Cycling is a serious leg workout, and your quads, hamstrings, and glutes are sure to respond by building new muscle fibers to adapt. Although cycling at low resistance will slowly build muscles, you can maximize the gains and build muscle faster by riding uphill, riding in higher gears, or including sprint intervals in your workout.
Low intensity, aerobic, and consistent exercise is one of the most effective ways to lose body fat. Cycling for an hour or so each day is plenty to begin losing fat, and you can maximize the loss by heading into a training section after fasting for a few hours – but be careful not to overeat at the end of the ride.
3.Strengthen Your Legs
Cycling is far more fun than lifting weights in the basement, but it can help you achieve similar strength gains in your lower body. The best way to build brute strength, particularly in your quads, is to grind away in your highest gear – but if you drop below 60 pedal strokes per minute, drop a gear so that you don’t crush your knee joints.
4.Decrease Your Stress
Many athletes point to the “runner’s high” as a zen mental state that comes from exercise, but the same stress-free feeling can be found through cycling. Cycling forces you to regulate your breathing, breathe more deeply, and focus on the task at hand rather than the stress of other parts of your life.
5.Save Your Knees
Running, and most team sports that involves running, slowly breaks down your knee joints over time. Cycling, on the other hand, has a low impact on your knee joints and as a result is a sport you can participate even in old age. Be sure to fit your bike properly, since a seat that is too high or low can cause grinding or over extension.
Just as you can train the muscles in your legs, you can train the muscles that expand and contract your lungs. Cycling is a great way for this because there are ample opportunities to include intervals in your workouts, or to practice cresting a hill and then keeping up the hard effort. This type of training can help to expand your lung capacity and teach you to move air more effectively.
Even 30 minutes of cycling or other aerobic exercise per day has been demonstrated to improve your subjective mood. In addition, according to one study, people who exercise routinely have a decreased chance of falling into depression as they age.
Cycling has been shown to reduce stress levels by up to 40%, and as a result can keep feelings of anxiety at bay. By keeping your mind on the road in front of you rather than aspects of work or life that are bothering you, cycling can provided a much-needed mental break.
The motion of cycling forces you to extend specific muscles in your lower body that don’t often get stretched, like your glutes and hip flexors. This stretching can increase your overall range of motion and flexibility. However, it’s also important to remember to stretch these muscles after rides so they don’t tighten up after expanding.
Decreases in fitness have been found to correlate with levels of insomnia in both men and women, so it’s important to stay in shape to give yourself the best possible chance of a good night’s sleep. Cycling in particular is a great way to reap exercise-induced sleep benefits since it reduces anxiety and keeps weight down, both of which are thought to contribute to insomnia.
11.Boost Your Libido
Building your cardiovascular system is a great way to increase your sex drive and counteract aging. In men, athletes can have the sex drive of non-athletes up to five years younger and one study found that men over 50 who cycle at least three hours a week are 30% less likely to experience impotence. In women, cardiovascular exercise can delay menopause by up to several years.
Hopping on a bike can drastically cut your risk of heart disease. One study found that cycling regularly can decrease your chance of developing heart problems by 50%, while another study found that those who ride just 20 miles per week have half the heart disease risk as people who don’t exercise.
13.Work Those Lungs
Regular cardiovascular exercise can help to keep your lungs healthy by teaching them to move air more efficiently. Breathing hard actually forces the muscles that expand and contract your lungs to work harder, which can decrease your risk of losing lung function as your age.
14.Improve Your Cholesterol
Aerobic exercise, like cycling, is one of the best ways to boost your HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol – and decrease your LDL cholesterol – the bad cholesterol. Just two months of regular cycling at an intensity that raises your heart rate, but doesn’t leave you breathless, is enough to raise your HDL cholesterol by 5%.