What’s all the hype about biking in the health and fitness industry? Well, biking is more than just a sport. In fact, it has numerous health benefits to offer. From calorie burning, cardiovascular fitness, to increased muscle tone, there are more than enough reasons to take a spin on your new bike. Below we look at the top 5 health benefits of biking.
Calorie burning is the perfect answer to good weight management. Biking is one of the best forms of exercise to work off the calories and lose weight. It makes you shed off the pounds in a way that’s efficient and easy on your body. In fact, the effects of cycling is similar to jogging, especially when done for extended period of time. Biking has some advantage when it comes to shedding off those calories.
First, it’s easier to choose a target riding zone that will optimize fat burning. Second, the fat burning process continues even after riding. For instance, 30 minutes of biking provides a higher rate of calorie burn a few hours after stopping. Finally, biking is an exercise with variable intensity. The more intense it is, the more calories you get to burn.
We all need some sleep, right? Unfortunately, some of us lack enough sleep due to medical conditions or lifestyle. Adequate sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep boosts your mood, mind, and benefits the heart. In fact, there are far more numerous health benefits you get from adequate sleep. Good news is that biking helps improve quality of your sleep.
Recent studies show that 20-30 minutes of cycling can increase sleep time by up to one hour and cut time that one takes to fall asleep by up to half. In short, it lets you spend quality time with your bed. So, if falling asleep has proven to be a struggle at times, biking could be the answer for you.
Improves Cardiovascular Fitness
Cardiovascular system comprises the heart and the lungs. The more fit you are, the more efficient the cardiovascular functions. This translates to improved endurance capabilities. In fact, biking improves endurance level by up to 7% following one month on constant cycling.
Cycling also helps elevate heart rate and increase breathing capacity. You have three times less exposure to the effects of pollution compared to car commuters. This leads to improved lung functions.
Increases Muscle Tone
Biking improves general muscle function. Contrary to what most people think, biking works more than just the leg muscles. Take the downstroke pedaling motion for instance. It works the gluteus muscles located in the buttocks, gastrocnemius muscles in the calves, and quadriceps in the thighs. Hamstrings and flexor muscles are engaged in up-stroke pedaling motion.
Balancing and staying upright builds abdominal muscles. Holding and steering the handlebars builds shoulder and arm muscles. In short, you get improved muscle tone of the legs, hips, thighs, arms, and rear end. One good thing about biking is that you achieve improved muscle tone with less risk of straining or over-exercising.
Muscle toning offers numerous benefits. It promotes weight loss, stronger bones, and lowers the the risk of osteoporosis. Apart from that, you get increased strength and endurance.
Reduces Risk of Heart Diseases and Cancer
Biking, like most exercises, helps boost immunity. Combined with healthy weight and good diet, your risk of getting cancer and heart diseases are kept to a minimum. For instance, did you know that 20 minutes of biking can lower risk of heart diseases by a big margin? In fact, your risk for heart disease is reduced to under half compared to those who don’t exercise. This is achieved through strengthened heart muscles and reduced blood fat levels.
Biking helps combat most types of cancer ranging from breast, colon, to lung cancer. Women who cycle benefit from reduced estrogen and insulin, which are major causes of breast cancer. Estrogen is produced by fat cells and biking helps you burn those fats. It reduces risk of breast cancer by up to 40%. Cycling improves bowel movements by allowing more water to be retained by food passing through the large intestine. It improves overall digestive health to reduce risk of colon and recto-intestine cancer.
These top health benefits of biking give you more than enough reasons to swap your car for a bike. One thing to note is that the effects of these health benefits are felt most if you incorporate good diet into your cycling routine. Good diet adds efficiency to the process, which translates to a higher level of fitness. For starters, it’s good to note that biking should be done gradually. I mean, one should gradually increase the intensity of riding to avoid risk of injuries or over-straining.