Cycling vs. Running: Which is Better?
Is cycling better than running? This question has a highly subjective answer. But let’s dive into their similarities and differences first before making a decision.
Both cycling and running are aerobic exercises, meaning that they use the heart, the blood vessels, and the lungs during the workout. Both forms of exercise are beneficial to the heart and lungs’ health, which is important in preventing cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.
When it comes to calories burned, running generally burns more calories than cycling. Since running uses more muscles in the body, more energy is used to power the cells. Hence, the greater the number of calories burned. However, cycling is easier on the body than running and may be done for a longer period of time. The number of calories you burn will depend on how much time you spend exercising and how intense you carry on the workout.
As for building and toning muscles, cycling is better for building muscles in your lower half while running is better for toning muscles in the whole body. If your goal is to build muscle, you will need to supplement your cycling with weight training. On the other hand, if you want to tone your muscles in both the upper and lower part of your body, you can cycle with more intensity (e.g. biking uphill or with denser pedals).
Lastly, when it comes to safety, cycling is less likely to lead to injury whereas running can put you at risk for twisted ankles and pulled muscles. Again, this depends on the intensity of your workout as well as your current physical condition.
To conclude, cycling is a better sport for people who prefer non-strenuous exercise while running is ideal for people who prefer a more intense workout. Both sports can help you lose weight, build muscle, and improve your overall health. Your choice will rely on how you want to proceed with your exercise: laidback with slower results vs. intense with faster results.
What do you need to cycle?
To become a cyclist, there is some basic cycling equipment that you should have:
Get the right type of bike for your height and frame. Don’t forget to include the bell and reflectors.
Safety first! To ride your bike, you must be equipped with a proper helmet. You can choose among helmet styles for mountain biking, commuting, road riding, and more.
Water bottle and cage
Keep yourself hydrated on the road. Buy a water bottle cage to attach to your bike and a water bottle that fits snugly into it.
Gloves will protect your hands from injury, scratches, and wind chill.
Get the right type of shoes for your trip. You can choose between road riding and mountain biking shoes.
Cycling has a lot of benefits in many aspects, namely, financial, physiological, psychological, and environmental. Don’t want to miss out on these advantages? Get pedaling today!