20 Reasons Cycling Is Good For You

Medically reviewed by Thais Tisatto, BHSc Health Science - Nutrition Medicine
Written by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Nine out of 10 people suffer from serious health issues before they even hit 30. And most of these health issues sprout from one cause – an unhealthy lifestyle. There are many ways to improve your lifestyle, but nothing can beat bicycling. Riding your bike/bicycle every day can turn the wheel of your life for the better. How? Read on to find out!

1. Helps You Lose Weight

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Bicycling is one the most effective exercises to do if you want to lose weight. It not only helps burn calories but also works on your quads, hamstrings, calves, biceps, glutes, shoulders, and back muscles. So, in addition to losing fat, you will also tone your muscles.

2. Improves Heart Health

Bicycling can help improve your heart health as it is essentially an aerobic exercise. The oxygen depletion in the muscles will push the heart to supply more oxygenated blood, thereby making it work faster. Along with your heart, bicycling also make your blood vessels and lungs work well, which helps to boost your heart health.

3. Strengthens Muscles

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This fun exercise can also strengthen your muscles. They will grow in strength and size when you work them. The more the muscles undergo wear and tear, the stronger they will grow. Bicycling helps strengthen the calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, back muscles, shoulders, and arms. It also facilitates faster healing of injuries. You will be more agile, flexible, and enduring than those who don’t ride a bicycle regularly.

4. Reduces Joint Pain

It’s bewildering. How can this strenuous activity reduce joint pain? Yes, bicycling actually reduces joint pain, especially knee pain. Regular bicycling helps improve joint movement. It has a low impact on your joints, and hence can help heal a mild joint or hip injury and restore the cartilage.

5. Improves Posture

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When you ride a bicycle or a bike, you are doing a lot of balancing without even being aware of it. This balancing act helps improve your posture and full body coordination and strengthens your upper body muscles. Your posture and gait are also determined by other factors, such as muscle strength, fitness, weight, etc. All these factors are taken care of if you just ride your bicycle at least for 30 minutes every day.

6. Fights Cancer

Believe it or not, biking or bicycling can also help fight cancer. A sedentary lifestyle can put you at the risk of developing cancer due to toxic build-up in the body. This leads to DNA mutation and cell damage and can cause cancer. Not eating right can also lead to constipation and bloating, resulting in colon cancer. It was found that people who rode a bicycle for at least 30 minutes a day were less prone to develop breast and colon cancers. The reason is that bicycling helps keep your cells active and protects your DNA from mutation and oxidative damage.

7. Reduces Stress

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Stress can do more harm than you can imagine. It can lead to weight gain, increase in LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, asthma, diabetes, digestion problems, premature aging, anxiety, headache, high blood pressure, depression, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Bicycling can help reduce stress by keeping your mind off the problems that are bothering you. So, ride your bike to beat the stress at work or school.

8. Improves Fitness

Bicycling can improve your overall fitness. Cycling on plains or mountain areas can help improve your heart and blood vessel functions and work your legs, arms, and back muscles. It can also improve your lung capacitiy, flexibility, and stamina and increase bone and muscle strength. The best part about cycling to get fit is that it doesn’t feel like you are working out or putting in extra effort to be fit. It is effortless as compared to other forms of exercises.

9. Eases Childbirth

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Women who ride a bike or bicycle every day for at least 30-45 minutes tend to have lesser complications during childbirth. Bicycling increases bone and muscle strength, improves posture, flexibility, and endurance, and helps build the back muscles. Hence, bicycling is highly recommended if you want to avoid complications during childbirth.However, before starting the practice of any exercise during pregnancy, always speak to your doctor to get clearance.

10. Boosts Brain Function

Cycling boosts brain function. Riding a bike requires you to pay attention, coordinate the muscle functions, and maintain balance. Moreover, bicycling also helps you to relax, which in turn clears your head, resulting in better decision making. Biking or bicycling also facilitates the growth of new cells in the hippocampus region of the brain and increases the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, which in turn protects from neurodegenerative diseases.

11. Slows Down Aging

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Age is just another number, and it should remain that. Don’t let a sedentary lifestyle rob you of your youthful mind and heart. How about riding your bike or bicycle to actually slow down aging? Riding a bicycle helps to improve oxygen availability, reduces toxic build-up, enhances heart health, and helps build muscle. So, to stay youthful inside and out, make it a daily ritual to ride your bike or bicycle for at least 30 minutes.

12. Improves Sleep Quality

Bicycling regularly can help improve your sleep quality. It is especially effective for those suffering from insomnia. The most effective time to ride a bicycle to improve sleep is in the evenings. However, you can also ride your bike or bicycle in the morning. It will keep you active throughout the day and help you fall asleep quickly at night.

13. Reduces Pollution Exposure

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Scientists have found that bikers are less exposed to pollution when compared to those sitting inside cars or public transport. This is mostly because the bikers take the bicycling lane or keep to a side of the road, which protects them from being directly exposed to the exhaust pipes of other vehicles.

14. Is Environment-Friendly

Bike riding or bicycling doesn’t require you to burn fuel. It helps to protect the environment by decreasing pollution and lowering the demand for fuel. Many countries encourage their citizens to ride a bicycle to and from work or school. It is definitely a healthy and sustainable option.

15. Helps Treat Constipation

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Dr. Ana Raimundo says that bicycling helps to decrease the time food takes to pass through the large intestine. This prevents water reabsorption into the body, thereby making the stools softer and easier to pass. So, if you are suffering from constipation, you should definitely ride your bicycle regularly to improve bowel movement and reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.

16. Helps You Have A Great Time With Friends

Bicycling can also help you bond with new and old friends. Your biking friend(s) can keep you motivated to continue riding your bike, and you can also talk about things of mutual interest. This way, you can reduce your stress levels and stay happy.

17. Helps You Save Money

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Daily commute can take away a large chunk of your salary that you can save for your next trip. Invest in a good bicycle and safety gears and use it for daily commute. It will improve your health, make you fit, improve bowel movement, reduce the risk of cancer, and also help you save a lot. If daily commute to your office or school is not possible, you can use it to go to nearby places.

18. Encourages Fruitful Thoughts

If not with friends, you can go on a bike ride alone. Just like walking, bicycling can also help you think creatively. You can get creative ideas and thoughts that can help you in your work, school, or at home. You will also be able to make and take decisions that are rational and beneficial for you.

19. Increases Productivity

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Exercising regularly has many positive sides, and being highly productive is one of them. Bicycling helps to build muscles and strengthen bones, improves brain function and attention, and keeps your overall health in check. This, in turn, can help you to be more productive at work or school. You will be more swift, complete your given task at hand, exceed your targets, etc.

20. Improves Sex Life

Last, but not the least, bicycling can also help improve your sex life. Bicycling is an effective aerobic exercise that improves heart health and increases blood flow, both of which can help you have a good time with your partner.

Before you take out your bicycle, keep these following safety points in mind.

Safety Guidelines

  • Always wear a sturdy helmet.
  • Wear high-tech fiber cycling clothes that can dispense the sweat. The light reflecting material used in these clothes will also make you visible to other drivers.
  • Buy a bicycle or bike that has broad and good grip tyres. It should also have high-rise handles to help you sit straight.
  • Use horseshoe or noseless design saddles to support and alleviate pressure from the hips and bones.
  • Obey the traffic signals.
  • Do not wear headphones while cycling.
  • Be careful when you take a turn. Use arm signals on a busy road.
  • Be careful while passing a car as the door can open suddenly as you pass by, which can injure you severely.
  • If needed, wear knee caps.
  • Do not use your mobile phone while riding your bicycle.
  • Make sure to carry enough water with you.

Here are answers to a few questions that will clear all your doubts. Take a look.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better – running or cycling?

Both running and cycling are good exercises. However, running might be a bit more strenuous on your joints. Also, there’s a sense of joy and freedom associated with riding a bicycle. So, cycling is a less intimidating option as compared to running.

How long do you have to ride a bike to lose weight?

It depends on your current weight, medical history, eating habits, etc. You should ride your bike for at least 1 hour every day, do other exercises, such as weights and strength training, and eat healthy to lose weight.

Is it better to ride a bike or walk?

Riding a bike or bicycle is more effective than walking. Bicycling works on the calves, shoulders, back muscles, biceps, hip flexors, glutes, hamstring, and quadriceps while walking only works on your quads, hamstring, calves, and glutes.

How many calories do you burn on a stationary bike for 30 minutes?

If you weigh around 130 pounds, you can burn anywhere between 88 to 160 calories, depending on your current weight and the resistance used.

Can cycling help lose belly fat?

Yes, 30-60 minutes of biking or bicycling every day can help burn the fat from all parts of your body, including your tummy. Plus, as already mentioned, bicycling can relieve stress and improve sleep quality. This helps the brain relax and release “feel good” hormones, which, in turn, prevent belly fat accumulation.

To conclude, bicycling is highly effective and can improve your overall health in no time at all. You will reach the peak of your fitness levels if you also watch what you eat and incorporate strength training and weight training along with biking in your routine. So, get your bicycle out and turn your life downside up. Good luck!

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Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. This prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.