Keeping active is vital if you want to be in your best potential physical shape. Being fit and healthy promotes a good quality of life, reduces the risk of conditions such as strokes and heart attacks, and it can improve your overall general mood. If you find an activity you love, exercise doesn’t have to be a boring necessity, and you might actually find it’s quite addictive after just a short time.
However, while exercise is important, you still need to be careful not to damage yourself as you work out. It’s the reason stretching before an arduous activity is so important, and it’s why even professional athletes will take sufficient rest from time to time as to avoid injuries.
Additionally, some exercises naturally wear and tear your joints and muscles. Constantly running or jogging on hard ground can result in a multitude of problems, from constant pain in your lower extremities to postural issues. Lifting weights incorrectly can lead to muscle tears and in severe cases, life-long inflictions.
When it’s so important to get the safe exercise you need while enjoying yourself, you might want to consider taking up the hobby of cycling. If you’re an adventurer always looking for an adrenaline kick, mountain biking promises to excite. Alternatively, you might prefer a paced ride over easy terrain such as roads and along trails next to rivers.
Whatever style of cycling you prefer, you should remember to buy appropriate clothing, both to maximise the benefits and remain comfortable. Cycling jerseys help your skin breathe, and the importance of wearing a helmet is well-known. Look for gear that’s appropriate for your preferred biking discipline.
Health Benefits of Cycling
Whatever cycling discipline you choose, you’ll realise just how great an activity it is if you have a basic understanding of the plethora of health benefits it provides. From training your major muscle groups to increasing your stamina, cycling is arguably one of the best exercises for your health.
- Minimal joint and muscle wear and tear – As aforementioned, running can prove to be damaging in the long run, and bad form with any exercise can result in unwanted issues. Cycling is a low impact activity, as the bike and its components deal with most of the impact as you ride over difficult terrain in challenging weather conditions.
- Choose your own intensity – If you’re just starting out, you can ride slow and on the easily tackled trails. If you’re already in good physical shape, you can push yourself as hard as you like by riding up steep hills and mountains and taking on the more difficult trails. If you start jogging only to find making it past a mile is almost impossible, the activity can become frustrating rather quickly. Even if you consider your current fitness levels to be poor, you’ll still likely be able to cover a decent few miles before you have to resign.
- A great workout for your muscles – When you cycle, you’re pretty much working out every muscle in your body – and you’re doing it safely. It goes without saying that pedalling works out important muscle groups in your legs, but battling up hills and over tough terrains works out many muscle groups throughout your entire body.
- It’s a fantastic cardiovascular exercise – While cycling is great for working your muscles, the stamina you’ll need to ride far and wide makes it a great cardiovascular workout as well. Every time you push yourself to go a little bit faster and ride for a little bit longer, you’ll be increasing your fitness levels and your stamina with it. The results could include a reduced resting heart rate and a decreased risk of heart disease later in life.
- An effective way to lose weight – Cycling burns body fat by increasing your metabolic rate and working your muscles. Less fat and more muscles is a win-win situation, and you could burn up to 2,000 calories a week if you ensure you cycle regularly.
- It’s easy! – When it really comes down to it, no matter how good your intentions, you can’t just head to the local gym and get to work if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you try to lift weights without any knowledge of the proper technique, the results could be damaging. Cycling, on the other hand, is something almost anybody can do from a young age, and that means you won’t have to learn any new skills in order to jump on your bike and start living an active lifestyle.
Other benefits of biking include the fact that it’s environmentally friendly and a great mode of transport for heading to local destinations quickly. You don’t usually have to wait behind long lines of cars in heavy traffic, and coasting down hills and conquering difficult trails will give you a feeling of immense satisfaction. In short, here are the main health benefits of regular cycling:
- Maximised fitness levels
- Stronger muscles
- Enhanced joint mobility
- Decreased levels of body fat
- Improved stamina and flexibility
- Stronger bones
One of the biggest incentives to be physically fit is that your mood and quality of life is likely to improve, too. Here’s what can expect to experience after you’ve kept up with your healthy hobby for a prolonged period of time:
- Reduced levels of stress
- Fewer bouts of anxiety and depression
- Decreased proneness to diseases and viruses
- Improved general overall mood
It’s important to remember that to truly enjoy the benefits of regular exercise, you need to maintain a healthy diet at the same time. There’s little point being a regular exerciser if you spend the rest of your day filling up on junk and fatty foods. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is easily achievable, and there might be many delicious healthy dishes for you to try.
You also need to remember that exercise should be enjoyed responsibly. That means stretching before embarking on a long-distance ride, and it especially means wearing responsible safety gear. Many cyclists neglect to wear a helmet or pads, but accidents do happen and you’ll want to be prepared for a tumble. As long as you are responsible and understand how to ride safely, there’s no reason cycling couldn’t be a great way to boost your fitness levels.