There are many reasons why you might want to take up cycling, such as to help support the environment, health reasons, or to try a new activity. Whatever your reasons are, choosing to begin cycling is one of the best decisions you can make in life for your health and wellbeing. Biking offers a low-impact aerobic exercise and is suitable for all levels of fitness and skills as it varies in intensity. Whether you’re cycling as a mode of transport, competitively, or for casual recreational fun, biking is an excellent workout that keeps you active and helps you shape a healthier lifestyle physically and mentally.
When you’re thinking about taking up cycling, it’s essential to cover your safety first. If you have any health issues such as heart disease, thinning bones, or arthritis, check in with your doctor before you climb aboard to ensure biking is safe for you to do. Don’t ride a bike if you’ve had a recent fracture without the OK from your doctor, as a fall could exasperate the injury. Cyclingand health insurance go hand in hand whether you’re doing it for fun, commuting, or if you’re looking to compete, and companies like Velosurance can offer you tailored insurance to covers how you use your bike.
Before heading out on your first ride, don’t forget to wear the proper protective gear such as a helmet, pads, and reflective clothing. Stay hydrated during your ride, and if it’s sunny, make sure to use plenty of sunscreen.
Cycling is a great workout, especially for your legs, where you will see the highest impact on your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. You can build muscle slowly at low resistance, or if you want to maximize on gaining muscle, you can build it faster by riding in higher gears, uphill, or by including sprint intervals.
Many people find cycling more fun than lifting weights at home or in the gym, but the best way to build strength while riding is to grind at the highest gear. When doing this, it’s vital to count your pedal strokes per minute because if you drop below 60 pedal strokes, you could damage your knees, and it’s best to use a lower gear if you cannot keep a consistent level of pedaling.
Cut Down Fat
One of the most effective ways to lose body fat is through low intensity, aerobic and consistent exercise. An hour a day riding your bike is more than enough to begin losing fat, but if you want to maximize on your fat loss journey, then start your training hours after a short fasting session. A few hours is fine, or ride before the first meal of the day, but be careful not to overeat once you finish.
Improve Mental Wellbeing
You may have heard of the runners high many athletes talk about after a race when they found themselves in a zen mental state for hours following the run. This stress-free feeling can also be achieved from cycling as it forces you to regulate your breathing and focus on the exercises rather than any stress you may have in other parts of your life. As you cycle more regularly, you will find that your stress levels reduce and that causes of stress in your life no longer have the same impact on your mental health. Cycling for 30 minutes a day can drastically boost your overall mood, and one study found that regular exercise can reduce the risk of falling into depression.
Cycling can prove a much-needed mental break from the aspects of your life of work that are causing your anxiety and has been shown to reduce stress by up to 40%, which is why it is an exercise of choice for many already suffering from anxiety.
Lower fitness levels have been found to affect the quality of sleep you have and have been known to correlate with insomnia. Staying in shape is essential to ensure you can have the best night’s sleep possible. Cycling is one of the best ways to reap the benefits of exercise improved sleep as it also reduces anxiety while keeping your weight down, both of which can contribute to insomnia. Regular cycling can also help with fatigue and mental exhaustion, as well as improving your sleep. Many people who exercise for 20 minutes a day at a low intensity have found that they suffer from feeling fatigued less often than before they began exercising.
Biking also improves cognitive ability as it improves the blood flow to your body and brain. As a result of riding regularly, you can increase the blood flow to your brain, which will help to replenish the neurons that are involved in memory and thought processing. This improved brain function will not only improve your mental wellbeing, but it can also help your performance at work leading to a less stressful life.