Fitness Friday: 5 Health Benefits of Cycling
Whether you’re an avid cyclist or prefer a casual spin through your neighborhood, there is no denying that bicycling is an incredible form of exercise that benefits the mind, body, and spirit. In addition to being an efficient way to get around, cycling is also one of the best activities for improving our health. Read on to learn about what we think are some of the top advantages of cycling.
1. Turn back the clock. Ever noticed a rosy flush to your cheeks after engaging in a heart-pumping form of exercise like cycling? In addition to the healthy glow that can follow vigorous exercise, many health experts believe that cycling can actually help people look younger.
In Matthew Barbour’s blog post 30 reasons to take up cycling, dermatologist Dr. Christopher Rowland Payne explained that “increased circulation through exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells more effectively while ﬂushing harmful toxins out.” He added that exercise can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles by creating the ideal environment for collagen production.
Further, according to Israel News, a 2010 study by Tel Aviv University indicated that endurance exercises like cycling may boost the body’s quantity of muscle stem cells and improve its ability to rejuvenate old muscles.
2. Maintain a healthy weight. Riding your bike can burn a lot of calories, especially when cycling at a faster pace, and thus can be a great way to keep body fat under control. Cycling is also a great way to tone and build muscle, particularly in the calves, thighs, and glutes. And since it is a low-impact form of exercise, biking is a perfect workout for those with joint conditions or hip- or leg-related injuries.
3. Think more clearly and effectively. According to a blog post by the Nevada Bicycle Coalition, an Illinois University study found that cycling produced a ﬁve percent increase in cardio-respiratory ﬁtness that correlated with an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests. Additionally, in a recent New York Times article, Gretchen Reynolds cited a scientific study suggesting that muscular endurance exercises like cycling may stimulate the body’s production of new neurons in brain areas involving learning and memory.
4. Improve heart health. Purdue University researchers have found that the cardiovascular benefits of regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease in half! In addition, the British Heart Foundation claims that approximately 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves in better physical shape.
5. Reduce your cancer risk. We all know that any exercise can be useful in fending off cancer, but some studies specifically point to cycling as being most beneficial form. According to an MSN Lifestyle article, a long-term Finnish study showed that men who exercised 30 minutes a day—including cycling to work—reduced their cancer risk by half, as compared to those in the study who did not exercise. The article also suggests that women who cycle frequently can slash their risk of breast cancer by up to 34 percent.
In addition to its various health benefits, cycling is also great for the mind and spirit. To be out in the sun and experience nature, all while getting a workout, is the best of both worlds. Just remember to slather on the sunscreen!
Garden of the Gods Club Golf Members and Sports Members enjoy access to spin classes and a seasonal cycling club that gets together for fun road biking and mountain biking excursions throughout the Colorado Springs area. To learn about the affordable membership opportunities available at Garden of the Gods Club, please contact membership director Tracey Kalata at 719.520.4980, or click here to visit our website.