Inspired to get on your bike? 5 amazing ways cycling can boost health and wellbeing
By Liz Connor. Published 2020-05-19BOLD-Fitness
From feeling happier to protecting your heart, TheBoldAge spins through the benefits of biking.
It may help you to live longerIt should come as no big surprise that low levels of physical activity have been linked to a myriad of serious and life-threatening health conditions, and a cycle a day can be one of the most gentle and enjoyable ways to get moving. “There’s lots of evidence to suggest that cycling can promote long life,” says Bryan McCullough, a clinical manager and physiotherapist from Pure Sports Medicine. “For instance, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, conducted on over 80,000 British adults, found that cycling participation produced a significant reduction in causes of mortality – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.”Another study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that commuters who cycled had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease, and 40% lower risk of dying from cancer than those that didn’t.
You can lose weightStruggling to lose those stubborn extra pounds? It might be time to pocket the car keys and invest in a bike. “Cycling is a great way to shed the calories, build muscles in the lower body and gradually improve cardiovascular fitness at a sustainable pace,” says Louise Williams, cycling expert at Halfords (halfords.com).Cycling also packs on lean muscle – particularity in the legs. When your foot hits the downstroke, you use a fiery combination of the glutes in the buttocks, the quadriceps in the thighs, and the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calves to propel you forward. As you backstroke the wheel back into position, the body then relies on the hamstrings in the back of the thighs and the flexor muscles in the front of the hips to keep you in motion, creating a total lower-body workout.
Perhaps best of all, it's very low-impact“Perhaps best of all, it’s very low-impact, ” says Williams, “which means it’s much easier on the knees than running. You can get all of the benefits of a challenging workout without straining your joints.”