I can safely say that cycling took me away from a bad place—it allowed me to do “a 180”—changing my life for the better.
Reading up on advantages is one technique that kept me motivated through the tough times. However, with multiple studies on the benefits of cycling, it can sometimes seem a bit challenging knowing where to start.
So whether you’re looking for motivation—or a reason to get pedaling—I’ve gathered a mere snippet of the benefits of cycling below to direct you to the right pages.
Cycling Benefits on Your Physical Health
Opting for two wheels as opposed to four has immense benefits on your physical health. The best part? You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to get started.
Whether you’re aspiring to build massive leg muscles or a toned, tight body, cycling is the way forward.
Although it may not seem like it, you’re working your whole body. Yes, there’s more focus on your legs, like your quads, hamstrings and calves—but you're also engaging your arms, core and back.
These groups are responsible for keeping your balance—which is a fantastic workout in itself!
Another benefit is how kind it is on knees and joints. Injuries from sport and exercise are common. Running, for instance, can cause musculoskeletal injuries, so it’s certainly not for everyone.
Most damage occurs in the knee as it works as a shock absorber, taking the hard hits from the unforgiving pavement.
The smooth movements of cycling, however, provides a low-impact workout. This means less damage and injuries to your knees, hips, ankles, among others.
Your bike takes most of the impact—even on surfaces that are uneven, rocky or particularly rough. If you require additional cushioning, a fat-tire bike could appeal.
Before I leave you to read on, I wanted to talk about my favorite and most motivational, physical health benefits of riding my bike–endurance!
With cycling, you can pedal to your maximum capacity while sustaining it for longer. It elevates your stamina the same as running does.
The overall benefits you’ll reap cross over into other activities—whether it’s at home, the gym or on the trail. You can read more about the physical benefits in my full post.
Cycling Benefits on the Environment
Before I got into cycling, I was driving to and from work. This had an impact not only on my physical health but also on Mother Nature.
Cycling changed all this—now the only fuel I require is a portion of overnight oats and a cup of coffee.
When on the bike, you’re removing yourself as a contributor to global warming. I travel to work knowing my carbon footprint is a lot smaller and that makes me feel like I’m doing my bit for the planet.
You could also be saving your hearing and that of the people around you. Noise pollution is a serious issue—it can severely impact on your health.
Studies document that this invisible form of contamination can:
- Increase the risk of high blood pressure.
- Elevate stress.
- Interfere with quality sleep.
- Effect cognitive ability in children.
When exposed to extended noise pollution—like living in a crowded city—you have an increased chance of hearing loss.
To give you an idea—the noise level generated by a busy highway (when standing 50-feet away), is between 70 to 80 decibels. Experts recommend that when levels reach 85 decibels or higher, you should be wearing hearing protectors.
Those numbers aren’t far apart, indicating just how serious it is.
A street full of cyclists, on the other hand, is quiet and peaceful.
Of course, not everyone has a chance to bike to work. And if so, you can get involved in other ways, like cycling to the local store or park with your kids. You can read more in my full guide!
Benefits on Personal Economy
Something else that became noticeable when I started cycling was an improvement in my bank account.
Before, my finances were in a chronic state of depletion. Not only was my daily commute leading to mounting gas bills, but my gym membership was a hefty investment in itself.
Of course, prices vary, but I thought, “If you’re only using the stationary bike, you’re probably better off purchasing your own!”
Some—perhaps not so shocking statistics.
Around 80 percent of people who join a gym in January, don’t stick to their fitness regime and quit the following month. Many of those still pay their monthly fees.
Are you one of them?
With my bike, I can head out for a ride whenever I feel the need—I can also commute to cut my outgoings even further. What’s more, by using a stationary bike trainer, I can clock-up a few miles at home—for free!
As a mom, I’m very passionate about savings, which is why I have a comprehensive post listing how biking can benefit your personal economy.
Benefits of Cycling on Your Overall Well-Being
Have you ever been home, feeling tired, sluggish—judging yourself for not having the energy to go upstairs to fold the laundry? I’ve been there.
Cycling can help eliminate this feeling by improving your functional fitness as you strengthen your leg muscles.
Of course, you could always complete several reps on a leg-press machine. But with cycling, you’re multitasking—exercising all your body, including lungs, heart and mind, which is particularly helpful if you suffer from stress.
Chronic stress is a silent killer that can attack anyone. Studies reveal that it can lead to other illnesses, such as viral infections, increased asthma attacks, among others, if not controlled.
One of the best cures is activity, particularly aerobic exercises. Research shows that being physically active can help you manage stress better and reduce depression.
Aerobic exercises, like cycling, are fantastic because they trigger a release of endorphins. These feel-good chemicals enhance your mood and reduce pain.
Another benefit is that it reduces stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, which is what helps you cope with daily anxiety.
Stress aside, sometimes, our head is just full of work, home and even love life. Sadly, we can’t systematically mark everything and hit delete, like on our laptop. Instead, we must think of other ways to clear our minds.
You have lots of ways to do this, and cycling is one of them. Getting on the bike, going outdoors gives you the freedom to toss all the useless, stress-inducing thoughts into the trash.
Stress was a big part of my former lifestyle. This is why I wanted to create a post to help others improve their well-being, so feel free to check that out.
Benefits of Cycling Indoors vs Outdoors
Cycling is extremely versatile once you explore your options. One obvious way to change up your workout is by choosing to either cycle indoors or outdoors.
Below I’ve highlighted the benefits of each:
Cycling indoors has several advantages—it’s a fantastic alternative if you live in a not-so-bike-friendly city. Here are a few examples:
- You can do it from home if you have a bike trainer or a stationary bike. It’s easy to rack up the miles before work or household chores.
- If you have children, then there’s no need to leave them unattended. If it’s safe, you can place your indoor bike in the living room and pedal away while watching the little ones. (Be careful though, if your kids are smaller, i.e., crawlers or toddlers, it might be unsafe).
- Join a spin class. These are high-intensity classes where you’re pushed to the extreme limits of physical ability, increasing your endurance and weight loss.
- No weather excuses—even if there’s a thunderstorm outside, you can still exercise.
Read more about the advantages of cycling indoors in my post.
Besides the reasons I’ve listed earlier, opting for a bike ride in the open air has more than a few benefits. These are:
- Taking a ride outside often requires less motivation than going to the gym. You’re excited about the weather, a new route or just the fulfilling feeling of rushing by cars waiting at the red light.
- Being outdoors can reduce stress, anxiety and it may even boost your immunity. It’s also easier exercising when outside, plus the sun delivers a generous dose of vitamin D. Do I need to say more?
- Riding a bike outside requires core strength and balance. It provides more of a full-body workout than an exercise bike.
- You burn more calories. One study reveals that the intensity increases when riding outside as opposed to indoors. You’ve got wind and road as your resistance.
Feel free to read more about the benefits in my full guide.
These Are the Benefits
Whether you love navigating the downhill trails on your hardtail, the speed of time-trials on your road bike or a leisurely afternoon ride with the kids—the benefits of cycling are endless.
Not only will it improve your physical and mental health, but it’s also better for the environment—and your pocket. This sport is also versatile—you can engage in cycling exercise both indoors and outdoors, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or endurance.
So, if you’re looking for a reason to get started, or want to encourage others to get involved—take a look at any one of my benefits guides I mentioned above.