By Eric Schneider | Edited by Elena Doxey
Today’s health enthusiasts are taking a new spin on cycling, as they are pedaling their way to a healthier lifestyle and gaining increased mental clarity. Whether taking a leisurely ride, a long tour, or soul cycle, there are many benefits of cycling, from trimming your waistline to strengthen your muscles and lower your risk for some diseases.
Top benefits of cycling:
- Builds cardiovascular fitness—Cycling increases your heart rate, helping you build a stronger heart.
- Drives down weight—Cycling is a fun way to burn calories and lose weight, not to mention build stronger legs. The average person riding at a moderate rate for one hour can burn 400-600 calories. Want to take it up a notch? Try cycling uphill or against the wind for a more challenging workout.
- Lowers risk of disease—Cycling may help lower the risk for cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, and other ailments associated with inactivity and aging. For example, cycling may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, since your body will be processing carbohydrates more efficiently, keeping insulin levels better balanced.
- Lower risk of injury over other exercises—Bike riders are less likely to endure strained joints and other injuries that come along with weight-bearing exercises such as running, for example. And cycling is easily accessible to anyone, even those who may be overweight. It’s much easier to ride a bicycle for 20 minutes than for some to run for 20 minutes.
- Clears your mind—Even a quick spin before or after work can be the best therapy to clear your mind. Cycling can increase mental acuity and help you focus and relax.
Be sure to eat right
For those who cycle regularly, it’s important to include more quality carbohydrates into their diet to really reap the benefits of cycling. Experts suggest eating about three pieces of fruit and five servings of vegetables per day. Just as you need gas to drive your car, it’s important to fuel your body before a ride. For morning rides, try eating a bowl of cereal with a piece of fruit. It’s an easy way to restore your body from the night before and wake up your brain and muscles.
Think of cycling as more than getting from one place to another. It’s a chance to explore new places while nurturing your body with heart-healthy exercise and mental healing.