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Ride your way to a healthy mind and body




Bike you way to health
Photo from via Polina Rytova

The suspension of public transportation during the community quarantine had immensely affected a lot of commuters.   

Ever so resourceful and resilient, many Filipinos resorted to biking just so they can go to work and do errands.

But do you know that riding a bike is just one of its endless benefits? Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should take up cycling:

Cycling promotes weight loss

To lose weight, the simple equation you have to keep in mind is this: 

calories out must exceed calories in. 

If you can’t resist another slice of the heavenly dessert you ordered online or the tall glass of milk tea, then maybe you should consider doing physical activity to burn it off.

 Cycling burns between 400 and 1000 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of the ride and the weight of the rider. That makes it the perfect activity to burn some fats.  

If you like cycling, then you have two motivations to do it: you get to enjoy the road scenery and be fit at the same time. 

Now that is not a shabby deal, isn’t it?

Cycling builds muscle

The resistance element of cycling means that it just doesn’t burn fat; it also builds muscles, particularly around the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Muscle—building is a good thing because having a lot of it could help you burn more calories even when sedentary.

Start biking now and get that nice toned butt you’ve always wanted!

Cycling is a low impact activity

If you want to stay fit, have you thought it might be easier to just go for a run instead of spending money on a bike?

Yes, running can help you you’re your weight loss agenda; but sadly, it is weight-bearing – and therefore injury rates are higher. 

Cycling, by contrast to running, is not weight-bearing.

Scientists compared groups of exercisers – long-distance runners and cyclists— and they found that runners suffered 133-144 percent more muscle damage. 

They also had 256 percent more inflammation and 87 percent higher Delayed-onset muscle soreness cases.  

You have to keep in mind, though, that while cycling is less likely to result in an overuse injury, they can still crop up. So, it is a good idea to get a bike that is tailored to you.  

Cycling improves mental well-being

According to the research conducted by the YMCA, physically active people have a higher wellbeing score than inactive individuals.   

You might think: I can still get the basic dose of adrenalin and endorphins when I do other exercises. Why bike?

Well, cycling can give you what others can’t: physical exercise while being outdoors and exploring new breathtaking views.  

And since only a person can ride a bike, you get to have the time to process worries or concerns without the interruption of other people.  

You can also opt to ride with a group that can broaden your social circle. Former Hour Record holder Graeme Obree swear by the benefits of biking on his mental health. He suffered from depression for most of his life and he enthused that getting out and riding can help people with depression.

“Without cycling, I don’t know where I would be,” he said.

Cycling boosts your brainpower

Exercise has always been associated with brain health. In a study conducted in 2013, it was found out that during cycling sessions, the blood flow to the brain rises by 28 percent, and up to 70 percent in other specific areas.

Also, up to 40 percent remain raised in some areas even after exercise.  

This is a good thing because improved blood flow delivers the essential nutrients and chemicals that keep you healthy.

The study also found out that to keep the blood flow robust, you should cycle for 45-60 minutes at 75-85 percent of max heart rate reserve (max heart rate minus resting heart rate) for four times a week.  

Just make sure to consult your doctor before you start this regimen.

Cycling cuts heart disease and cancer risk

Cycling is included in United Kingdom National Health Service’s recommended list of exercises that can cut your risk of developing major illnesses. A study conducted by the University of Glasgow studied over 260,000 individuals for five years and the results have shown that cycling to work can cut a riders’ risk of developing heart disease or cancer in half.   

According to Dr. Jason Gill of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, cycling to work was associated with a significantly lower risk of adverse health outcomes.

Cycling improves your sex life

First off, do you know that sex is good for your overall health and could prolong your life? How so?

According to Dr. Michael Roizen, head of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, “the typical man who has 350 orgasms a year, versus the national average of around a quarter of that, lives about four years longer.” Similar findings were revealed for women.

So can cycling improve your sex life? 

Well, let’s go back to the muscle issue. Cycling builds some rather essential muscle groups. 

Dr. Matthew Forsyth, urologist and keen cyclist from Portland, Oregon, said that all the muscles that are working while cycling were utilized during intercourse. 

“The better developed these muscles, the longer and more athletic intercourse will be,” he added.

Taking your first hop on a bike for either practical or recreational reasons can be one of the best decisions you’ll make in life. Whether you choose to bike for health reasons, to help the environment, or to try a new activity, you will surely find that cycling can be a lot of fun.

If ever there will be a downside to cycling, it’s that it can be addictive!

Happy cycling!

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