There are many wide ranging benefits to biking, including saving money, being environmentally friendly and improving urban environments by reducing commuter traffic and the need for new roads. But, biking also has a myriad of health benefits that should help to encourage you to give it a try.
Biking is a form of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise, the benefits of which include a stronger heart and lungs, improved muscle tone and increased metabolism (you'll burn more fat during the day). It can also reduce the chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and a number of other illnesses.
Cardiovascular exercise also burns calories, so you'll put on less weight and lose weight by regularly cycling. Cyclists can burn up to 1000 calories per hour if the terrain is very difficult, however 400-500 per hour is more likely on urban roads.
Biking in a group, whether it is on the weekends or during a commute, is a social activity that can help you to make new friends. New friendships increase the likelihood that you will stick to your new exercise routine.
Good for the Legs
Biking is an excellent exercise for strengthening the leg muscles, as it works out the glutes, the upper thighs and the calf muscles. Biking while standing on the pedals is just as effective and also promotes bone density by providing a slightly higher impact workout.
Good Starter Exercise
If you have not exercised for a while, or are overweight and nervous about starting an exercise plan, cycling is an excellent way to start. It's generally cheaper than buying a gym membership and it is low impact, meaning that you can get more cardiovascular exercise without stressing your joints. It's also easy to control how hard you have to work by choosing a suitable route to take. It can also be beneficial for you if you have certain types of back injuries.
Regular exercise helps to release endorphins which can give you a "natural high" improving your mood and reducing tension and stress. Biking may additionally help by removing road rage and stress from a daily commute. It may not be faster, but constantly moving forward at a slower rate is better for your stress levels than starting and stopping in a car. It will also give you a sense of achievement. After all, you've been helping the environment and improving your health all before your work day has even started.
One excuse not to bike is that the air pollution from cars might be dangerous. However, studies have shown that air pollution is no more dangerous on a bike than sitting in a car in the same environment.
Biking is a healthy activity with many benefits. It can help to extend your life and trim your waist as well as save gas money. It is also an excellent starter exercise, so you might want to give it a try today.