The Health Benefits of Cycling
How Does Cycling Affect your Body, Mind and Soul
You need to be more physically active if you want to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in regular physical activity protects you from serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mental illness.
Cycling is a great way to achieve your fitness goal. It is a low-impact exercise that can be done by people of all ages. Aside from protecting you from serious diseases, it also has other positive impacts on your wellbeing that will make you appreciate its value even more.
Cycling improves bowel movement.
Medical experts from Bristol University share that the health benefits of cycling go deep into your core. Dr Ana Raimundo, a gastroenterologist, explains that physical activity assists in decreasing the time food would need to go through the large intestine. It limits the volume of water absorbed by your body, resulting in softer stools that are easier to pass.
Besides, aerobic exercise, such as cycling, increases your heart rate and breathing. It helps in stimulating the contraction of the muscles in the intestine. It also prevents you from feeling bloated, thereby protecting you from bowel cancer.
Cycling increases your brain power.
Researchers at the University of Illinois reported a 5% improvement in cardio-respiratory health due to cycling. It resulted in a 15% improvement in mental tests. Cycling helps in building new brain cells in the hippocampus. This region is responsible for the storage of memory, which starts to deteriorate at the age of 30.
The author of the study, Professor Arthur Kramer further explains that cycling increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It powers up and regenerates receptors – a process that helps protect you against Alzheimer’s disease.
Cycling enables you to sleep better.
Although it is quite obvious that tiring yourself out by cycling improves your sleep, there is already research done to support this. The University of Georgia did a study on men and women with ages 20 to 85 years old for 35 years. They discovered that a decrease in fitness of 2% in men and 4% in women actually led to sleep problems.
One of the lead authors, Dr Rodney Dishman, commented that the most drastic decrease in cardiorespiratory health occurs between 40 to 60 years old. It is also the period when problems on sleep quality and duration increase.
Scientists suggest that reduced anxiety brought about by cycling contributes to better sleep. Exercising also protects us against the detrimental effects of weight gain due to age – another cause of sleep problems.
Cycling strengthens your immune system.
Scientists from the Appalachian State University conducted research involving 1000 adults aged 85 years old and below. They discovered that exercise has a positive impact on the upper respiratory system. It reduces the incidence of the common cold.
One of the scientists, Dr David Nieman, commented: “People can reduce their sick days by around 40% using aerobic exercise if performed regularly. At the same time, they will receive many other health benefits related to exercise.”
Professor Tim Noakes, an expert in exercise and sports science from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, also says that mild exercise improves the immune system. It’s due to the increase in the production of essential proteins and firing up the lazy white blood cells.
However, some evidence suggests that the immune system is lowered right after doing intense exercise. It can be reversed by making sure to have an adequate sleep and food intake.
Cycling helps you control your weight.
Do you have stubborn fats that you could not seem to get rid of? Cycling is an effective way to maintain or reduce weight. It increases your metabolic rate, burns body fat and builds your muscle.
If you want to lose weight, you need to combine cycling with a healthy nutrition plan. Cycling is a flexible type of exercise wherein you can tweak the timing and intensity. You can build it up slowly based on your capacity and needs.
Research suggests that you need to burn a minimum of 8,400 kilojoules or 2000 calories each week with exercise. Steady cycling can burn around 1200 kilojoules or 300 calories per hour.
If you cycle twice a day, the calories burnt add up. According to British research, doing 30-minute bike rides every day will help you burn around 5 kilograms of fat in a year.
Cycling improves your posture, balance and coordination.
You need to stabilise your body to keep your bike upright during cycling. By doing this regularly, you will soon improve your coordination, posture and overall balance. These three tend to decline as you age and decrease your activities. Having a good balance is needed to prevent falls and fractures. It is vital to stay on top of it.
Experience the health benefits of cycling with high-quality bikes from Stead Cycles
People always say that you will never forget how to ride a bike. Perhaps it is already time to hop on a two or three-wheeler to experience the health benefits of cycling! According to a physical therapist, it is fun, socially-oriented, and an effective way to get you outside to exercise.