Whether you need a little motivation or are looking to give your friends some facts about how cycling can improve your overall health, we have covered you. From boosting your immune system to reversing the effects of ageing, here’s what the latest scientific studies have to say about all the incredible benefits that daily cycling can bring to your health and wellbeing.
1. BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Too much of the body’s inflammation is a bad thing-especially for your immune system. While weeks of hard training can increase inflammation, consistent, moderate exercise according to this study may lower levels of inflammation, improve defence activity and metabolic health, and boost immune regulation. So, rather than stocking up on vitamin C, all you might need to do is get on the bike at least 3–5 times a week.
2. IMPROVES YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
As well as helping to reduce the risk of developing diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s by increasing BDNF proteins, cycling has also shown to boost emotional health. This study illustrates how daily activity, like cycling, can help lower levels of cortisol in the brain, which is associated with lowering symptoms of depression and treating common anxiety disorders.
3. REDUCES RISK OF HEART DISEASE
There is little debate about the beneficial effect of regular cardiovascular exercise on heart health. This study explains just in case you need proof, how cycling can reduce your chances of developing heart disease. As for heart attacks, another study showed cyclists having on average 15 percent fewer heart attacks than those non-cyclists among us who biked to work. The sweet spot appears to point to receiving heart-related health benefits in at least 20 minutes per day on the bike.
4. LOWERS STRESS
Anyone who has spent any time on the way to and from work in rush hour traffic knows just how stressful it is. Instead of dealing with it day by day, why not instead commute to work by bike (see statistics above)? Not only will you make more of your time and be more productive at work, but your stress levels will be lowered as well. This study shows how people who regularly exercise are more resistant to the emotional effects of acute stress. It can also help prevent many mental illnesses that are commonly associated with chronic stress.
5. HELPS IN WEIGHT LOSS
Because cycling is of low impact and can be done for extended periods at a moderate intensity, it has long been known to be a top choice for anyone looking to lose weight. While diet is generally an important part of any weight-loss plan, this study showed that even without diet restrictions, individuals who had been obese and cycled daily for six months lost 12 percent of body fat. Also, and cycling was a more effective activity than the walking and swimming groups in the same study.
6. REDUCES CANCER RISK
While not necessarily a cure exists, exercising — and more specifically cycling — can help to reduce your risk. This study demonstrates how commuting to work can significantly reduce your cancer (up to 45 percent) and overall disease mortality rate. For women, another study showing consistent daily exercise at moderate-intensity levels can lower the risk of breast cancer is presented here.
7. BOOSTS LIBIDO
Unlike popular belief, research now shows that cycling does not in fact cause sexual dysfunction. While you’ll still want to make sure you have a properly fitting saddle that doesn’t put undue pressure on your sensitive spots and cause numbness. Getting on the bike can actually benefit your sex life rather than harm it. This study details how exercise increases men’s sexual behaviour while this one explains how cycling might increase women’s sexual desire.
8. REVERSES AGING
If you want to look and feel younger, you might just need to get on the bike. Researchers from this study found cycling to have increased mitochondrial capacity at high intensities, which can help slow the ageing process and prevent age-related diseases. As for your muscles, cycling with a regular routine can also help to reverse age-related muscular atrophy.
9. PREVENTS DIABETES
In general, cycling and exercise are great ways to combat illness and reduce your risk as you age. A further benefit, as it turns out, is lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes. Although sedentary lifestyles have shown to increase risk factors, there is evidence that day-to-day recreational and commuter cycling can decrease diabetes initiation late in life.
10. BOOSTS HAPPINESS
If you’re riding regularly, then you’re probably aware of all those good feelings you’re having after the exercise. While some of this may be attributed to runner’s high and all those endorphins released after physical exertion into your brain. This study shows that even as little as 20 minutes of exercise can boost a person’s mood for up to 12 hours. All you need to do is get your heart rate up to at least 112 beats per minute while you ride for the rest of your day to get those happy feelings.
Recommended Readings: How Much Exercise Do Women Really Need?