7 benefits of cycling: why you should start cycling this summer
You’ve probably noticed more and more cyclists on the roads recently. Well, cycling’s popularity has soared during the past year, and there is a reason for that: there are so many benefits of cycling. Cycling is a fast, fun and flexible sport which can take you far away in a matter of minutes. On top of that, it results in far less injuries and long-term joint pain compared to running.
However, some people tend to be a little reserved about cycling, perhaps due to the potential dangers of busy roads. But don’t let fear stop you. When done safely (yes, we’re talking ugly helmets and well-oiled brakes) there are loads of benefits of cycling – and this summer is the perfect time to give it a go.
It’s simple: one of the key benefits of cycling is it’s good for you. It’s a cardiovascular exercise that raises your heart rate and can reduce the risk of developing illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Regular cycling can also improve your posture and balance, making it great for all elements of daily life. And, cycling is great for those looking to lose weight or tone up. Cycling can burn up to 400 calories per hour and works the legs, arms, glutes and shoulders. This means it’s a great full body workout that you’ll certainly feel the next day.
Cycling doesn’t just benefit the body, but the mind too. Exercise is proven to be a great way of reducing stress and anxiety, as it pumps up those glorious endorphins. And, according to Charles Graham-Dixon, cycling is an extra special way to reduce stress because it promotes an “inherent mindfulness”. Being able to focus on rhythm, pedal stroke and speed, while being outdoors in a peaceful setting can hugely reduce stress and promote a positive frame of mind. So, next time you’re feeling anxious or stressed, consider a gentle bike ride to focus on the mind and soul.
Speedy and cost-effective travel
Cycling has become popular over the past year because it transports us quickly without needing to get on public transport. In fact, cycling is a great way to travel without spending a penny. You’ll be surprised how much you can save by simply not paying for weekly petrol or train tickets during your commute. On top of that, it’s great for an adventure and there are all manner of epic bike-packing trips that you can do here in the UK. And, the more you cycle, the better you’ll become. You’ll notice that the ominous steep hill no longer phases you and you’re zooming to work in no time.
Sense of community
While some cyclists appreciate the alone time, others find a sense of community in the sport. There’s something unique about cycling with a group of friends and reaching your destination together. If you’re not sure where to find your fellow cycling fanatics, try signing up for a race such as Ride the Night London, where women cycle 50K or 100K through the night to raise funds for breast cancer charities. And, once you get into the sense of community surrounding cycling, you’ll find it becomes pretty addictive. There’s lots of cool gear to buy and great events to attend.
Much like walking, cycling is a more environmentally friendly way to get around than the car or even public transport. If you’re a regular driver, you probably already know that car exhausts release harmful gases which contribute to ground-level ozone and global warming. So luckily we have the perfect alternative with cycling. And, cities across the UK are become more and more cycle-friendly, so now is the perfect time to start. So, not only does cycling have an abundance of benefits for your own health, but it also has benefits for everyone else’s health. It really is a win-win.
Connecting with the outdoors
Cycling is great because it gives you a chance to connect to the outdoors and get a real sense of adventure. It’s normally pretty easy to cycle into the countryside, even when you’re based in a big city. And, cycling can help you to navigate closer to home and get a better sense of your neighbourhood.
Low impact exercise
We all know that exercise is good for us. But, for some people, it isn’t as easy as lacing up some running shoes or hitting the gym. People with chronic illnesses, injuries or disabilities might be unable to do certain exercises. A major benefit of cycling is that it’s low impact exercise which is kind on the joints, making it a great alternative to running or HIIT workouts. It’s ideal for those recovering from injuries or suffering from back pain or arthritis. But, if you’re not sure, check with your GP before getting on the bike.