The Unexpected Health Benefits of Cycling
More and more Canadians are swapping their cars for bicycles. In 2014, over 12 million reported that they had cycled in the previous year. This number has only increased ever since.
What’s so great about cycling anyway? Sure, it’s convenient and burns calories, but is it really that good for your health? Let’s find out! Here are some unexpected benefits of cycling:
Enjoy a More Restful Sleep
According to a study by Stanford University School of Medicine, people who cycle to work enjoy a better night’s sleep. This form exercise has been found to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep by half while increasing sleep duration by an hour a night.
The explanation is simple. Cycling lowers the stress hormone cortisol levels and gets your circadian rhythm back in sync. These factors lead to a more restful sleep.
Live a Longer, Healthier Life
Believe it or not, riding a bike could increase your lifespan. In a five-year study conducted on 263,450 people, those who cycled to work had a 40 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, a 52 lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 41 percent reduced risk of dying from all causes.
These health benefits were even greater for commuters who increased the distance traveled every day.
Feel Happier and More Confident
According to the YMCA, physically active individuals have a 32 percent higher well-being score compare to those with a sedentary lifestyle. Cycling is particularly beneficial. This form of exercise raises adrenalin and endorphin levels in the brain, which helps lift your mood. At the same time, it reduces cortisol levels and relieves stress.
In the long run, cycling can lower your risk of depression and boost your confidence. You’ll focus better on the tasks at hand, feel more creative, and find it easier to make decisions.
Keep Your Joints Healthy
Compared to running, sprinting, and other activities, cycling puts less stress on your joints. This makes it ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels, including those with back pain or previous injuries.
According to a study that compared the effects of running and cycling, runners experienced 256 percent more inflammation, 144 percent more muscle damage, and 87 percent higher DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Additionally, riding a bike is less likely to cause overuse injuries.
The health benefits of cycling don’t end here. This low-impact activity can help you get leaner, improve cardiovascular health, and boost your overall fitness. When combined with strength training, it’s even more beneficial.
If you need help to get started, contact a personal trainer. He can create an exercise program that will bring you closer to your goals.