A while back, I wasn’t in the greatest of shape. I smoked too much, was overweight and felt depressed.
My family-life was also going downhill. I didn’t have the energy nor the drive to spend quality time with my loved ones.
I knew if I didn’t take steps soon—it would hit a crisis point.
Then I discovered cycling—it changed my life, forever.
Allow me to reveal the incredible cycling benefits.
The Top Reasons to Cycle:
- Builds and tones muscles.
- Reduces the risk of developing cancer.
- Elevates your libido.
- Boosts brainpower.
- Prevents injury.
- Helps you sleep better,
From a personal point of view, I needed to choose an activity that would address my health and wellbeing issues and not break the bank.
In my overweight condition, I was ashamed of my body. I lacked the self-confidence to pound the tarmac or expose myself for all to see at the local gym.
So, I bought an indoor cycle.
After just a few weeks—I began to see the difference. Pounds were dropping off, I could breathe better and my energy levels escalated.
I became addicted.
Wanting more—I moved to outdoor cycling. And now, it’s an integral part of my life.
It’s true—I could have chosen a different route—running, aerobics, weight-training or CrossFit. However, for me, I know I made the perfect choice.
Here’s why I believe it’s the ultimate choice in physical activities:
- Cycling is cheap—no gym memberships, all you need is a bike.
- The whole family can participate—you’re unlikely to go weight-lifting with your seven-year-old daughter.
- It gets you outdoors—not stuck in a gym.
- Riding a bike is suitable for any fitness level—unlike say extreme CrossFit.
- Cycling is fun—it’s not repetitive exercises.
- It’s not long before you begin to notice the health and mental wellbeing benefits.
This is why I believe the cycling benefits vastly surpass those from other disciplines.
However, there’s one highly popular activity that others consider to be the ultimate—running.
Cycling vs Running
One of the most attractive features of tarmac-treading is that it’s the most budget-friendly sport—you only need to purchase a pair of decent sneakers.
But, if you’re looking to make a start to your fitness and wellness journey, which one is best for you?
Here are some points to consider:
- Cardiovascular health—anything that gets your heart-pumping is excellent for boosting aerobic fitness. Depending on the intensity, both disciplines can deliver the same benefits.
- Calorie burning—as it uses more muscles, running burns slightly more calories per hour (480 kcal) than cycling (420 kcal).
- Muscle building—like weight lifting, cycling is a resistance exercise on the legs leading to muscle growth. Running will not lead to significant gains, although it will provide an all-over toned appearance.
- Intensity—most people, even with existing low-fitness levels, can jump on a bike and ride for around 30 minutes. Newcomers to running will find the same duration much harder—instead, experts recommend fast walking as an introduction.
- Family and friends—cycling is a fantastic ability leveler, you can ride with friends and family of any age or ability. Running is more fitness-centric—if you’re looking to do this with others, you need the same aptitude.
- Injury—cycling is gentle on the joints. Hammering the concrete when running delivers high-impact shocks to your knees, ankles and hips, which can lead to injury or osteoarthritis.
Hence, it’s for these reasons I believe that cycling is the ultimate physical activity—delivering immense health benefits and allowing you to participate with the whole family—without the risks that running possesses.
However, they’re not mutually exclusive.
Research shows that runners engaging in cycling activity improved their oxygen usage and elevated their power-output on the track. In short, cycling makes you a better runner.
Furthermore, if you’ve suffered a running injury—cycling can be the ideal rehabilitation due to its low-impact nature.
Benefits of Cycling for Your Physical Health
Getting on two wheels will deliver immense bonuses—such as helping the environment, saving you money and improving your navigational skills.
However, it’s the health benefits of cycling that are perhaps the most life-changing.
So, allow me to kick off by explaining exactly why cycling is good for you.
Cycling Builds and Tones Muscles
Whether you’re looking to build behemoth like leg muscles, or just want a tight and toned beach-ready body, cycling delivers.
Here’s the science:
Exercising your legs past their normal levels of endurance damages muscle fibers. The body then compensates by rebuilding and repairing these areas—making them larger and stronger through muscle protein synthesis.
Riding on your bike mainly targets your quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings (underside of thighs) and calves. Furthermore, your biceps, triceps and spinal erector muscles receive a workout by maintaining your stability and balance.
Research shows that cycle training induces muscle hypertrophy (growth) across all age groups.
Studies show that larger leg muscles reduce the likelihood of injury and increase your recovery rate. Additionally, there are few sports that don’t require strong legs—meaning your soccer, football, or baseball abilities and power will improve.
Some quick advice:
If you’re looking purely for tone—cycle for extended periods in low to mid gears. Alternatively, if you demand serious mass, cycle uphill and utilize higher gears to increase resistance.
Riding Strengthens Your Legs
One of the benefits of biking is that it strengthens your legs.
Firstly, this has everyday applications—known as functional fitness—that means your daily activities become easier and overall more pleasurable.
For example, strong lower body strength means you can climb stairs easily while carrying groceries, or effortlessly squat and lift your children.
Secondly, improved leg strength will improve your sporting prowess in other disciplines. Whether racing across the tennis court, jumping for a volleyball or completing that home run—a strong lower body will give you an advantage against your competitors.
Recent research from the University of Sydney indicates that not only does regular cycling improve strength—but it also provides the bonus of enhancing balance—an essential element of all sports.
Admittedly, you could achieve similar effects by completing numerous reps on a leg-press machine at your gym. But then, why spend time indoors in a sweaty and intimidating environment when you could make the same gains riding through nature with your family?
Spares Your Knees and Joints
Sporting injuries are common—especially in highly physical pursuits such as rugby and football.
However, you don’t have to be taking the full force of a body charge to incur a mishap.
Take, for example, running. Despite all its impressive benefits, musculoskeletal injuries are highly prevalent in this activity, with studies showing they occur in 79 percent of participants.
Undoubtedly the most common issue is with the knee, known colloquially as ‘runner’s knee’ or medically as patellofemoral pain (PFP). This is because running, especially on concrete, delivers immense forces throughout the leg.
The knee acts as a kind of shock-absorber—taking power out of each strike of the foot and reducing the risk of damage to the hips.
Cycling is different.
Rotating the legs is a smooth movement—providing low-impact exercise without damaging your knees, ankles and hips. Furthermore, on uneven or rocky ground, your cycle takes much of the force—especially if you’re running on fat tires or have shock absorbers.
Fights Arthritis and Relieves Its Symptoms
Arthritis is a degenerative disease that involves inflammation of the joints.
However, if you do develop this condition—the advice is don’t sit back on your sofa, feel sorry for yourself, and accept it.
Experts agree that one of the best ways to alleviate the issues of arthritis is to remain active—and, importantly, exercise. Furthermore, these scientists explain that working the affected joints has no detrimental effects—it only improves symptoms.
As a low-impact form of training—riding your bike is ideal.
The two most common areas that arthritis rears its unwanted head are in the hips and knees. A study from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, which examined 119 participants with hip arthritis, indicates that cycling reduces pain, elevates movement, boosts confidence and raises the motivation to exercise.
Additionally, research published in the Journal of Gerontology, illustrated that riding a bicycle reduced pain, improved movement, and elevated walking comfort in subjects suffering from knee arthritis.
Cycling Improves Your Flexibility
As I became older, I started vocalizing more with every movement.
Reaching down to pick up my daughter would be accompanied by a groan—while rising from the sofa involved an audible grunt.
Like a bicycle—we need regular oiling.
You need exercise to lubricate your joints and extend and stretch your muscles—keeping you in fully-functioning order.
Experts explain that regular cycling elevates flexibility. Not only does this boost your functional fitness, but it also has the additional benefits of reducing the chance of injury and allows you to perform better in sports.
Getting on Two Wheels Prevents Injury
A flexible body is one that’s less likely to suffer injury.
You don’t want tight muscles when exercising—they should be strong enough to deliver the explosions of power you need—while sufficiently flexible to cope with constant extensions and contractions.
Cycling stretches the muscles of the lower body. Research proves that repetitive extension of these powerhouses increases flexibility and reduces the chance of muscular strains.
Furthermore, riding your bicycle elevates muscular strength and growth. Studies tell us that working the body hard boosts the resilience of muscles, tendons, and ligaments—resulting in a reduced chance of sporting injuries.
Additionally, if you’ve suffered an athletic mishap—it’s best not to remain sedentary.
Even with back injuries, the evidence explains exercise is one of the best ways to heighten recovery and promote body-repair.
Cycling, with its low-impact characteristics, is ideal for returning you back to the road, field, gym, or track quickly.
Builds Explosive Strength
You may think that unless you’re a competitive racer looking to break away from the peloton—you don’t need explosive strength.
The truth is, you do.
If you take part in competitive sports, a quick explosion of energy is vital—for example, making that run down the sideline for a touchdown, or leaping for that overhead smash in badminton.
Additionally, you need it in life.
The ability to move swiftly from a stationary position to an explosion of movement could be life-saving if avoiding unexpected traffic when crossing the road or escaping from unsavory types lurking in alleys.
Regular cycling can help you to develop this crucial skill.
Practicing switching from a gentle and steady pace into a quick sprint will develop your body’s muscle memory to perform this action—meaning you’re prepared, whether on the field or the street.
Furthermore, as your skills increase, you can increase the intensity.
Treat this development as a type of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Begin by doing a 10-second sprint every ten minutes. As you progress, increase this sprint time up to a maximum of 30 seconds, and reducing the interval between these explosive sessions.
Cycling Improves Your Endurance
One of my favorite health benefits of biking is its ability to increase endurance.
That is, not only can you push out some serious effort—but you can sustain it for an extended period.
Hence whether playing sports, riding itself, or enjoying some sexy-time with your partner—you can keep going for longer. Experts tell us that cycling is as effective as running for elevating your stamina.
One of the best ways to make impressive endurance gains is to complete HIIT on your bike. Studies show that incorporating sprints into your rides delivers greater endurance boosts than low-intensity steady training.
Riding Your Bike Improves Bone Density and Fights Osteoporosis
Whether an adult or a child—it’s always the right age to be concentrating on your bone health.
Low BMD (bone mineral density)—known as osteoporosis—leads to an increased risk of fractures and breaks.
Luckily, getting into the saddle can stave off this disease.
Pushing the pedals is a form of resistance exercise—as you work against the pressure of road inclines, friction, plus you and your cycle’s weight.
Scientists explain that this form of activity strengthens bones and can prevent low BMD. Furthermore, additional research proves that resistance training is an effective treatment for osteoporosis—if you’re already subject to this condition.
Improves Your Posture
As explained earlier, pushing your cycle along the tarmac not only strengthens the leg muscles—but also those in your back—particularly the spinal erectors.
Boffins explain that building up these areas can improve postural issues such as hyperkyphosis (curvature of the spine).
So, by merely maintaining balance on your cycle, you’re giving your back a workout—improving your overall posture and allowing you to walk tall.
Just a quick word of warning.
It’s essential to have a correct form on your bike—riding in the wrong position can lead to lower back issues.
Expands Lung Capacity and Keep Them Healthy Over Time
Surprisingly, there are no muscles in the lungs.
However, your diaphragm, intercostal and abdominal muscles expand and contract to fill and empty your lungs with oxygen.
Scientists explain that regular cardiovascular exercise, including cycling, works these muscles harder, improving their strength. Hence, with more powerful muscles, breathing becomes easier and more efficient.
Furthermore, the increased breathing rates you experience during exercise have a cleansing function—enabling the lungs to expel unwanted contaminants and hence promoting improved health.
So, if you’ve recently given up smoking—jumping into the saddle is one of the best ways of expelling those years of trash your lungs have had to endure.
Cycling Regulates Your Digestion
Perhaps one of the most surprising cycling benefits.
As we become older, our bowel habits change. In short, as we age, the more likely we are to suffer from constipation.
Our ability to digest food efficiently decreases—leading to those unwanted blockages.
It can be serious.
Researchers have shown that people suffering from frequent constipation have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal cancers.
You could knock back some medication. Preferably, jump on your bike.
Scientists explain that cycling stimulates bowel activity—helping you to stay regular.
Keeps You Hydrated
You need water to survive. Without this vital compound, your cells, tissues and organs will fail.
Yet, most people vastly underestimate how much H2O they need to remain healthy. The current recommendations are 91 ounces per day for women and 125 ounces for men.
Conditions that aren’t conducive to cycling.
Yet, as a bike rider—consuming sufficient hydration becomes second-nature.
Filling up your water bottles or hydration pack before your outdoor adventure becomes routine. Not only will you be doing this for your rides, but as I found out, you’ll see yourself constantly reaching for hydration at work and home.
Being on Two Wheels Helps to Lose Body Fat and Weight
In theory, losing weight is simple.
Expend more calories than you ingest—and you’ll drop pounds.
Hence, by riding your bike, you can increase your energy usage—creating a caloric deficit.
Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrates that cycling not only increases the speed of weight loss—it also lowers overall fat mass. Hence, dropping the pounds isn’t merely a result of losing water content.
Physical exercise such as cycling elevates your RMR (resting metabolic rate)—that is, the number of calories you use while sitting—or indeed, reading this article.
So, cycling in the great outdoors every week will deliver fat loss benefits even when out of the saddle.
Improves Cardiovascular Function and Diminishes the Risk of Heart Disease
Anything which gets your heart-pumping is beneficial—and cycling is no exception.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) informs us that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the USA. Scarily, it takes away someone’s life every 37 seconds.
Exercise, especially cycling, can dramatically cut this risk.
Working the heart hard increases its strength and ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood throughout your body.
Studies explain that even moderate daily physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 29 percent.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Here’s the truth.
High blood pressure can lead to both heart disease and cardiac arrest.
Cycling will bring it down.
Research demonstrates that getting on your bike regularly, or indeed conducting any aerobic exercise, lowers blood pressure. Therefore avoiding hypertension and reducing your risk of heart issues.
Improves HDL Cholesterol and Decrease LDL Cholesterol
Like excessive blood pressure, elevated levels of cholesterol will cause heart disease.
It’s a two-headed beast.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol—is the bad stuff. Too much of this, and your heart is going to be under a lot of pressure. Conversely, HDL (low-density lipoproteins) is your friend—cleaning up the damaging LDL type.
Scientists explain that cycling has the effect of lowering LDL and raising HDL cholesterol—reducing your chances of developing heart problems.
Controls Diabetes and Sugar in Your Blood
People with diabetes often experience issues with their lower limbs due to elevated pressure in their feet, impaired circulation and lack of sensation.
However, research from the University of Australia explains that cycling can alleviate these issues by improving blood flow through the lower extremities—to a greater extent than walking provides.
However, there’s more.
Researchers have demonstrated that both recreational and commuting cycling lowers the risk of developing Type II Diabetes.
Even more positive news—it’s never too late.
The same study explains that people taking up cycling in middle-to-old-age exhibited a 20 percent less risk of developing diabetes than those who remained non-cyclists.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Any form of physical exercise will reduce the incidence of cancer.
The most significant effects are on the colon—scientists have proven that the risks are cut by 50 percent in the most active individuals.
Furthermore, a study from the University of Cambridge demonstrates that cycling itself is highly effective at reducing risk factors associated with all forms of mortality—including cancer.
Improves Your Immune System
Sick days are the worst. It means time off work or generally feeling lousy—preventing you from enjoying your daily pursuits.
However, you can keep those colds and sneezes at bay simply by getting into the saddle.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham examined the immunity profiles of frequent cyclists aged between 55 to 79 years. They discovered that compared to inactive people of the same age—they demonstrated a stronger immune system that didn’t deteriorate with advancing years.
It’s not all about muscle and organ health.
Getting on your bike elevates your brainpower—and that’s a scientific fact.
Scientists have discovered that cycling outside for thirty minutes, three times a week, has a remarkable effect on mental ability.
Participants in the study developed faster brain-processing speeds, improved learning ability and developed a more malleable brain.
Boosts Your Libido
Cycling improves muscle tone—not only making you look awesome to the opposite sex, but also improving your body-confidence.
The more comfortable you are with your body, the greater the likelihood of you getting busy beneath sheets.
Furthermore, scientific evidence shows that physical exercise has a positive effect on sexuality, elevating libido.
Slows Down the Aging Process by Reducing Current Signs of Aging
We’ve already seen that cycling boosts strength, mental agility and has protective effects on organs—all of which decline with age.
But, it’s not all internal.
Experts explain that regular exercise enhances new cell growth and prevents DNA damage—by replenishing your body’s building blocks, your skin, hair, and eyes remain younger looking.
Furthermore, some anecdotal evidence suggests that the increased circulation cycling provides cleans out toxins more rapidly and helps prevent harmful UV rays from damaging your skin.
Increases Your Energy Levels
Being regularly active on your bike increases your vitality in every other aspect of your daily life.
A study from the University of Georgia explains that in over 90 percent of cases—those people who exercise regularly demonstrate higher levels of energy compared to those who don’t.
Not only will your home, leisure and work time benefit—but also this increase in dynamism will want you to be outside on your cycle more often.
If you’re feeling tired—jump in the saddle.
One of the key cycling benefits is it attenuates feelings of tiredness.
Its effects are so powerful, that even in chronic cases of fibromyalgia—a disease characterized by intense and continuous fatigue—exercise increases vitality and reduces lethargy symptoms.
Makes You Sleep Better
There’s nothing more annoying than interrupted or elusive sleep.
Whether it’s you or your kids that suffer, it leaves everyone feeling awful the next day, meaning tough days at work or school.
Luckily, cycling can cure that.
Studies show that regular exercise both prevents insomnia and improves interrupted-sleep issues.
Gets You In a Training Rhythm
We all want to be fitter, but it’s tough.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably bought a gym membership in the past, attended on a couple of occasions and then never used it again.
Cycling enables you to just hop on your bike and exercise—without packing your fitness bag or having to travel to the gym. Furthermore, planning to head out every weekend, whether on your own or with the family, is an easy way to keep to a regular training pattern.
You Can Stay in Shape Through Winter Putting Your Bike in a Trainer Stand
The beauty of having a cycle is that inclement weather isn’t going to stop you from exercising.
When it comes to winter, you can purchase a bike trainer stand. These budget-friendly pieces of equipment allow you to ride your cycle safely indoors—keeping you in the saddle and helping to retain your fitness.
If you’re the more adventurous type, you could consider a fat-bike. A cycle with oversized tires that allows you to make light work of snowy conditions.
Teaches How to Use Your Body Weight
Corners, downhill runs, uneven terrain, slippery gravel—cycling makes you and your body adapt to a plethora of challenging conditions—simply to remain upright.
Research shows that riding a bike can improve motor function, balance and coordination.
Not only will this make you into a highly proficient cyclist, but also these enhancements will translate into your daily activities or other sporting pursuits.
Teaches Your Body and Mind to Balance
Cycling is as much mental as it is physical.
Convincing yourself to hit the road on cold and wet days and pushing yourself over that final hill takes mental strength. Your mind and body become one as they work together to achieve your goals.
This body-mind balance can translate into a more content life and improved work ethic.
Stretches Your Lifespan
By lowering the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer—it makes sense that cyclists are more likely to live longer than those who don’t ride a bike.
And, the statistics prove this to be true.
A study from the University of Valencia examined the lifespan of Tour De France cyclists against that of the general population. It concluded that these riders lived eight years longer than the average guy or girl on the street,
Benefits of Cycling for Your Mental Health
When people ask me—what is cycling good for, I stress that it has as much benefit for the body as it does the mind.
You know 21st-century life is tough.
The demands of work, finances and family can all take their toll on our already overworked brains.
Thankfully, the cycling benefits include a peaceful and strong mind.
Decreases Your Stress Levels
When cycling, your mind concentrates on the task in hand.
Tackling intersections, adjusting gearing when going up and downhill and avoiding obstacles—this concentration gives your head a break from worrying about that important work project or paying the utility bills.
Experts explain that cycling decreases stress. But, it’s not just speeding through beautiful country lanes that has that effect.
Even using your bicycle to commute daily to work has precisely the same stress-busting cycling benefits.
Improve Your Mood and your Mental Wellbeing
Just being in the great outdoors has positive effects on mood.
Getting on your cycle can take it one step further.
Evidence published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that regular exercise boosts mood, and works as both a prevention and cure for depression.
We’ve already seen that one of the main biking benefits is that it improves muscle tone and drops fat.
This can lead to greater self-confidence as you become more comfortable in your own body.
Furthermore, knowing that you’re exercising regularly can deliver an immense feeling of satisfaction—you’re making an effort that many others are too lazy to attempt.
Lowered Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
This nervous system disorder, which promotes tremors in the limbs, affects one percent of the population.
While there’s no cure—cycling is an immense medication.
Physical exercise, in general, decreases the risks of developing this condition. Furthermore, scientists have discovered that in those that have the disease, cycling can enhance motor function, reduce tremors and improve walking ability.
Concerningly, around 29 percent of Americans suffer from anxiety in their lifetimes.
Happily cycling through nature while you’re joined by family and friends is a powerful way to reduce your stress levels.
Additionally, science explains that regular exercise reduces anxiety—by boosting the production of the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin and elevating natural opioid levels.
Builds Mental Fortitude
Life is about meeting challenges head-on—and having the strength to power through these adversities.
In a microcosm—riding your bike reflects these demands.
Whether pushing yourself to go that extra mile or battling through the pain of an icy-wind on your face—cycling teaches you to overcome any tribulations.
Rapidly changing gear, bursting into a sprint or avoiding hazardous obstacles—cycling demands speedy reflexes.
Boffins from the Yamagata Prefectural University tell us that riding a bike improves motor and reflex coordination.
Gets You “Addicted” to Something Good
Forget the tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.
If you have cycling in your life—you don’t need them.
Instead, you can become addicted to riding your bike—and receive the same pleasurable effects as these more harmful substances.
Exercise boosts endorphins—opiates that increase the feeling of wellbeing and stimulates euphoria.
Cycling, especially riding on your own, can induce a Zen-like state.
Being on an extended ride, with nothing but you, your bike and the road means you can be completely mindful of your journey—concentrating on nothing but the present moment.
This meditative experience not only puts you in tune with your cycling but also yourself, promoting relaxation and a feeling of wellbeing.
Improve Your Body Awareness
When riding your bike, you feel every push of your thighs, the vibrations rising through your hands and butt, and your current level of exertion and fatigue.
A cyclist becomes in-tune with their body, recognizing changes, both negative and positive.
This can translate into daily-life, allowing you to ascertain your current levels of work and home stress or pleasure.
Improve Handling and Spatial Awareness
It’s not just you out there on the road.
Other cyclists, motorized vehicles, obstacles and different terrain—you have to be aware of, and navigate, all of these factors.
Cycling improves your spatial awareness, allowing you to function better at work, home or in other sporting pursuits.
Improves Navigational Skills
Forget your car’s sat-nav.
On your bike, it’s you and the road.
Theoretically, you could use GPS aids. But instead, utilize maps, signposts and landmarks to reach your destination.
Doing so will improve your sense of direction, which will provide additional benefits when negotiating new cities in your car.
Makes You Feel Happier
Endorphins from exercise, being with family and friends, improved self-confidence and pride in knowing you’re enjoying a rewarding hobby—it makes you happy.
Studies tell us that engaging in cycling gives us not only this buzz, but also staves of anxiety and depression.
Benefits of Cycling at a Personal Level
Cycling is more than exercise—it’s a lifestyle. Here’s why biking has more personal benefits.
Rep Your Style
Your cycle can be a reflection of your outlook, personality and attitude.
If you’re a go-getter, you may want a road racer or the more adventurous person, a mountain bike. Additionally, phlegmatic cyclists could opt for a tourer, or indecisive riders, a hybrid.
Be More Resourceful
Being on the road is challenging.
Looking after fellow cyclists, dealing with a flat, accidents, becoming lost—all issues which demand you act immediately without the backup of your home comforts.
This leads cyclists to be more resourceful than the average Joe or Jane—a bonus that will traverse into your everyday life.
Be More Adventurous
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been on my cycle and seen a side-road I’d never noticed before.
So, I pedal down it to see where it goes.
Cycling gives you the chance to abort your plans and be more spontaneous. An attitude of adventure that doesn’t just promote pleasure but also adds excitement to your life.
Don’t Waste a Nice Day
How often have you declared in the morning—it’s a lovely day outside—and then sat down on the sofa and watched TV?
Cycling is the ideal excuse to get into the great outdoors, stimulate your mood, and enjoy some welcome (and free) vitamin D boosts.
Discover the World and Its Beauty
Your cycling adventures aren’t confined to your work commutes or local country lanes.
It’s a big world out there—and your bike is the perfect opportunity to explore it.
Travel to a different city and join a cycling tour—or just rent a bike and explore. Or for the more adventurous, many official competitions allow you to ‘ride-the-course’ in the days before the professionals head out.
Don’t use your car to commute—use your bike.
Research shows that those in employment, who conduct physical activity before work, demonstrate improved mood, elevated productivity and enhanced performance.
Be More Creative
Whether your job demands continual inspiration, or you’re a budding writer or artist, jump on your cycle.
One of the more surprising cycling benefits is that it elevates creativity and heightens problem-solving ability.
Become More Self-Sufficient
Whether in your panniers, backpack or triangle bag—your rides involve you carrying water, food, energy bars, tools, puncture repair kits, and other essential items.
You’re always prepared—ready for any unexpected challenge.
This self-sufficient attitude translates into other aspects of your life—such as dealing with home emergencies or vacationing in another country.
Snack Without the Guilt
You’re expending more calories with each and every ride.
This can allow you to have a few more snacks than you would normally allow yourself.
Furthermore, you need energy to keep pedaling—hence energy bars are a must.
Drink a Few More Cold Ones
If you’re part of a club, one of the most fun cycling benefits is that after each excursion—there’s a trip to a local bar to rehydrate, relax and discuss the day’s ride.
Be careful though—one too many, and you could be piling back on those pounds you’re trying hard to lose.
Have More Fun
Cycling improves health, drops weight and boosts muscles and tone.
But most importantly of all, it’s fun.
The joy I continually receive from cycling is one of its greatest benefits. And, if you don’t enjoy it, you’re doing it wrong!
If leisurely rides through the country aren’t for you, for example, consider time trials or off-road cycling.
Benefits of Cycling in Regards to Social and Community Life
Riding can be a solo pursuit—something you do on your own and benefiting your personal health and wellbeing.
However, cycling has a massive impact on life around you too.
Make New Friends
Being part of the cycling community gives you the opportunity to meet other people and enlarge your social network.
Whether it’s from joining a club and riding with other cyclists or talking about your hobby as a conversation-starter in a bar—it’s a great ice-breaker.
Join and Belong to a Club
USAC (USA Cycling) alone has over 2200 clubs in the USA—so there’s bound to be a riding group near you.
One of the main cycling benefits of joining a bike organization is that membership puts you into contact with people with a common interest.
These clubs welcome both advanced riders and newbies. Experienced cyclists can compete in some seriously competitive racing, while newer members wanting a more leisurely approach have a plethora of new friends to have leisurely rides with.
Furthermore, these groups offer hints, tips and advice on riding.
Spend Quality Time Together With People Like-Minded
Its somewhat self-evident—but even science agrees that spending time with friends elevates mental health and boosts a sense of wellbeing.
Being on the road together means you share experiences, adversities, elation, disappointments and can be a welcome break from work and home life.
Stay Disconnected from Technology
For tech-lovers—cycling offers a whole wealth of gadgets to satisfy your electronic-cravings while also improving your rides.
However, getting on the road is the ideal opportunity to cut back on the screentime. Let’s face it—checking your Instagram account while negotiating heavy traffic is a little foolhardy.
Studies show that excessive time spent on tablets and smartphones is detrimental to health—so riding is the perfect opportunity to escape.
Riding and chatting with friends, exploring new environments, meeting challenges, and even having mishaps—cycling creates memories that will last a lifetime.
Furthermore, many of these recollections can become anecdotes (perhaps with a little embellishment)—making you an all-around more interesting and fun person.
Remember—you don’t have to take a selfie for a specific moment in time to be a treasured memory.
Teach Other People How to Bike
You discover the immense benefits of cycling—so be generous and share with others.
Teaching others how to cycle, explaining bike maintenance, offering tips and advising on the correct gear gives you and your newbie-rider immense rewards.
Make It a Hobby for the Whole Family
I ride with my husband and daughter—and I love it.
Cycling with the family strengthens bonds, increases quality time together and provides shared experiences.
What’s more, they will all enjoy the plethora of health and mental wellbeing benefits I’ve already mentioned in this article. And kids, once addicted, will most likely remain as riders for the rest of their lives.
While helping yourself by cycling—you can also help others.
Many organized cycling events donate money to charity—or, you could complete your own sponsored ride to raise funds for a cause close to your heart.
Furthermore, it’s not entirely altruistic.
Research shows that donating and raising money for charity boosts mental health, happiness and a sense of wellbeing.
Become a More Interesting Person
We can’t all have the wit and possess the anecdotes of Gore Vidal.
But cycling can help.
Whether with friends, work colleagues, family or prospective dates—this awesome 80 percent activity gives you something more interesting to talk about other than the recent redecoration of your living room.
Get More Dates—Especially if You Also Ride for Charity
You know that cycling increases libido—but if you’re not in a relationship, what are you going to do with all that pent up desire?
Here are the facts:
- 23 percent of people would choose a cyclist as a prospective date than other sportspersons.
- 32 percent of men and women consider it essential that their partner is active.
- An enormous 80 percent of people would be impressed if their date had cycled for charity.
So, ride and get yourself a partner.
Learn about Local Roads and Explore New Places
In your car, you often drive on autopilot to familiar destinations. Or, if it’s somewhere more unusual, use your sat-nav.
Cycling enables you to explore new roads, lanes, alleys that you’d never normally traverse in your automobile—be spontaneous. If you don’t know where a particular route will take you—ride it and find out.
As the great American poet Robert Frost wrote in, The Road Not Taken,
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Avoid the Road Traffic
For commuting, cycling is often the quicker option.
When everyone else is sitting zombie-like in a traffic jam, you can weave in-and-out of cars, jump on the sidewalk (depending on local regulations), or take a route inaccessible by motor vehicles.
Get Access to Bike Paths and Their Beautiful Views and Zero Traffic and Cost
In the USA, there are over 13000 miles of bespoke cycling paths and routes covering 26 states.
By hopping into the saddle, you can take advantage of this enormous network—often including areas inaccessible by cars.
This means you can take pleasure in some amazing scenery that others will never be able to witness—all for free.
One Less Car on the Road
Using your cycle instead of your car doesn’t just deliver you with health and wellbeing benefits.
Ok, you may only be a small cog in a larger wheel, but every automobile removed from the highways means less traffic, fewer jams, and importantly less pollution.
Cycling completely transformed my life.
It changed me from a rather unhealthy and unhappy individual to a fit, active and overwhelmingly positive person.
It can do the same for you.
This immense activity boosts wellbeing, health and your outlook on life. What’s more, it’s a pursuit that you can enjoy alone, or with family and friends.
But it doesn’t end here!
Check out Part 2 of The Definite Reasons to Cycle if you’re still not convinced!