If you want to be physically active and healthy while having fun in the process, biking is a good option. Frequent cycling can help you reduce your risk for various health issues linked to a sedentary lifestyle. More than that, riding a bike is a simple activity that you can do anytime.
But is biking a good workout to be an effective alternative to going to the gym? Read on to know more about how cycling works and its numerous health benefits.
Is Cycling an Intense Workout?
Biking is a low-impact exercise. It doesn’t overwork your muscles and hurt your body as much as other workouts. Also, bike rides allow for flexible pacing changes, so you can choose to go as fast or as slow as you want.
Why is Biking Good for You?
Like other forms of exercise, biking offers a variety of health benefits. We’ve listed below some of the perks biking contributes to your overall wellness.
Biking Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you’re serious about losing weight, regular bike rides can help you reach that goal. Cycling regularly helps increase your metabolism and lets you build muscle as you burn calories.
It Helps You Reach Optimal Cardiovascular Health
Biking is one of the best cardio workouts you can do. The activity induces deeper breaths, sweating, and a higher body temperature for better fitness. Studies also show that physical activities like cycling could help you keep your blood pressure low. Research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that their physically active subjects reduced their risk for high blood pressure by 31 percent.
Get Stronger & More Muscular Legs
Riding a bike is also a total lower body workout. It works your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and other leg muscles. This leg strengthening also helps you pedal better, allowing you to ride longer distances.
It Also Engages Your Core Muscles
Apart from your legs, biking gives your core muscles a good burn. Keeping your bike in place and staying upright as you pedal fast builds your core strength. Riding a bike also strengthens your abdominal and back muscles, which help support your spine and make you ride steadier and more comfortably.
It Gives Your Mood a Much-Needed Boost
Biking isn’t just for improving your physical health. It could also cheer you up. When riding your bike, it helps you focus by keeping your eyes on the road. Similar to a runner’s high, going for quick bike rides can be a mood booster for your weary self. Exercising releases endorphins that help improve your overall mood while lessening stress.
Biking Reduces the Risk of Disease & Manage Health Conditions
Regular exercise is important for disease prevention and management. Frequent bike rides help you stay active to keep you from having health problems related to a sedentary lifestyle. Cycling can help you keep the following conditions from affecting your health:
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
Have Better Balance, Posture, & Coordination
As you get older and idle, your sense of balance diminishes. Biking helps you keep your body steady. Since cycling already needs proper posture to be effective, regularly doing it improves and maintains your balance, coordination, and posture. Optimal balance also prevents you from getting injuries from falls and other related accidents.
Cycle Longer, Live Longer
Some studies have also proven that biking could add more years to your life. In 2011, research involving Tour de France cyclists saw an average lifespan of 81.5 years for its subjects. That’s 17% more than the general population’s 73.5-year longevity. Also, according to a 2018 study, one to 60 minutes of cycling could make you 23% less likely to die.
What is the Proper Bike Form?
If you’re going on a bike ride, it’s best to keep your body in the right position. Here’s how you can maintain proper posture while biking:
- Relax and lower your shoulders while riding. The lower your shoulders are, the easier it is for you to look at your surroundings.
- Make sure your elbows are bent. Position them to your sides for better stability.
- Avoid bending your wrists. Keep your forearms and fingers firm while riding.
- Keep your back in a neutral position. It should create a somewhat straight line between your hips and shoulders.
- Let your knees move over the ball of your foot or your bike pedals. Bent-out knees can stop you from pedaling smoothly and get you injured.
How to Make Biking a Proper Workout
Cycling can be done indoors or outdoors. Roads, bike paths, and mountain trails are great places to pedal outdoors. But if you’re biking indoors, using a stationary bike or placing your outdoor bike on an indoor trainer will do.
For outdoor cycling, you can start on a flat bike trail or road. Mountain or off-road biking is also a must-try if you want a change in scenery. You can do bike rides in any of these places for 30 to 60 minutes a day for three to five days every week.
Remember to warm up before going for a ride, especially when prepping for long-distance routes. Slow down for the first five to ten minutes of your cycling workout. After that, you can speed up. For indoor biking, adjusting your stationary bike will help you go faster. Don’t forget to set aside five minutes of your workout for your cooldown.
Pedal Your Way to Better Health
Biking is a good way to keep yourself fit. It can help your cardiovascular system stay healthy, make your leg muscles stronger, and improve your overall well-being. Cycling is not as skill-intensive as other exercises or workouts. All you need is to learn how to pedal and maintain proper form at all times. Everything else will follow.
If you need help in managing a musculoskeletal condition, LifeClinic can be your partner. Start your journey to optimal health at any of our locations today.