There’s only a handful of sports that truly recreational. While all of them promote fitness and sportsmanship, some can prove to be too strenuous and stressful to be relaxing. Among those sports that are as relaxing as they are intense, cycling is gaining in popularity. Albeit its premier athletes are not as famous as football or basketball stars, people actually appreciate the sport and not just the industry. In fact, a lot of people partake in the sport, not because of competitive means, but because it truly relaxes them and puts them at ease. Cycling is equally as strenuous as it is refreshing.
Unbeknown to many people, cycling also has its fair share of health benefits. They range from affecting your physical well-being to stabilizing your mental health. A lot of medical professionals even recommend the sport for those recovering from injuries or one that need to improve their physical fitness but are limited in terms of mobility. For better understanding, here are the top 5 health benefits of cycling.
Improves Cardiovascular System
Once you get your adrenaline pumping when you’re cycling, you’re actually putting your cardiovascular muscles to good use. With every paddle, you’re transmitting air to your lungs while it emits Carbon Dioxide out of it. Through this process, cycling actually helps in improving your cardiovascular system and keeps your heart and lungs strong and healthy. Even when you’re not racing in a competition and simply riding across the countryside, you’re achieving this benefit better than doing any other sport. Furthermore, the latter makes it even better as you’re bound to breathe in clean and fresh air whilst riding through non-urban areas.
Promotes Muscle Flexibility
When playing more strenuous sports, it’s easier for your muscles to cramp up and produce pain. In fact, there’ve been numerous cases in sports like football and basketball that the players suddenly feel the pain of their tense muscles and they have to stop playing in order to recover. In cycling, this is more or less non-existent. No matter how hard you ride your bike, there’s little to no chance that your muscles will tense up. On the contrary, it’s said that the sport actually promotes muscle flexibility as well as strengthens them.
Aids in Weight Loss
It’s no surprise that sports ais in weight loss, but cycling does so without putting too much of a strain on your entire body. For just a casual ride around the park, it’s said you can lose up to 400 calories. While for an adventurous cycle across the city or cross-country, you can burn up to a whopping 1000 calories. It’s these results that have made spinning classes popular among those who want to lose weight in a more manageable and fun manner. Additionally, cycling has also been proven to improve your sleeping habits, which in turn, also helps in losing substantial amounts of your weight.
Stabilizes Mental Health
Arguably, it’s rare for sports to improve one’s mental health. This is more so for team sports when games can get a little too competitive and rough. But for cycling, this activity actually stabilizes one’s mental health. It’s pretty easy to channel one’s stress, anxiety, anger, pain, and more into cycling, which in turn can improve their skills in the sport. And while this is also possible for other sports, when it comes to cycling, it’s less strenuous, less painful, and completely recreational. Although it should also be noted that this benefit is achieved more when you go cycling in cleaner and more peaceful areas, such as the countryside, forests, mountains, and the like.
Reduces Risks of Diseases
Your body can be vulnerable to a whole host of diseases, some even life-threatening if you don’t do anything to promote your physical fitness. Cycling not only does the latter but also reduced your risk of contracting major illnesses and diseases. Since the sport improves your cardiovascular fitness, you’re less prone to heat diseases such as a stroke or high blood pressure. Since it also aids in weight loss, you’re no longer in danger in becoming obese as well. Other diseases that the sport is said to help avoid are cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and scoliosis. These diseases can put a strain into your life, so as long as you cycle regularly, you’ll easily avoid them.
Cycling is a low-impact and peaceful sport that almost anybody can get into. You don’t even have to go all the way into its competitive and professional arena, but just as a simple work can already do wonders for your mind and body. The sport also helps one achieve countless health benefits, from the ones listed earlier to many more. At the end of the day, you’re not only relaxed and refreshed, but your overall physical and mental states will better than ever before.
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Anthony Ong is a contributing writer for EccoBike Canada, where he writes mostly about the best cycling gear for the sport. From time to time, he also writes for EccoBike International, informing readers of the many benefits of cycling.