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Whether it’s competitively or just for getting to work, cycling offers numerous health benefits. And there’s no need to do 5000 miles a year at high intensity to enjoy these advantages. Cycling is a simple and effective way of training your body without too much effort. It’s also one of the rare sports that you can do at any age, whether you’re 3 or 83.
Cycling is a gentle, low-impact sport that gives your cardiovascular system an effective workout. In fact, it dilates the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure, which promotes good circulation.
It increases the elasticity of your arteries, therefore making them stronger.
According to a 2011 study published in the British Medical Journal, 30 minutes of cycling per day reduces the risk of heart disease by half.
Because it is mainly an endurance sport, your body draws its energy from your fat stocks, which helps keep your weight under control.
What is more, overweight people will suffer less from cycling than they would from walking or running. Since cycling is a low-impact sport, it doesn’t damage the muscles and joints in the same way.
When you pedal you use your leg muscles, particularly your thighs and calves. As your calf muscles contract, they squeeze your veins and help blood flow back to the upper body.
Cycling also prevents varicose veins from developing.
Like with any moderate, regular physical exercise, cycling aids digestion, increases blood supply to the brain, and helps maintain muscle.
As a result, if you cycle regularly your physical power will only drop by 5% each decade after the age of 30, compared with 10% for someone leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Bike commuters use their bike (town bike) as a means of getting to and from work.
It’s economical (no petrol needed), eco-friendly (almost no CO2 produced) and, above all, faster than sitting in traffic jams.
These commuters also get a huge benefit from cycling.
After any physical exercise, people are more relaxed. Going to work by bike and cycling home reduces nervous tension and anxiety, which is what causes stress. Cycling is more effective than taking a relaxant. You will drop off to sleep far faster, enjoying a restorative night’s rest.
Having commuted by bike once or twice a week for a few years (because I live over 35 km from work), I can say that it’s really enjoyable. Although you have to get up earlier in the morning, and you get home a bit later, the feeling of well-being and being able to clear your mind of work-related worries means you’re far calmer when you get home.
A Danish study of some 13,000 women and 17,000 men aged between 20 and 93 showed that cycling to and from work reduced their mortality risk by 28% (the researchers accounted for age, type of work, smoking, other physical activity and build).
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