Cyclists are a diverse group. Some of us ride fat tires down rocky trails, some of us ride road bikes up burly hills, some of us ride for sport and some of us ride just for fun. Some ride for the adrenaline rush and some ride their bikes for basic transportation. But all of us can take advantage of the healthy benefits of cycling, even if we never ever buy a single item made from spandex.
Bicycling, along with being the most efficient mode of human locomotion, is also one of the best all-around activities for improving our health. From head to toes, cycling’s health benefits are hard to beat.
1. Cycling is good for your heart: Cycling is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease.
2. Cycling is good for your muscles: Riding a bike is great for toning and building your muscles, especially in the lower half of the body – your calves, your thighs, and your rear end. It’s also a great low-impact mode of exercise for those with joint conditions or injuries to the legs or hips, which might keep them from being active.
3. Cycling is good for your waistline: You can burn a lot of calories while biking, especially when you cycle faster than a leisurely pace, and cycling has been associated with helping to keep weight gain down. And cycling has the added benefit of ramping up your metabolism, even after the ride is over.
4. Cycling is good for your lifespan: Bicycling is a great way to increase your longevity, as cycling regularly has been associated with increased ‘life-years’, even when adjusted for risks of injury through cycling.
5. Cycling is good for your coordination: Moving both feet around in circles while steering with both your hands and your body’s own weight is good practice for your coordination skills.
6. Cycling is good for your mental health: Riding a bike has been linked to improved mental health.
7. Cycling is good for your immune system: Cycling can strengthen your immune system, and could protect against certain kinds of cancers.
Even with all of these health benefits to cycling, some of us may ride them just for fun. I know I do. Why do you ride a bike? Let us know in the comments below.
Image: pasotraspaso at Flickr.
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