What Are The Benefits of Cycling?

The benefits of cycling are significant, which is why more and more people are choosing to use their bikes as a means of transport rather than using public transport or their cars.

Using the bike, either for training or getting around the town, is synonymous for health and wellbeing.

Published: April 15, 2020.

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Whether you are a road cyclist, a mountain biker or just a simple hobbyist who uses the bike for little more than work, the benefits of cycling are numerous.

Benefits of Cycling

If sport cycling or cycling to go around the city didn't have great benefits, we are sure there wouldn't be so many people who would ride on two wheels.

The main benefits of cycling are:

1. You strengthen the lower body muscles: unlike when you run on the flat surface, when you ride a bike your legs need to overcome a certain strength to be able to move forward. The result of this is that the lower body, especially the quadriceps, becomes stronger. The bike is a good complement for those people who want to develop strength in their legs.

2. You lose weight: this is one of the benefits of cycling more. If every day you cycle 5 kilometers to work and 5 kilometers back, you are making a great physical effort and this affects your weight. Although it is not the sport that burns the most calories, you can manage to burn 800 calories in an hour by pedaling without stopping.

3. You improve your aerobic capacity: if you cycle at a good pace without drowning, you will improve your aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity is the ability to maintain a certain rhythm for longer without feeling deprived of oxygen. The more kilometers you ride at a comfortable pace, the more you will improve your aerobic capacity.

4. It's cheaper (and greener) than public transport or the car: Do you know how much public transport is worth in any big city? And what about petrol? Cycling is free and you can help keep the air clean. Except for the purchase and maintenance of the bicycle, you will be able to use it very cheaply.

5. It makes you happy: sport is happiness and there is no better way to be happy than by taking a small daily bike ride. Every time you do sport your brain releases endorphins, and you know it's the so-called happiness hormone.

6. Improve your posture: this is one of the benefits of cycling that you will notice for the rest of your life. To be comfortable on a bike you need to maintain good posture. Once you get on the bike, you won't bend your back in the office chair.

7. It helps you recover from an injury: whether you are a footballer, athlete or basketball player, when you get injured the first recommendations by your physiatrist is that you use the bike to avoid impact on the ground and not to lose physical shape. There are injuries where you can barely put your foot on the ground but the use of the bike improves them, especially because the blood supply is greater when doing sport.

8. You avoid the impact against the ground: in the vast majority of sports the impact against the ground is common and with it, injuries at a joint level appear. One of the greatest benefits of cycling is that your joints do not suffer from hard knocks on the ground. Biking is highly recommended if you have ankle, knee or hips problems.

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Risks Involved?

Although the benefits of cycling outweigh the possible risks of using it, it is worth remembering the problems you may encounter when pedaling.

1. You can get run over: one of the greatest dangers of using the bike is that you can get run over. There are many cases of cars that do not respect the 1.5 meter separation on the road or of reckless cyclists who break the rules of the road. This can result in a serious accident, where the main victim is you. For this reason, respect road regulations and never go out on a bike if you do not wear a good helmet and other required equipment.

2. Injuries due to poorly adjusted saddle and pedals: whether you ride in the city or use your bike for training, you must adjust your saddle properly. Failure to do so will throw away all the benefits of cycling and injure your neck and back muscles. In addition, if you do not reach the pedals properly you will be straining your leg muscles, while if you hold them too close you will be maintaining an unnatural knee position.

3. Overtraining injuries: This risk is common to those who train on a bike. Cycling can seem very simple and is very addictive, so much so that you can overdo it with the miles or intensity in your training. If you're serious about cycling, find a trainer to plan your workouts, otherwise you can get injured due to improper planning.

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What's the best time to go cycling?

What is the best time to train or ride your bike? Most people do it when they can, when their obligations allow it. You do not have the possibility to choose the best time to train in your daily life. But we can all do it from time to time, on Sundays or holidays.

Although there are opinions for all tastes, people who point out the benefits of going out to train at one hour or another, we can say that there is a relative consensus on the best time to train, when our body performs more and is able to take advantage of the good things about physical exercise more efficiently.

The best time to go cycling

The timeframe that most specialists indicate as the best time to train, whether cycling, running or swimming, is between 5pm and 7pm. Not only does our organism function more efficiently, assimilating the benefits of training better, the experts assure that our performance is also increased - up to 10% - in those hours.

The problem, admitted the experts, is that it has been statistically proven that this is a very complicated time: morning cyclists are more constant and diligent in their training than those who choose the second half of the day as the best time to train.

The alternatives to the best time to train

If it is impossible for you to go out and ride between 5pm and 7pm, the best time to train in cycling, the alternatives also have their advantages and disadvantages.

For example, riding at dawn is a great way to start your day. You'll charge your batteries to get your day off to a good start. However, on a physical level it has its drawbacks: your body will be forced to pull reserves, despite having eaten breakfast, which will accelerate the feeling of tiredness, and you may suffer from certain muscular stiffness which increases the risk of injury.

The next alternative would be to go out cycling at midday. At that time the body will offer a better physical performance than at dawn, but it is a strip that we usually associate with food and rest, so it could force us to face the afternoon more tired than we should. In addition, depending on the climate of the place where we live, the temperatures can be too high to go out and ride.

The last option would be to go out cycling at night. Here the benefit is associated with the calm that will be on the streets at a certain time. However, this is not the best time to train physically either, because of the accumulated tiredness of the day, and despite taking all the necessary lighting precautions, cycling at night carries an extra risk that not everyone is prepared to take.

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Cycling at Home

Cycling at home using your spinning or recumbent bike is another option for people wanting to cycle, but often don’t have time for taking the spin around the town.

Good home recumbent bike can be used whenever one has time, even for very short distances – few minutes here and there allow the trainee to accumulate riding time throughout the day.

But, since the cycling lasts so short, keep the pace low – your muscles don’t have time to warm up properly and pushing the tempo in such runs can lead to discomfort, muscle soreness and even injuries.

Having a bike at home, helps the cyclist to more easily organize the daily routine, allowing more calories to be burned over time and generally, to make cyclist train more often.