There are many modes of transportation out there not to mention an overwhelming number of exercise activities available. So why should someone spend hours riding a bicycle? I mean, biking takes a good amount of effort and can feel quite slow and exhausting, so why bother? According to experts in health and fitness industry, biking is one of the cheapest and best ways to exercise. This humble machine provides maximum exercise efficiency with minimal physical stresses. In this article, we explore the top 5 health benefits of biking.
The Top 5 Health Benefits of Biking:
Biking can help shed off excess, unhealthy weight. It does it in three ways: increases bone mass, increases muscle mass, and burns fat. An hour of steady cycling can help you burn up to 300 calories. Biking expends energy and the pedaling motion increases the metabolic rate. Wonder where the energy from biking comes from? Well, the energy comes from fuel and fat is the major source of that fuel.
However, biking should go together with good diet for healthy, effective weight management. Food helps add calories to your body to prevent your fat reserves from being exhausted. In fact, the body turns muscle proteins into fuel in case the fat reserve is completely depleted. Well, this is something you don’t want for your body.
Promotes Heart Health
The effort expended in pedaling increases heart rate and breathing. This causes the blood to pump faster. You get improved blood circulation with strengthened lung and heart muscles. The benefits don’t cease, even when you’re at rest. It lowers your pulse and keeps blood fat levels to a minimum. All these benefits protect you from cardiovascular complications, such as stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure.
Increased circulation means more nutrients spread further in different parts of the body, especially in injury locations. The more oxygen and nutrients made available to injury sites, the faster the healing process.
Boosts Immunity and Prevents Cancer
The improved cardiovascular system leads to an improved immune system. Combined with the healthy weight, regular exercise, and good diet, your risk of getting cancer are kept to a minimum. In fact, physically fit people approaching middle age are at a lower risk of colorectal and lung cancer.
Risk of colorectal cancer is lowered through improved bowel movements. Biking slows down passage of food through the large intestine. This means less amount of water reabsorbed back into the body. You get softer stool that’s easier to pass. With increased heart rate and breathing, biking also helps stimulate contraction of small intestines. This prevents bloating and lowers risk of bowel cancer and also alart about bike safety because it is very important.
Boosts Mental Health
Regular biking helps reduce mental health conditions. It pumps more blood to the brains making oxygen and nutrients more available. This kind of fertilizes the grey matter. The pedaling process excites more nerve cells, which trigger the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and other compounds.
These processes lead to the formation of new brain cells. Considering the fact that the brain is the body’s “Command and Control” center, you get greater mental power and escalated mental functioning. Coupled with the enjoyment that biking brings, you get reduced stress, depression, and anxiety.
Improves Bone Health and Builds Muscle
Biking basically does three things: improves strength, coordination, and sense of balance. Feet movement while pedaling combined with steering develop coordination skills. Your hands, feet, and body work together to achieve this coordination. This leads to increased bone mass and bone strength. That means more balance and low risk of fractures.
A number of muscles are engaged during the downstroke. These are gluteus (buttocks), quadriceps (thighs), soleus (calves), and gastrocnemius (calves). up-stroke engages the hamstrings on the thigh and flexor muscles on the hips. Biking also works other muscles, such as abdominal, shoulder, and hand muscles. This helps build the muscles, both in mass and strength.
Biking has lots of health benefits to offer and the effects are more when one starts cycling from a young age. It’s good to remember that there’s no such thing as too much riding, especially when done at the right intensity. The health benefits of biking are felt most when done on a regular basis. The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours of biking to achieve that. In fact, 30 minutes is enough to reap the benefits of biking.