Have you ever thought about the health benefits of cycling or wondered how cycling changes your life for the better? Whether you’re a road racer, an MTB lover or just a commuter, regular cycling has a great impact on your health and social life.
We can’t tell you how cycling will affect your relationships. But we know exactly what happens to your body after a few hours, a few weeks, a few months and even after a year of regular bike workout. And you’ll be amazed to find out how many benefits cycling can bring.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cyclist, check out these 17 health benefits of cycling before hopping on the saddle.
Immediate Benefits Of Cycling…
Hitting the roads or exploring the trails of a forest by bike is a fun experience. What you don’t see is the processes that change your body function.
1. Speeds Up Metabolism
Within half an hour, the metabolic rate increases, determining your body to consume more sugars. Once all sugars in the bloodstream are consumed, the body starts transforming fat into glucose, consuming the fatty tissue.
This means that half an hour of cycling a day can help you lose weight in the long run.
2. Increases Cellular Oxygenation
The metabolic rate is not the only process to benefit from 20-30 minutes of cycling per day. The exercise also improves the viscosity of the blood. The speed of the bloodstream boosts up and the oxygen flow increases from about 8lt per minute, which is the normal speed when resting, to about 100lt per minute.
More oxygen translates into more energy, and the organ that benefits the most from this change is your brain.
3. Releases Endorphins
The increased flow of oxygen has a peculiar effect on the brain, causing the release of endorphins, the happiness hormones.
These neurotransmitters inhibit the sensation of pain but have numerous other benefits. They modulate your appetite, enhance the immune response, release sex hormones and induce a sentiment of happiness and euphoria, making you feel happier and more relaxed.
4. Lowers Muscular Pain
The release of endorphins triggers a chain reaction. The analgesic effects of the hormones lower muscular pain, motivating you to keep going.
Yet, don’t expect to feel no pain at all. If you’re a former couch potato approaching cycling for the first time, lactic acid will form in the muscles at first. And it will hurt. But don’t let it demotivate you; just push yourself forward and things will just get better and better.
5. Boosts Brain Function
Turning to the immediate benefits of cycling, the chain reaction triggered by endorphins reached the brain. Feeling less pain and with a clear sentiment of euphoria, your “motherboard” is more alert. Neuronal connections transmit the information faster, boosting your brain power and responsiveness.
Your concentration is improved, you’ll be able to focus on your projects and increase your productivity.
A Couple Of Weeks Later…
After about two weeks of cycling, your body got used to exercising. Lactic acid doesn’t bother you anymore and you’re more motivated to keep going. But what happens on the inside?
6. Overall Energy Boost
A few weeks after starting cycling, your mitochondria start to proliferate. These rod-shaped organelles of the cells are responsible for converting oxygen and nutrients in adenosine triphosphate, a chemical compound that provides energy.
Workout makes mitochondria more resistant, helping them stay healthier for longer. With more energy, the overall state of your cells improves and all structures of your body will work faster and better.
This process also increases the secretion of enzymes responsible for muscle contraction, meaning you’ll feel less fatigue and less pain.
7. Increased Lungs Capacity
Mitochondria need lots of oxygen to thrive and this is achieved through a larger lung capacity. Cycling improves your respiratory function and again, this reduces fatigue.
More oxygen for mitochondria means more energy and nutrients for the tissues, that leads to an overall healthier state. Your heart rate is improved and blood vessels get stronger.
8. Strengthened Immunity
With more energy and a quicker cell reproduction, your immune system also becomes stronger. The level of lymphocytes in the bloodstream will rise, fighting against microbes and allergens.
Studies have shown that cycling maintains thymus, a gland responsible for the production of immune T-cells even at an old age, young keeping you younger for longer.
9. Metabolism Speeds Up Even More
By now, your metabolism sped up even more. The organism is able to regulate the sugar and nutrient levels more effectively and your body accumulates less fat. If you’re cycling to lose weight, by now you should be able to see slight results, that motivate you to keep going.
But that’s not all; you’ll start to digest proteins and carbohydrates about four times faster than before, losing weight quicker.
After A Few Month…
Since the two weeks threshold, your physical condition improved significantly. By now, you can pedal at a greater intensity. Soreness is a thing of the past, and when riding uphill, you’re no longer the last of the group.
The flow of endorphins increase your feeling of well-being and daily life became a little brighter. The quality of your sleep has also improved and you now feel you have the strength to overcome any obstacles. Here’s what changed!
10. Physical Limits Exceeded
Regular exercise strengthens your body, and that’s what happened while you were merrily cycling along the trails. You can ride faster and further. Long rides don’t frighten you anymore and you’re able to compete even with your most experienced friends.
Your overall resistance is better and physical exercise doesn’t scare you anymore.
11. Regulated Heart Rate
Cycling also regulated your heart rate and strengthened the heart muscle. Regular training determined your heart to work more efficiently, which means it is able to pump and expel more blood at each contraction; a decreased heart rate means less stress on the muscle, which potentially increases your life.
In fact, according to the British Heart Foundation, cycling can cut the risk of heart disease by 50%.
12. Muscles Get More Oxygen
An improved heart rate means more oxygen is reaching the cells. This improves the peripheral micro-circulatory flow, improving your coordination.
And it also strengthens the nervous system, your fine motor skills improve and the transmission speed of nerve impulses will increase.
13. Improved Brain Function
All these reactions have a clear impact on the brain: they improve brain function. You’ll be able to make decisions faster and focus on your tasks. You’ll be able to concentrate at work or school, improving your performances.
Based on the results of several studies, this reduces stress and anxiety, helping you lead a happier and healthier life.
After A Year Of Cycling…
You’ve made it! You’ve been cycling for over a year and are now curious to find out what are the health benefits of cycling at this stage.
14. Stronger Bones
After about twelve months on the bike, the strength of your bones has greatly improved. You have more energy than ever and feel you can face long ride tours without problems.
Keep on cycling and your bones and muscles will become stronger and stronger, keeping you fitter, healthier, and younger for a longer time.
15. Anxiety Disappears
At an emotional level, you feel more relaxed. Stress is an issue of the past because, as many surveys indicate, cycling is more effective than anxiety reduction therapies. Not to mention the amount of money saved by simply choosing a ride instead of a specialist.
16. Circulatory System Reached Full Capacity
By now, cycling should have become a solid habit. Fatigue has fully disappeared since your circulatory system reached its full capacity. Your heart is healthier, the risk of heart disease decreased and you feel younger regardless of your age.
The cells receive more oxygen, mitochondria thrive and your immune system works great.
17. You Feel Happier And Healthier
Cycling didn’t only improve your body functions. Your overall life is better. You’ve made new friends and are socially active. Your performances boosted your self-esteem and you feel more attractive. Your sexual life has also improved.
The production of endorphins gives you long-lasting feelings of well-being and euphoria. Improved neuronal connections boosted your brain power and stamina. Long days at the office or hours of study for the next exam are easier to handle.
Soreness and bone diseases don’t seem to threaten you and you’re more active than ever. Heart and lungs function at their full capacity, your immune system works wonderfully and you don’t have weight problems anymore. For all these reasons, you feel happier and healthier, and the overall quality of life has improved.
These 17 benefits of cycling are only some of the overall benefits this sport has. Apart from your body, cycling brings benefits to society and environment. More than enough reasons for you to hop on the saddle and start pedaling today!