Developing a healthy habit such as riding a bicycle every day can really improve your mental and physical health. Your overall fitness condition, health and mood will immensely improve if you take at least half an hour of your day to ride a bike. It can either be your new hobby, or you could just simply start cycling to work instead of going by car or bus. Whatever you choose, after some time you will definitely start seeing positive changes in your life.
Cycling vs. other forms of transportation
If you happen to be living in one of those big cities, you probably get stuck in traffic at least twice a day. This is where cycling comes in handy. Public transport in London, for example, is at the top of the list of the most stressful factors of living in the capital. There are many people who use public transport to commute to get to work every day. It causes a lot of stress, makes people angry and takes a lot of time. However, there is a way you can avoid all of this. Choosing cycling instead of public transport to commute can make a huge difference. It has recently been shown that commuters who cycled to work were 40% less likely to be tense and stressed out in the first hour of work than those who use public transport.
There are many benefits of commuting by bike. Firstly, it will save you a lot of time. Getting stuck in traffic is less likely to happen because riding a bike allows you to move to places where cars can’t pass. You can always find alternative routes to avoid traffic in totality. And the second, and most important benefit of cycling is that it’s good for both your physical and mental health. By cycling regularly you will find yourself in a much better physical condition and your mood will improve immensely as well.
Cycling for health and fitness
Cycling can as already mentioned improve your overall health condition, but many people also choose to do it to stay fit. Riding a bike on a daily basis will keep you in shape and it won’t even feel like exercising. Firstly, it is a great muscle workout. By pedaling your body is forced to use all of your major muscle groups. Unlike many other sports, cycling doesn’t require great physical skill or talent. Riding a bicycle is something we all learn to do as kids. It’s a skill you can never forget once you learn it. Cycling also allows you to be in full control of your tempo. It can be as intense as you want. You can choose to make it a real workout session, or it can be done at a very low intensity.
Secondly, it is known to cause fewer injuries and strain than other forms of exercise and workouts do. Cycling daily is very beneficial for gaining strength and increasing stamina and aerobic fitness as well. And, above all, it’s a fun way to get fit. Unlike some other workout and exercises that keep you indoors, cycling will ensure you spend more time outside getting some fresh air. Lastly, it’s a less time-consuming mode of transport that will take you places a lot quicker than trams, trains or buses.
Cardiovascular disease and cycling
One of the benefits of cycling unknown to many people has to do with the heart condition. Daily cycling can actually stimulate not only your heart but your lungs and circulation as well. Riding a bicycle instead of taking a bus every day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Some of them might even be fatal and include stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack. What cycling mainly does is strengthen your heart muscles. It also lowers your resting pulse and helps reduce blood fat levels. Cycling is also good for your lungs. Some of the recent researches have shown that people who cycle to work are up to three times less exposure to pollution than people who commute by car or bus. Therefore, taking that 20-minute ride with your bike can improve your lung function too.
Obesity and weight control
Cycling is also one of the most efficient ways to control or reduce weight. It raises your metabolic rate, builds muscle and as a result burns body fat effectively. However, if you want to lose weight, riding a bicycle is not going to be enough. Try combining your everyday routine of cycling with a healthy eating plan, and you’ll definitely be seeing some positive results soon. Also, cycling doesn’t have to be intense exercise. You can start slowly and then build up the intensity as you’re progressing.
It is usually suggested that you should be able to burn at least 2,000 calories a week at least through exercise alone. Everyday cycling can help you burn approximately 300 calories per hour. If you cycle twice a day, to get to work and to get home afterward, the calories burnt are going to add up quickly. Research done in the UK indicates that a 30-minute bike ride on a daily basis can burn up to five kilograms of fat a year.
Cycling as Neural Fertiliser
Cycling also has many mental health benefits, as mentioned already. It doesn’t just make us feel good in the present moment; it also helps us build a bigger, more connected and healthier brain. Riding a bike increases blood flow to the entire body. That includes the brain as well. The pumping of oxygen and nutrients into this very important organ creates a neural fertilizer of a sort. This neural fertilizer creates rich capillary beds in our brain’s grey matter resulting in increased brain’s capacity to grow, function and repair itself. This easy exercise fires up the nerve cells which lead to intensified creation of protein BDNF. This protein is extremely important to your body because it stimulates the formation of new brain cells. This means that cycling can triple the production of neurons. It can help improve your overall brain health and even improve your memory formation.
On the other hand, cycling has also been proven to boost the brain’s white matter. White matter is important because it transmits information between the cerebral cortex and specific parts of the body. By stimulating your motor skills, you will make sure that your system is running as smoothly as possible.
Go Green and Explore
Exercising outdoors is often associated with more energy, positive engagement, and an overall much more positive mood. Cycling for just about 30 minutes every day can immensely improve your mental health condition. It will decrease those negative feelings of tension and anger. Spending some time in nature should be on top of everyone’s to-do list because it can also reduce stress and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. In has been proven, in recent research, that being surrounded by nature while cycling results in people having a less negative mood and a greater sense of ease. So, consider joining a group ride nearby, explore the nature and new routes around your area. You can even plan a vacation together to get out of town for a bit and explore nearby areas. After all, making friends along the way surely doesn’t sound bad.
Feeling comfortable in your own skin
As already discussed above, cycling has many benefits for your body both physically and mentally. The most important part of cycling every day is that you feel comfortable and happy while doing this exercise. That is why having the right equipment and fitting is crucial for your biking routine. It is especially important to feel comfortable in the clothes you are wearing while also being mindful of your own safety. Therefore having cycling apparel and clothing that suits you the best is a game-changer. It will make sure that you are protected and ready for any type of weather that awaits you outside.
Cycling is even good for skin
Lastly, we know you might be worried about the condition of your skin as well. You might think that this outdoor activity will dry out your skin and leave some damaging effects on it. However, it is quite the opposite. Cycling can actually be very beneficial for your skin. This type of exercise increases your blood circulation and therefore decreases toxin levels. This will ensure that a healthy amount of oxygen is carried to the skin. In other words, it allows your skin to breathe. It also boosts collagen levels which are known for maintaining the elastics of the skin and keeping it fresh and young-looking. After some time of regular cycling, your skin will be thanking you.
All things considered, cycling can be both a fun new hobby and exercise or a better mode of transport to work. It can even be a social activity that will help you meet new people who share the same passion for outdoor activities. Either way, it will keep you healthy, fit and happy even on those busy workdays that feel like they are never going to end.
- Lena Hemsworth
Lena Hemsworth is a lifestyle blogger, foodie, and lover of a good book. She's an everlasting enthusiast who believes that there is nothing better than starting your day with a hot cup of coffee.