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What Does Cycling Do You – 8 Health Benefits of Cycling That Improves Your Life

Cycling is one of the most popular sporting activity/ exercise. Once you get over the initial fear of entrusting your weight to two wheels, chances are you won’t mind cycling to school or work.

Although a popular activity, not many people know the health benefits of cycling. As with other sports activities, cycling has numerous health benefits which we will be discussing in this article.

This article will be addressing questions, such as the negative effects of cycling (yes, there are negative effects). How long should you cycle in a day? What are the precautions to take before and while cycling? What does cycling do for you? etc.

Before these, let’s discuss…

Factors to Consider before Choosing a Bike

You need a bike to cycle, and the physical feature of the bike shouldn’t be the only thing you’ll consider before purchasing one.

This section discusses the other important factors to consider

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Bike

You need a bike to cycle, and the physical feature of the bike shouldn’t be the only thing you’ll consider before purchasing one.

This section discusses the other important factors to consider

Topography

You want to consider the surface structure of the land you’ll use the bike on. Is it relatively smooth? Is it rocky? Are there gravels? These are questions you want to ask yourself.

Bikes are usually structured to meet the demands of the floor surface they’ll be used on. That’s why the terms- road bikes, mountain bikes, gravel bikes, etc. exist.

Purpose

Consider both the purpose, and distance the bike will cover. Bikes do not have equal rigidity, neither do they all carry the same features. For example, a fire fighter bike is equipped with special features which make it best suited for that role. A tour bike can cover longer distances comfortably, a racing bike or road bicycle is best for road racing, etc.

Features

The bike’s features make it suitable or not for a particular purpose. Although certain features can later be incorporated or tweaked in a bike, it’s best you went for bikes that already have the features you need

Cost

One bike might be just as good as another but have different prices. This could be because they were manufactured by different companies. Price does not always guarantee quality, so if you can’t afford the bike with the higher price go for the less expensive alternative.

How Long Should You Cycle in a Day?

Now you’ve made the right bike choice, you want to know how many hours or minutes you should cycle in a day, or how many miles you should bike a day.

Thing is, there is no definitive answer to this question as there are different factors which influence the answer, most of which are dependent on the cycler. Some of these factors include: the goal for riding, your health, how long you can afford to ride in a day, the topography of the area you’ll be riding on, how good a cycler you are/ how long you’ve been cycling, etc.

However, for beginners and people whose cycling objective is to keep fit, most fitness experts recommend cycling for about 30-45 minutes daily. With time and experience, the minutes can be increased.

As a professional cyclist training for a competition, you’ll need to spend more time cycling and cover longer distances. But this should not be done to the detriment of your health.

What are the Disadvantages of Cycling?

As much as you want to burn fat and keep fit, you should know that cycling has some negative effects (what doesn’t?) But the good news is this: the positive effects far outweighs the negatives and practising certain cycling tips/ taking certain precautions could keep you safe.

Sexual dysfunction

Hey! calm down, it’s evitable and not as scary as it sounds. Lol. Well, that’s if you take the advice we’ll share in the next section.

Research shows that cycling could lead to numb penis, erectile dysfunction and decreased genital sensation. This is caused by the bike seat which exerts pressure on the perineum– a region of the body that runs from the anus to the sex organs. This compresses the crucial nerves and arteries leading to loss of sensation and other challenges on the long run.

Body pain

Arm pain, shoulder pain, back pain, knee discomfort/ pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome are common complaints cyclists make, and this is understandable because they are areas that receive/ exert the most pressure while cycling

Accidents

This doesn’t occur often but when they do, accidents experienced by cyclists are usually more fatal for obvious reasons.

Cycling Precaution

These are precautions you should take while cycling to avoid the disadvantages we discussed in the previous section.

Personal Protective Equipment

Helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, bike shoes, reinforced clothing, biking pants, reflective accessories, etc are safety gears you should have and use to reduce the impact of an accident, should one occur.

How to Cycle on the Road

To reduce cycling accident rates, some states have cycle lanes which are marked by a (broken) white line. This does not mean that as a cyclist you aren’t entitled to using the full lane. You are, and when you do, ride with the flow of the traffic to the right side of the road.

Make necessary adjustments

To prevent back and shoulder aches, raise the handlebar. Backache is usually caused by bending over to reach the handlebar of the bike. You can prevent this by raising the handlebar, so you’re seated in an upright position while riding.

Adjust the height of your seat so your legs don’t extend completely to the bottom of the pedal stroke. This helps to take pressure of the perineum, thereby eliminating the chances of suffering erectile dysfunction or penis numbness. Doing this also prevents knee ache.

Breaks

Ride intermittently, especially if it’s a long ride.

Tips to Prepare your Body for Cycling

Before you hop on that bike, you want to help your body get prepared for cycling.

Hydration

Fatigue and tiredness quickly set in when you’re dehydrated. Consume enough water before and in between cycling. That’s the importance of the water bottle holder attached to the bike.

Feeding

Eat foods high in energy and nutrients such as nuts, salmon, bananas, asparagus, peanut butter, oatmeal, etc.

Stretch

You should do this before and after cycling to loosen muscle knots.

Finally let’s answer the question,

What Does Cycling Do for Your Body?

Every exercise plays a specific function in the body. Cycling has the following health benefits

  • It boosts your mood, reduces depression and anxiety. There’s something therapeutic about nature, and you’ll be consuming much of this while cycling. It also helps to converse with people and make new acquaintances, which is what will happen when you cycle as a group

 

  • Cycling increases cardiovascular fitness by stimulating the heart muscles, raising your heart rate and improving blood circulation. This reduces the risk of having a heart disease or cancer

 

  • The muscles, especially around the glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads, are built by cycling, especially on stationary bikes. Your joints also experience better mobility when you cycle

 

  • Cycling has a huge positive impact on your upper respiratory system making it recommendable during cold seasons/ weather
  • Research shows that cycling boosts brain power, this is because increased blood flow in the brain make the brain healthier

 

  • Cyclists enjoy better lung health than non-cyclers exposed to the same air pollution level

 

  • By exhausting you, cycling helps you sleep better

 

  • It burns body fat, promoting overall weight loss.

 

Cycling has numerous health benefits, and more keep being discovered as results from more researches are unveiled. As a cyclist, what does cycling do for you? Let us know in the comment section below.

You can also check out our fitness post for How Many Calories Do Exercise Bike Burn and Does Cycling In the Heat Burn More Calories?

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8 Health Benefits of Cycling That Improves Your Life