Every so often, you see someone posting a picture of themselves cycling on social media.
And when you drive on the road during the quieter hours, chances are that you will come across a group of cyclists in complete attire with their cycling shoes, jersey and helmet making their way through the quiet roads.
Does it seem like you are the only one who has not picked up cycling? What is the hype all about?
Turns out, there is an extensive list of benefits that comes with cycling and we’re here to list it down!
Bonus: Read till the end if you want to find out how cycling can help you lose weight.
1. Physical wellbeing
Let’s start with the obvious. One of the most visible benefits of cycling is weight loss (provided that you cycle consistently) but it helps you with much more than that. Pedalling is a resistance activity that provides an aerobic workout for your body, which is great to keep your heart, brain and blood vessels healthy! More importantly, it is also a great exercise to help those who are overweight to reduce visceral fat (that’s the fat around your internal organs).
Cycling is also easy on the joints as you put your weight on your pelvic bone (ischial tuberosity) instead of on your legs when you walk. This means that cycling is also a great exercise routine for the elderly with knee pain. A study in 2018 found that elderly who cycled, even if it was stationary cycling for several minutes a day, can make a huge difference in improving their condition. Not only that, the act of pedalling also helps you to build stronger and denser bones.
2. More brain power
As the activity requires the use and coordination of your whole body, the benefits of cycling goes beyond its physical perks. Even 30 minutes of cycling can result in a boost of your brain power – it can improve your memory, reaction time and creative thinking. Moreover in 2017, studies confirmed that regular exercise can also help to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s in the elderly.
3. Improve your mental health
The act of cycling, combined with the wonders of exploring the sceneries outdoors also has a great effect on your mental health. A study by YMCA revealed that those with an active lifestyle scored 32% higher in mental wellbeing than those who lead a sedentary life. It is no secret that the release of endorphins and adrenaline help to improve a person’s mood as well as self-confidence. This is especially true when it comes to cycling. Cycling takes you away from the problems of the world as you focus on the road ahead of you. Leaving behind all your worries while you are in that bubble. So much so was the effect of cycling that it had helped the famous cyclist, Graeme Obree (aka The Flying Scotsman, aka the guy who smashed the world hour record twice) to get through his depression.
4. Create and strengthen your bonds
The great thing about cycling is that you can control the way you want to do it. You can either do it individually or join a group to grow your social circle. As it is right now, you can almost always see groups of cyclists enjoying their cycle during the weekends around Kuala Lumpur and beyond. Enjoy the conversations before, during and after your cycling workout. Gain tips and share insights on various topics. It is a great way to meet new people. Who knows you might end up making lifetime friends from these groups.
Cycling is also a great way to bond with family. Take your bicycles out and enjoy intimate moments with your loved ones as you chat and cycle with them at FRIM or around your nearby park. Imagine their excitement as you go out exploring your nearby surroundings.
Important note: If you do decide to go cycling in a group during CMCO, do remember to exercise physical distancing when possible as we are still battling an invisible war with COVID-19!
5. A means to fight cancer
That’s right. Exercise is both safe and effective for most types of cancer and cycling is one of the more recommended methods to be included in a cancer patient’s care plan (both during and after). Cycling helps to rebuild a patient’s muscles and overall strength, and may help to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment. Of course, this regiment would also involve working closely with healthcare providers who know the patient’s health conditions in detail.
Studies have also shown that regular cycling can help reduce the risk of several types of cancers including breast, bowel, lung and colorectal cancer for this with a higher fitness level. Meanwhile, a study by the University of Glasgow has presented evidence that cycling to work can further reduce the risk of developing cancer by half! You might want to think about changing your mode of transport to work.
6. Finding your balance and posture
As we grow older, our balance and posture tend to decline with age and inactivity. It is therefore important to keep an active lifestyle. Cycling is a great activity to do as your overall balance, coordination and posture will naturally be improved as you stabilise your body to keep your bicycle upright.
7. Weight loss
With all the benefits listed above, weight loss is the most obvious side effect of cycling. It’s simple math – we must burn more calories than our intake in order to lose weight and cycling is a great way to do it. This is because cycling can burn between 400 – 1,000 calories per hour depending on the intensity of the cycle and the weight of the cyclist. Even a steady, moderate pace of cycling can burn about 300 calories an hour.
Cycling is one of the best exercises that you can take up. It’s easy on the joints, you reap in an array of benefits and the activity is suitable for people of all ages, whether you are a beginning or a professional, making it ideal as a family activity for you to try.
If you’re all excited about cycling like we are, head on over to Warrix Sports and Eco Greenbike Station on cari@unifi to buy or repair your bicycle as well as getting your hands on some new cycling apparel!