Cycling is a fantastic physical activity. There is something about a leisurely ride through the woods, alone with your thoughts, or taking out your frustrations by riding furiously on the bike trainer!
It is an exercise that you can always find an excuse to do – regardless of the weather.
If you love riding your bike (or need some motivation), the contents of this article will be just what you need!
The benefits of cycling are not discussed enough. You may not feel like you are doing much, but with time, the results will speak for themselves. You will notice an improvement in your health, mentally, physically and even spiritually.
Check out some of these health benefits of cycling:
Improved Memory and Brain Power in General
Would you have ever guessed that cycling boosts your memory? Probably not. A while ago, researchers decided to see what happens to the brain when someone exercises. They focused on aerobic exercises. At the end of the study, the physically active subjects had a bigger brain; the hippocampus, to be specific.
The hippocampus is the part of your brain that you use for learning and memory. The more you work out, the more it grows. Isn’t it amazing how the human body works? A bigger hippocampus means that more nutrients and oxygen are distributed to that area. In turn, your capacity to learn improves.
Another thing, when you are riding your bicycle, more blood is pumped into your brain. Some brain sections receive 70% more blood when you are physically active. Even after you are done cycling, the blood flow remains high for a while.
The increase in blood flow is beneficial because it contains oxygen, nutrients and all the things that your brain may need to stay healthy. Consequently, you may end up dodging dementia later in life.
Better Mental Health
Stress, anxiety and depression are huge problems in today’s society. The three are closely related. Happiness is one of the most important goals for almost every human. You want to be happy and make your loved ones happy too. Unfortunately, happiness is not a destination and you have to find it right where you are.
The first step to doing this is managing your stress levels, depression and anxiety.
Physical exercises such as cycling are known to have the same effect as anti-depressants. They calm you and brighten your mood. Another effect of being physically active is reduced anxiety sensitivity. Regular cycling can be an effective way of managing your mental condition.
Stress levels are reduced when you exercise. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that there is no better way to keep your stress levels low than by exercising. It is effective and works almost instantly. As soon as your heart rate starts going up, stress hormones (cortisol) are excreted.
At the same time, your body produces a lot of dopamine and endorphins. These are awesome hormones that reduce pain, make you energetic and relax you. That is why you always feel better after a workout session.
People who age well, without getting disabled or developing the conditions that can come with age are said to have aged successfully. So what contributes to this? Genetics, of course, play a big part but so does your lifestyle.
It has been discovered that cycling facilitates the production of the main immune cells known as T cells. As you age, their level goes down because the organ that develops them starts to shrink. That is why your immune system gets weaker with age and you become vulnerable. Since exercising boosts the level of these cells, you may want to get on your bike more often if you would like to age well.
There was another study by an Australian university focusing on the relationship between exercising and aging. The results showed that active individuals had a higher likelihood of being healthy, even in their old age.
Their inactive counterparts were at a higher risk of developing heart disease, respiratory conditions, disability and depression.
You can lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight by cycling. You don’t even have to go beast mode to burn calories. Just one hour of easy cycling burns about 500 calories. If you keep it up for seven days you will have burned 3500 calories by the end of the week. That means you will lose one pound that week.
Now imagine what would happen if you purposed to burn more calories by riding harder. Draw a schedule or find one online and stick to it! For better results, eat well and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Cycling is a low impact exercise so it is ideal for everyone – including the elderly and those with weaker bones.
Cycling is a convenient activity. You should try to take advantage of that and reap all these positives. The health benefits of cycling are extensive.
You will be amazed at what 60-90 minutes of daily cycling can do. It strengthens your immune system leading to successful aging. Your mental health will improve and so will your memory. Furthermore, you may end up achieving your body goals.
David De Haan – www.biketrainerworld.com