Just because you’ve got your driver’s license doesn’t mean that you should forget about biking. Sure, there are scenarios where having a car does come in handy, but for everything else, cycling is the way to go.
Whether you’re looking to include some physical activity into your daily life, or want to do something good for the environment, this article will give you plenty of reasons why hopping on your bike could be the best thing you did in a while!
Health Benefits Of Biking: 5 Ways It Boosts Your Health
Your health comes first, which is why I wanted to start this article with a round-up of some of the most important health benefits you’ll experience as soon as you get in the habit of cycling instead of driving!
1. Cycling exercises the most important muscle – your heart
Sure, your thigh muscles and your glutes might be the first ones to come to mind. But, when you think about getting a good workout, here’s the thing:
By getting your heart rate up cycling strengthens your heart muscles. It also reduces your risk of developing several cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack.
Moreover, compared to those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, those who participate in physical activities such as biking can experience an overall improvement in cardiovascular function, too.
And while I don’t recommend ditching your blood pressure meds just yet, there’s a reason to believe that including cycling into your daily routine might have a positive impact on your blood pressure. It can almost be as effective as prescription medication. If you’re a poor Paintballer like me, you may notice your bruises healing faster too!
In short, if you want to do something beneficial for your heart, ride your bike!
2. Your Risk Of Getting Cancer May Drop – Significantly
Besides the evident impact it has on your cardiovascular health, cycling also lowers your risk of cancer. Now, I know that might seem too good to be true. But the link between moderate levels of physical activity and cancer has been the subject of several studies, and so far, the results seem promising:
- Incorporating physical activity, such as opting for riding a bike as a means of commuting, into a sedentary lifestyle, can reduce your risk of cancer significantly.
- Moreover, according to a study that involved nearly 14,000 men, maintaining a higher level of physical activity as you approach middle age could potentially lower your risk of colorectal, prostate, as well as lung cancer. Furthermore, it can improve the survival rates of patients following a cancer diagnosis.
3. And The Same Goes For Your Risk Of Getting Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has become a serious public health concern. Given that the two primary factors that help lower the risk of developing this condition are as simple as maintaining a “normal” weight and eating a healthy diet, seeing the rates continue to rise is quite shocking.
Considering the high number of diabetes-related complications, I don’t have to tell you how vital it is to keep this condition under control.
And, as a recent study suggests, cycling might be the way to lower glucose levels. The study examined the link between commuting and recreational cycling habits and their risk of type 2 diabetes. They found a link does exist – the more time you spend cycling, the lower your risk of developing this disease.
4. You’ll Lose Weight – Without Even Trying
While the exact number might be hard to pinpoint, as it depends on a lot of factors, including your weight, speed, and resistance, to name a few, one thing’s certain:
Cycling burns a lot of calories!
Now, when I say „a lot,“ I mean something along the lines of 240 to 355 calories per half an hour of moderate-speed biking.
I’m stating the obvious here, but riding a bike involves a lot of pedaling. The repetitive motion causes large muscles in the lower body to contract and expand continuously. It makes it a perfect example of isotonic exercise.
Moreover, even though it seems like your lower body is doing all the work, your core, as well as your arms are engaged, too. This is especially true for all the adrenaline junkies who do trail-biking, but if you venture off the beaten road, get a mountain bike.
5. Your Immune System Might Experience A Boost, Too
Last, but not least, there’s a reason to believe that all these health-promoting effects that cycling has on your body – such as preserving muscle mass, maintaining a healthy weight, and stable cholesterol levels – might have an „anti-aging“ effect on your immune system, too.
As we age, our thymus gland begins to shrink, which affects its capability to produce new T-cells, and, as a result, we become more susceptible to all sorts of new threats, including infections and immune disorders. By the time we reach the age of 65, we’re left pretty vulnerable.
That’s where cycling comes in:
New research shows that the thymuses of “senior” cyclists maintained their functionality, producing as many T-cells as the glands of much younger individuals. In short, thanks to cycling, these seniors had immune systems that could rival those of healthy 20-year-olds!
More Reasons Why Cycling Is Way Better Than Driving
Now, besides the apparent health benefits of biking, there are a few more reasons why choosing your bike over a car might be the best commuting-related decision you’ve made in a long time.
So, if improving your overall health isn’t a reason enough for you, let’s take a look at how biking can affect other aspects of your life, as well!
- Cycling can make you a better lover, because, as it turns out, being physically active can be almost as good of a cure for erectile dysfunction as Viagra. Plus, you’re going to feel much better about yourself, which will ultimately boost your self-esteem, too!
- It’s cheaper than driving a car, as any car owner out there can tell you. The costs keep piling up – maintenance, gas, insurance, registration, it all eats away at your budget. So, when you ditch that vehicle in favor of a bicycle, you’re doing your wallet a huge favor, too!
- You’ll be doing something highly beneficial for the environment, and at this day and age, we should all be looking into ways to “go green.“ Opting for a pollution-free means of transportation could be a simple, yet effective way for you to make a positive environmental impact!
That said, if you’re seriously thinking of retiring your car for good, you might want to look into electric bikes – because we all have days when we don’t feel like pedaling.
Pedaling Is The Way To Go
Before you ride off into the sunset, here’s what I’d like you to remember:
There is such thing as “too much of a good thing.”
Related Content: The Health Benefits of Birding
It’s better to start small and give your body some time to adjust, especially if you haven’t been the most physically active person in the past. And don’t worry; you won’t miss out on any of the health benefits of biking if you choose to take it slow.
Oh, and one last thing:
Don’t let me catch you riding around without a helmet!
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Ruaan Nel is an electrical engineer living in Olso, Norway. He is the owner of FitnessPurity.com and is addicted to powerlifting (although not very good at it). He spends most of his time (and money) obsessing about exercise equipment, workout routines and staying fit.