Whether you are looking to lose some weight, feel better about yourself or simply take up a new activity, cycling is a great use of your time. Cycling is a fantastic hobby that you can enjoy by yourself or with friends, at dawn or at dusk and in spring or in fall. It is also a hobby that has multitudinous benefits for your health.
Alternative to running
If you are trying to shed some unnecessary pounds, running may seem like the go-to method for slimming down. However, an article from LiveStrong.org points out that cycling moderately for 40 minutes burns only slightly fewer calories than running for 40 minutes. What’s more, it is noted that cycling is easier for beginners to take up, and it is also a kinder activity for those with back and knee problems. The lack of impact also makes cycling easier on the joints, potentially helping reduce the likelihood of developing knee problems over time when compared to runners.
Decreasing reliance on vehicles
Once you become comfortable enough on the bike, you will find yourself becoming more comfortable with the idea of driving it in the presence of automobiles. Most cities and towns offer bike lanes, bike paths or sidewalks that make it easy for cyclists to navigate without fear of an accident, and thus, becoming proficient on the bike means that you will inevitably be able to forego jumping in the car for certain trips. Once you retire, you may even be able to sell your vehicle in favor of riding your bike as your primary source of transportation.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, an increase in physical activity consistent with shifting from driving a vehicle for short trips to riding a bike for similar trips results in an estimated 3 – 14-month gain in life expectancy. This increase in life expectancy would likely only increase exponentially if cycling is used as a means to increase cardiovascular strength, muscle and joint solvency, while also removing excess body fat and keeping weight low.
Better brain health
The benefits of cycling are not just felt in your muscles and joints, but also in your brain. According to Shape.com, a number of studies indicate that cycling improves both the integrity and density of the brain’s white matter, which improves the speed of connections between white matter and grey matter. Additional studies found that cycling for approximately three months’ time led to an increase in the mood, memory and stress-regulating brain-derived neurotropic factor. Riding a bike and taking in the surroundings can be a stress-reducing and mood-enhancing experience, and these studies indicate that doing so will make you sharper and happier from a mental perspective.
If you are considering taking up cycling, there are plenty of reasons to follow through. The benefits are great in number, and you will likely experience those benefits within just a few days’ worth of riding.