To be fit and healthy, you need to be physically active. Regular physical activity can help protect you from serious diseases like obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes, and arthritis. Riding a bike regularly is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Cycling is a healthy, low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, from young children to older adults. It’s also fun, cheap, and good for the environment.

Going to work or shopping is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your daily routine. An estimated 1 billion people ride bicycles every day, for transportation, recreation, and sports.

Riding a bike for health and exercise

It only takes two to four hours a week to achieve an overall improvement in your health. Cycling or riding a bicycle is:

Low impact – causing less stress and injury than most other forms of exercise.

Good muscle training – riding a bike uses all the major muscle groups while pedaling.

Easy – unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical ability. Most people know how to ride a bicycle, and once you learn it, you don’t forget it.

Good for strength and endurance – cycling increases endurance, strength, and aerobic capacity.

As intense as you like – biking can be done at a very low intensity to begin with if you are recovering from an injury or illness, but it can build up to demanding physical training.

A fun way to get in shape – the adventure you get from hiking up the hills and being outdoors means that you are more likely to continue doing it regularly, compared to other physical activities that keep you indoors or require times or places specials.

Time efficient – As a mode of transportation, cycling replaces sedentary (sitting) time spent driving motor vehicles or using trams, trains or buses with healthy exercise.

Health Benefits of Regular Bicycling

Cycling is primarily an aerobic activity, which means that the heart, blood vessels, and lungs all receive a workout. It is possible to breathe more deeply, sweat, and experience an increase in body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level.

The health benefits of regular cycling include:

  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • Improved joint mobility
  • Decreased stress levels
  • Improves posture and coordination
  • Reinforced bones
  • Decreased levels of body fat
  • Prevention or treatment of the disease
  • Reduction of anxiety and depression.

Cycling and specific health problems

Riding a bike can improve both physical and mental health , and it can reduce the chances of many health problems.

Control of obesity and weight

Cycling is a good way to control or reduce weight as it increases metabolic rate, builds muscle, and burns body fat. If you are trying to lose weight, cycling should be combined with a healthy eating plan. It is a comfortable form of exercise and you can change the time and intensity to suit your rhythms.

Research suggests that you can burn at least around 2,000 calories a week through exercise. Stable cycles burn about 300 calories per hour.

Cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases include stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack. Riding a bike regularly stimulates and improves the heart , lungs, and circulation, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cycling strengthens the heart muscles, lowers the resting pulse, and lowers blood fat levels. Research also shows that people who cycle to work have two to three times less exposure to pollution than car passengers, thus improving their lung function.

A Danish study conducted more than 14 years ago with 30,000 people between the ages of 20 and 93, found that people who regularly ride bikes are protected from heart disease.

Cancer

Many researchers have studied the relationship between exercise and cancer, especially colon and breast cancer. Research has shown that riding a bike regularly reduces the chance of colon cancer. Some evidence suggests that regular cycling reduces the risk of breast cancer.

Diabetes

The rate of type 2 diabetes is increasing and it is a serious public health problem. Lack of physical activity is thought to be one of the main reasons why people develop this condition. Large-scale research in Finland found that people who cycled for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes.

Bone injuries, arthritis

Cycling improves strength, balance, and coordination. It can also help prevent falls and fractures. Riding a bike is an ideal form of exercise if you have osteoarthritis, as it is a low-impact exercise that places little emphasis on the joints.

Cycling does not specifically help osteoporosis (a disease that weakens the bones), as it is not a weight-lifting exercise.

Mental diseases

Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress can be reduced by riding a bike. This is due to the effects of the exercise itself and the enjoyment that riding a bike can bring.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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