Being inspired by many of the athletes we have worked with over the years especially Jim Gump – the man running 20,000 miles around the US to get kids active and raise awareness about obesity – we though it was time that we took responsibility for doing the same and encouraging people to become more active and healthy.
Robert Parker is Co-Founder of CyclistChallenge. Robert’s knowledge of cycling is second to none. We’re delighted to have him contribute a guest blogger for us that we hope his post will inspire you to lead a healthier lifestyle. Enjoy!
8 Reasons To Hop On Your Bike And Start Cycling
Through the years, there have been very many reasons why human beings have enjoyed riding a bicycle. Musician John Lennon claimed it made him feel happy, while former president George W. Bush said that it gets his heart rate up and helps his mind expand and relax. Others believe that riding a bicycle is the best way to experience, appreciate, and conserve our beautiful world, while for others, it is the truest sport and one of the most effective forms of exercise. Regardless of your reasons, there is no denying that cycling has a lot of physical, emotional, and health benefits. The following are some of the benefits of bike riding.
It aids in weight loss
Clocking mileage on your bike can also help you burn calories and lose weight. This is because cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise. The average person stands to burn up to 500 calories in one hour of cycling. It is also a great way to ward off waist expansion and incremental weight gain. Riding a bike helps to get your heart rate up to a pace you can maintain for a reasonable amount of time. While cardio exercises are a great way to lose weight, a lot of people find them tiresome and boring. Fortunately, riding your bike outside can be a fun and exhilarating experience. Take to the hills and enjoy the scenery while cycling for weight loss. You won’t know where the time went.
It’s much easier on your legs and joints
Cycling is a lot easier on your joints that jogging or running. This is because pedaling is a low-impact activity that gets your heart pumping and your legs moving without pounding your feet and joints. Unlike running, cycling engages your leg muscles without exerting too much force on your knees. This makes cycling ideal for people who are recovering from a knee injury, as the movement of cycling is very fluid and does not cause any further pain or damage. It is also ideal for a person who is obese, as other forms of exercises may be harder on their joints because of their weight. However, it is still advisable to check with your doctor first before cycling if you have ever suffered a knee injury.
Pushing pedals is an aerobic workout
This means that cycling is good for your heart, your blood vessels and your brain. Aerobic exercises, such as bike riding, help release endorphins, which are chemicals that help you feel good about yourself.
Cycling helps build and tone muscles in your body. During the down-stroke or the power phase of cycling, you tone the quadriceps in your thighs, the gluteus muscles in your buttocks, and the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles in your calves. During the up-stroke, you tone the flexor muscles at the front of your hips and the hamstrings at the back of your thighs. Upper body muscles benefit from cycling as well, including your abdominal muscles, chest and shoulder muscles, arm muscles, and muscles in your back.
Gives your brain a boost
According to a study from the University of Illinois, the cardio-respiratory fitness you achieve from cycling can help in building new cells in an area of the brain known as the hippocampus. This is an area of the brain that’s responsible for memory, which can deteriorate after a person reaches the age of 30. Cycling boosts oxygen and blood flow to your brain, which helps in the regeneration of receptors. Therefore, cycling is a great exercise for the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
Helps improve mental and emotional health
A few minutes of cycling each day can do wonders for your brain power and your emotional health. Cycling can make your brain sharper, and help you feel more energetic and less tired. A 30-minute cycling session can improve creative thinking, memory, and reaction time. Furthermore, medical experts recommend cycling to help relieve stress and reduce depression and anxiety.
It’s a fast and effective method of transportation
In very busy cities, cycling has become a legitimate form of transportation. For starters, it is free for anyone who already owns a bicycle. It does not result in the emission of greenhouse gases, making it safe for the environment. In places with a lot of traffic, a person on a bicycle might actually get to work faster than the person in a car.
You can cycle for the rest of your life
Even if you are very fit right now, there are certain activities, such as weight lifting, that are going to get harder once you get older. However, cycling is one of those exercises that you can do even during your sunset years. This is because it is a low-impact sport that is kinder to people with age-related stiffness in their joints. A study by the Tour de France even suggests that cycling can help a person live longer.
Get pedaling to enjoy all the advantages of riding a bike, especially if you wish to burn calories and lose weight. Hoping on your bike every day, even if it is just for a few minutes, can make a huge difference to how you think, feel, and look.
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