As with all exercises, they all have specific benefits, but cycling is good for such a wide variety of people and ages, especially as it has a lower impact on all the joints, especially the knees. We have all seen the legs of the chaps in Tour De France so what better way to inspire men and women around.
So to help you a bit more, here are my 5 extra benefits to give you another boost and get you pedalling and getting outdoors!
Low Impact on Joints
When you sit on a bike, you put your weight on a pair of bones in the pelvis called the ischial tuberosities, unlike walking, when you put your weight on your legs. This lessens the amount of pressure on your knees so that its great for anyone in particular with joint pain or age related stiffness.
Great Cardio Output
Pushing pedals provides an aerobic workout. Which is great for your heart, brain, and blood vessels. Elevating your heart rate not only triggers the release of endorphins, the body's feel-good chemicals—which may make you feel young at heart but also reducing your blood pressure and can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Muscle is good
Muscle is good for men and women, its not just for men, muscle helps define, tone and shape your body whilst providing the necessary strength you need to do your day to day activities. Cycling builds muscle. When you are powering up on the pedal which is the downstroke, you use the gluteus muscles in the bottom, the quadriceps in the thighs, and the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calves. Then on the upstroke, backstroke or overstrike also known as the recovery phase, you use the hamstrings in the back of the thighs and the flexor muscles in the front of the hips. This is fabulous for getting a great shape for your legs. Saying that cycling is not just on the legs and in order to keep balance and upright, you do need to engage your abdominals and arms and shoulder muscles in order to hold onto the handlebars and steers, so you may feel this is only working your legs, but in truth this little machine does a good job at covering other parts of the body as well.
Day to Day Management
This is 2 fold, more often this doesn't feel like exercise as you can cycle to work and that is literally helping your transport yourself from one place to another, which would ordinarily be a car, bus, train, tube etc so this is just an alternate transport, the other benefit is that it helps with your everyday activities with balance, walking, standing, endurance as well as stair climbing, even squats and lunges will be easier - I know we all love to do those!
Feel Good Factor
Lets not forget the overall feel good factor, releasing the endorphins when our heart rate is elevated, gives you an overall glow and sense of wellbeing. The increased heart rate reduces blood pressure thus in help alleviate stress level turn reducing your anxiety and stress levels and making it another great way in your arsenal to improving your wellbeing and allowing you to manage your day to day wellness by doing very little.. win win..
At the end of the day, any exercise you do will be good for you, the main aim is to be as active is possible for you and not to make it into a guilt trip but make it part of your life. Find what you love and give yourself the treat of making yourself feel great.