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Cycling is definitely a great way to ensure fitness and health, and it has plenty of benefits for your body. Here’s a look at what happens when you start cycling regularly.
Your heart becomes healthier
Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular workout, which strengthens your heart and lungs and helps lower your blood pressure. One study found that regular cyclists had a 41% lower risk of dying from any cause and a 45% lower risk of catching a heart illness when compared to those who didn’t exercise.
Your muscles get stronger
When you ride a bike, you use all the muscles in your legs, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. But cycling also works your upper body, including your core muscles, arms, and shoulders. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to ride faster and further.
Your body fat percentage goes down
Cycling is also a great exercise to burn calories and lose weight. One hour of moderate-intensity cycling can burn up to 585 calories. And if you continue to cycle regularly, you’ll keep your excess weight off for good.
Your joints get healthier
Cycling is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on your joints. This makes it an excellent choice for people with joint problems or injuries. Additionally, the low-impact nature of cycling can also help prevent future joint problems.
You sleep better
Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality. And since cycling is an excellent form of exercise, it can help you sleep better at night. One study found that people who cycled for 30 minutes every day slept better than those who didn’t exercise.
The benefits of cycling
Cycling is a low-impact cardio workout with many benefits for your mind and body. When you start cycling, your body will undergo many changes. Your heart will become stronger, your muscles will become more defined, and you will begin to see a decrease in body fat.
Improved fitness from cycling
The first thing you’ll notice when you start cycling is an improvement in your fitness. You’ll begin to breathe more deeply and more often. Your heart will beat faster, and you’ll begin to sweat. This is all part of the body’s natural cooling system at work.
You might feel a little uncomfortable initially, but this will soon pass once your body is accustomed to the new exercise regime. You might even start to enjoy the feeling of working hard and breathing deeply!
As your fitness improves, you’ll find that you can cycle for more extended periods without getting tired. You’ll also be able to ride further and faster as your leg muscles get more robust and more efficient.
Weight loss from cycling
Cycling is an effective, low-impact exercise that can be done indoors or outdoors. And it’s a fun activity that can be enjoyed solo or with friends and family.
Here are some of the ways cycling can help you lose weight:
- It burns calories. A 155-pound person can be burning about 298 calories in 30 minutes by riding a stationary bike at a moderate speed. And a person who weighs 185 pounds can burn 354 calories in the same amount of time.
- It builds muscle. In addition to burning calories, cycling also helps to build muscle. This is especially true if you ride uphill or do interval training (riding at different speeds). Building muscle helps to boost your metabolism, which leads to even more calorie burning.
- It improves your cardiovascular health. Cycling is excellent for your heart health. It strengthens your heart and lungs and helps in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- It reduces stress levels. Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress levels. And, when you’re less stressed, you’re more likely to make healthy choices (like eating healthy foods and avoiding comfort eating).
- It boosts your mood. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. So, when you exercise regularly, you’re likely to feel happier and less depressed overall.
Improved overall health from cycling
Mental health benefits of cycling
Cycling has been shown to have several mental health benefits, including reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. One study found that people who cycle for 30 minutes three times a week can see a significant improvement in their levels of anxiety and depression.
Cycling also releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting properties. So, getting on your bike could be a great way to boost your mood if you’re feeling down.
Physical health benefits of cycling
Cycling is great for improving your physical health. It is low-impact, so it is gentle on your joints and can also help improve your balance and coordination.
Cycling can also help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and even Type 2 diabetes.
The Risks of Cycling
Cycling is excellent for your legs and cardiovascular system, but it does come with some risks. The most common injuries from cycling are knee and ankle injuries, but more severe injuries can also occur. When you start cycling, be sure to warm up properly and stretch your muscles beforehand to avoid damage.
The most common cycling accidents are falls from the bike. These are often caused by the rider losing control of their bike, hitting an obstacle, or colliding with another rider or vehicle.
Falls can cause serious injuries, especially if the rider is not protecting themselves adequately, like by wearing a helmet. Head injuries are the leading cause of death in cycling accidents, so it is essential to wear a helmet whenever you ride on a cycle or motorbike.
Other common injuries include broken bones, cuts and scrapes, and bruises. These are usually not serious and will heal on their own with time. However, more severe injuries, such as internal bleeding or organ damage, can occur in severe accidents. If you are experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms after an accident, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately.
When you start cycling, you risk developing specific injuries, mainly if you do not take the necessary precautions. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Achilles tendonitis: is basically an inflamed Achilles tendon. It connects the calf muscle to the heel, is often caused by overuse, and can be very painful.
- Patellar tendinitis: This is an inflammation of the patellar tendon, which is the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. It is often caused by overuse and can be very painful.
- IT band syndrome: is an inflammation of the iliotibial (IT) band, a ligament that runs from the hip to the shinbone. It is often caused by overuse and can be very painful.
- Plantar fasciitis: is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot. It is often caused by overuse and can be very painful.
Dehydration is one of the main risks associated with cycling, especially in hot weather. When you sweat, you continuously lose your body’s water and electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, fatigue, headache, and dizziness. To prevent dehydration, you need to keep drinking plenty of fluids, particularly raw water, before, during, and after your ride. Sports drinks can be a good option because they replace lost electrolytes in addition to hydration.
How to stay safe when cycling
Cycling is great for getting in shape while having fun, but knowing how to stay safe is essential. Wearing a helmet and being aware of your surroundings are two of the most important things you can do.
Wear a helmet
Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just a beginner, a helmet is one of the most essential pieces of protective gear you can own. The helmet will protect your head in a fall or collision and could save your life.
But not all helmets are created equal. You want to make sure you get a quality one. First, ensure it is certified by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) or another similar organization. Second, find one that fits snugly but is not uncomfortable— being able to fit two of your fingers between your eyebrows and the front edge of the helmet is a good sign. Third, ensure the straps are adjustable and secure so that the helmet does not move around while you are riding. Finally, choose a helmet that is brightly colored or has reflective materials so that you are more visible to other cyclists and motorists.
Wearing a helmet is definitely the best way to protect your head while cycling, but it is not the only way. You should also avoid riding at night or in low-light conditions and always use proper hand signals to communicate with fellow cyclists and drivers. Following these simple safety tips can help ensure that your next cycling adventure is safe.
Use lights on your Bicycle
Although it may seem like a hassle, using lights when cycling is crucial, especially at night or in low-light conditions. Not only will it help you see where you’re going, but it will also make you more visible to other people on the road.
There are quite a few types of lights that you can use, and the best option will depend on your cycling.
For example, if you’re mountain biking, you’ll need a different light than road cycling.
Consider these tips for choosing the right light:
- Make sure the light is bright enough to illuminate your path.
- Choose a light that is easy to mount on your bike.
- Get a light with different settings to adjust the brightness depending on the conditions.
- Make sure the batteries are easy to replace.
- Make sure its size is big enough to be visible to vehicles or other cycles from a big of distance.
The most important thing you can do to ensure your safety while cycling is to make sure you are visible to other drivers on the road. Wearing bright colors during the day and reflective gear at night will help make sure you are seen. You can also outfit your bike with reflective tape or lights.
Follow the rules of the road
Bicycles do get considered as vehicles, and like any other thing with wheels on the road, they are subject to all the rules of the road. That means you must ride your bicycle in the same direction as other traffic and follow all the laws of the road that apply to other vehicles, including stop signs, traffic signals, and pavement markings. You are also required to signal turns.
In addition, some specific rules apply to cyclists:
- You must ride in a designated bicycle lane where one is provided, and it is safe to do so. If there is no bicycle lane, you can ride on the road, but you must ride as far to the right as possible.
- You can ride on sidewalks unless signs indicate that cycling is not allowed. When cycling on sidewalks, you must yield to pedestrians.
- You cannot hold onto a moving vehicle or be towed by one.
- If you cycle at night or in low-light conditions, it is essential to have a white light in the front of your bike and a red light or reflector in the back.
If you are not following these rules, you could be fined or even charged with a traffic offense.