For a fun and intense cardiovascular workout try cycling! Cycling is awesome because not only does it burn calories, but it becomes a good form of transportation. It is also versatile and can be simple or complex depending on your skill level.
There are 3 types of bikes you can choose from: cycling on asphalt, cycling on trails made for mountain biking, and cycling indoors. To best meet your goals, it's recommended to ride a bike for a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour or more. This should be done at least three times a week to see the most benefits.
If you can ride outside, then you can gain additional benefits from doing so, such as connecting with your environment and being challenged with tough terrains. However, if you need to stay inside due to illness or injury, it is still possible for you to get some exercise on a recumbent or upright stationary bicycle (depending on your ability).
Cycling Helps You to Lose Weight
Cycling is an excellent exercise when it comes to getting in shape, as it can burn fat, build muscle and elevate your metabolic rate. A daily 30-minute bike ride could burn as much as 5 kg of fat over a year. Research has shown that you should aim to burn roughly 2,000 calories a week from exercise. Cycling at a steady pace for one hour burns about 300 calories.
Biking burns calories, just like any other form of cardio. Depending on things like the intensity and duration of your ride you can burn anywhere from 100-800 calories per hour.
For example, a 155-pound person can burn 260 calories in 30 minutes of cycling at a moderate pace. If they increase the intensity to vigorous, they might burn over 400 calories in that same time.
You can burn about 298 calories in 30 minutes by cycling at around 12 to 13.9 mph. If you increase your speed to 14-15.9 mph, you can also burn 372 calories in the same amount of time. When cycling at 16-19 mph, you will be able to burn up close to 446 calories in 30 minutes.
Related reading: How to find the best toddler bikes
Cycling Improves Cardiovascular Fitness
Aerobic exercise such as bicycling leads to a lower risk of developing more serious forms of heart disease. In more specific terms, aerobic activity improves cardiac function and blood flow, which means you can pump a greater volume of blood with each heartbeat. It also helps to decrease blood pressure and prevent atherosclerosis.
Results from a study indicate that Danish adults who cycled to work or for leisure had 11-18% fewer heart attacks throughout a 20-year follow-up.
According to the study, 30 minutes of biking per week can provide some protection against heart disease. Participants who began biking in the first 5 years of follow-up had a 25% reduced risk of developing heart disease, compared with those who remained non-cyclists.
Studies have found that indoor cycling may be an effective way to improve VO2max, HDL, and lean body mass levels. It can also help reduce body fat mass, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Cycling Helps to Prevent Diabetes
In a study of Danish adults, people who cycled more had a lower chance of developing diabetes. the researchers found that cycling to and from work decreased the risk of diabetes even more so.
The study found that people who cycle regularly are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and the more hours spent cycling each week reduced the risk more. People had a 20% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who were not habitual cyclists after five years of follow-up.
The most interesting finding was that people who started cycling after the beginning of the study had lower risks of developing diabetes compared to those who didn't. This suggests that it doesn't matter if you're close to retirement or not, it's never too late to start cycling and benefits from this activity.
Cycling Helps to Strengthen the Muscles of the Lower Body
Cycling is an excellent total body workout that specifically targets the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. When pedaling a bike, different muscles of the lower body work more or less during different pedaling phases or when riding a harder gear.
Example: If you are riding up a hill, the drive phase will use more quad and glute strength while the recovery phase will use more hamstring and calf muscle strength.
Cycling helps to Prevent Cancer
Studies show that there is a link between exercise and some types of cancer, especially colon and breast cancers. A study found that cycling can help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Some studies show that cycling as a regular, daily activity (such as biking to work) can reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Cycling Helps to Improve Cognitive Functioning
Accumulating weekly exercise minutes is essential to the health of older adults, and that is why cycling has become an attractive pastime. In addition to being a fun way of spending your free time, it may also contribute to cognitive functioning
One study has shown that mature adults, ages 50 to 83 who rode a conventional or an e-bike bike for at least 30 minutes three times a week for 8 weeks showed an improvement in both health and cognitive function
The study's participants were divided into three groups. One group did not ride, the second group rode conventional bicycles, and the third group used electric bikes.
At the conclusion of the study, both the bike groups saw improvements in executive function. Executive function refers to the ability to plan, organize work, and complete tasks.
The e-bike riders not only performed as well as regular bike riders in the follow-up cognitive skills test, but they also had an improved sense of well-being and better ability to process information quickly.
Cycling Is a Low Impact Exercise
Low-impact exercises are flexible enough to suit people of all fitness levels. Low-impact exercises are those that are gentle on the joints or can be performed in a fluid motion. It's a better option for people with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.
Individuals with osteoarthritis shouldn't do any high-impact exercises, as this can lead to a lot of pain in the joints. Cycling is an excellent and safe way to exercise because it doesn't involve any impact.
Low-impact exercise such as cycling is a good option if you’re just getting back to exercising or starting a routine. It’s important not to push yourself too hard in the beginning, so it can be helpful to start with low-intensity exercises.