Cycling And How It Is Good For Physical & Mental Health.
Both physical, as well as mental health, is essential to remain fit, healthy and happy. Regular physical activities are key factors in preventing the occurrence of serious illnesses. Cycling is one of the best methods to avoid health issues related to a sedentary lifestyle.
Cycling is a low impact workout that is suitable for people of all age groups. Be it, young kids, teenagers or adults, cycling is a fun and relaxing exercise for all.
Guess what! You can combine workouts with your daily routine by riding a bicycle or a tricycle all the way to work or to the shop. It is also one of the most time-saving exercises you can come up with. It must be noted that around 1 billion people in the world use bicycles daily for recreation, commutation, and sports.
This aerobic activity is the best workout for your heart, lungs, brain, and blood vessels. It’s also an effective way to curb stress levels and keep your mind and body healthy.
Let’s have a look at some of the physical and mental health benefits that cycling has to offer.
Physical Health Benefits
Studies have proved that cycling can reduce the chances of most health issues. Some of the common ones are:
– Heart Diseases:
Cardiovascular illnesses usually include heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. Cycling daily stimulates and enhances your blood circulation and the health of your lungs and heart, which, in turn, reduces the risk of heart problems.
– Heart Health:
Cycling decreases fat levels in the blood and strengthens the muscles of your heart. It also lowers the resting pulse rate. Studies show that people who cycle often have 2-3 times lesser pollution exposure than car commuters and improves their lung functioning. Danish research conducted on 30,000 people of ages 20-93 years around 14 years back gave excellent results. The study found that cycling regularly prevents cardiovascular diseases.
– Weight Control and Obesity:
Cycling is the best option to reduce or control your weight – As it increases your body’s metabolic rate, burns the body fat, and helps build muscles. For weight loss, you have to combine this exercise with a healthy diet plan. It is a comfortable and convenient workout routine as you have the freedom to alter the intensity and time. You can start slowly and vary to suit your requirements.
Constant cycling can burn 1200 kJ (300 cal) in an hour. British studies show that regular half an hour bike ride burns around 5 kg fat.
Researchers have found a relationship between cycling and cancer, mainly breast and colon cancer. Studies show that cycling daily reduces the chance of these cancers.
– Arthritis and Bone Injuries:
Cycling helps in boosting balance, coordination, and strength. It also prevents the occurrence of fractures and falls. Bicycle riding is the perfect exercise for those suffering from osteoarthritis, as the low impact activity has very little stress on your joints. However, this workout is not suitable for those with osteoporosis. As it isn’t a weight-bearing activity.
The number of type 2 diabetic patients are increasing at an alarming rate. This happens to be a severe health issue faced by the public in general. Lack of physical exercise is one of the main reasons why people suffer this issue.
Finnish researchers conducted a large-scale study and produced exciting results. They found that those who cycled for half an hour daily had a 40% lesser chance of getting diabetes.
Mental Health Benefits
Bike riding is commonly known for creating a sense of happiness, enjoyment, and stress relief: which, in turn, helps in curbing mental issues like anxiety, depression, and stress. Here are some of the benefits linked with this workout.
· Decreases The Chance Of Depression:
The absolute bliss and enjoyment you attain from riding a bicycle are sufficient to relax your mind. This state of pure joy decreases the risk of moodiness and depression.
· Relieves Stress Levels:
Let’s be honest! Life is quite demanding most of the time. When faced with the hustle and bustle of a busy lifestyle, riding on a bicycle relieves most of the stress. As mentioned earlier, this type of exercise has excellent effects on curbing heart problems. This links to the fact that anxiety and stress levels can be further reduced by cycling daily. It also benefits the overall state of mind of the rider.
· Gives A Good Sleep:
By riding daily, the riders can sync their circadian rhythm well. Along with that, cycling is well known to decrease the number of cortisol levels in the body. Cortisols are the stress hormones that block or hinder regenerative and deep sleep. It also has a positive effect on the brain hormone known as serotonin. It can enhance your sleep cycles.
· Gives A Good Feeling:
Individuals who prefer cycling over driving cars to attain a sense of pride in themselves. This is since they are saving the environment from pollution. Decreasing the carbon footprint and the level of pollutants offers a feeling of achievement. That you’re helping Mother Nature!
Cyclists often experience a “cycling high” feeling. They say that the happiness hormones, endorphins that they receive through cycling make them feel elated.
· Improves Productivity:
Recent researches have found that employees who ride bicycles to come to work are more productive. Moreover, a quick bike ride at noon can enhance your level of energy. Besides, it also helps you to stay productive and alert till evening.
· Boosts Memory Power:
As you grow older, it is not easy to maintain a sharp and good memory. Riding a bicycle promotes the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus area of the brain: which is the central region of the brain that is responsible for memory power.
· Promotes Creative Thinking Skills:
For various reasons, cycling is best known as a great sport. It not only benefits your health-wise but also enhances your happiness levels.
Have you ever seen musicians and artists going on a bike ride when they suffer a creative block? Well, a trip in the open fresh air sharpens your creativity and problem-solving skills. Avid bicycle riders are usually noted for having an addiction to riding. This positive and healthy addiction is the best way to refocus your mental energy into positive areas.
Share your experiences
Have you ever tried cycling and experienced any of the above benefits? If so, please share your experiences of cycling and how it is good for physical & mental health in the comments section below.