Most of us want to be fit and healthy. We want to look good, and we also want to feel good. Often times, however, that’s easier said than done. It takes effort and commitment and motivation to change our lifestyle in ways that will help us achieve our wellness goals. We frequently ask ourselves, “How do I begin? Where will I find the motivation?”
As a personal trainer in the Club, we find that people are more likely to stick with a program and stay motivated if they find a way to actually enjoy becoming fitter. There are many different sports and activities we can choose from and one is bound to resonate.
Personally, I am quite passionate about cycling and find it to be an enjoyable, safe and beneficial experience. And, riding your bicycle regularly is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Cycling is an exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages from young children to older adults. It is fun, cheap and good for the environment! An estimated one billion people ride bicycles every day – for transport, recreation and sport. Why not to be one of them?
- Low impact. It causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise
- Easy. It does not require high levels of physical skill. Most people know how to ride a bike.
- Good for strength and stamina. It increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness.
- As intense as you want. Cycling can be done at very low intensity to begin with, if recovering from injury or illness, but it can be built up to a demanding physical workout.
- A fun way to get fit. The adventure and buzz you get from coasting down hills and being outdoors means you are more likely to continue to cycle regularly. It’s also a great social sport when you go for spins with a cycling club.
- Time-efficient. As a mode of transport, cycling replaces sedentary (sitting) time spent driving motor vehicles or using trams, trains or buses with healthy exercise.
What are the Health Benefits?
Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. Performing the activity regularly provides you with a variety of physical and mental health benefits, such as:
- Increasing cardiovascular fitness
- Increasing muscle strength and flexibility
- Improving joint mobility
- Improving posture and coordination
- Decreasing body fat levels
- Preventing or managing of certain diseases
- Decreasing stress levels
- Reducing anxiety and depression
Additionally, it can also aid you in the management of the following conditions:
Obesity and weight control. Cycling is a good way to control or reduce weight as it raises your metabolic rate, builds muscle and burns body fat. It is a comfortable form of exercise, and you can change the time and intensity, building up slowly and varying the program to suit your needs and goals. Please note, that as with all exercise, if you’re trying to lose weight, cycling must be combined with a healthy eating plan.
Cardiovascular diseases including stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack. Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. It strengthens your heart muscles, lowers your resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels. Research also shows that people who cycle to work have two to three times less exposure to pollution than car commuters, so their lung function is improved.
Diabetes. Lack of physical activity is thought to be a major reason people develop this condition. Large-scale research in Finland found that people who cycled for more that 30 minutes per day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes.
Bone injuries. Cycling improves strength, balance and coordination. It may also help to prevent falls and fractures.
Osteoarthritis. Riding a bike is an ideal form of exercise if you have osteoarthritis because it is a low-impact exercise that places little stress on the joints. However, cycling does not specifically help osteoporosis (bone-thinning disease) because it is not a weight-bearing exercise.
After discovering all the health benefits (and did we mention that it’s fun!) are you motivated to get fit by starting with cycling?