Cycling training doesn’t just help you become a faster cyclist! Cycling also offers countless benefits to your physical health, mental wellness, and general wellbeing. Whether you’re a competitive cyclist training for a goal event or a recreational athlete looking to improve your fitness, you can expect to see these benefits when you ride your bike regularly.
1. Increases in Mental Wellbeing
Cycling has short-term and long-term effects on mood and wellbeing. When you ride your bike, your body secretes compounds that directly impact brain chemistry, alleviate pain, and assist bodily systems. These effects can positively impact your mood after a workout and improve your overall sense of wellbeing.
2. Reduced Stress Levels
In addition to boosting positive feelings, cycling can also help lessen negative ones. The same compounds that help improve your mood after a workout can reduce feelings of stress and, in some cases, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
3. Aerobic Fitness and Muscular Endurance
As a predominantly aerobic activity, cycling is an efficient way to build your aerobic fitness and muscular endurance. On the bike, growing your aerobic endurance allows you to ride for longer durations with greater efficiency and less fatigue. Off the bike, increased aerobic fitness can give you more energy and physical stamina for day-to-day activities.
4. Good for Cardiovascular Health
A stronger aerobic fitness can also result in a stronger heart and improvements to your cardiovascular health. Studies suggest that just a few hours of aerobic exercise every week can lower blood pressure, help regulate blood sugar, and significantly reduce the chance of heart-related diseases.
5. Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
The energy demands and physical adaptations that accompany cycling make it an excellent tool for reaching weight-related goals. When you focus on performance, and actively incorporate healthy nutrition principles into your training, cycling can even be an effective and sustainable long-term approach to weight loss or personal weight management.
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6. Builds Muscular Strength
While you might not build a ton of muscle mass cycling, pushing the pedals still grows an incredible amount of muscular strength. You can expect interval workouts to build muscular strength, and to an extent, muscle mass in the muscles used for cycling. If you want to build muscle mass, cycling-related strength training is a great way to complement your cycling training and build muscle mass.
7. Cycling Grows New Skills
There’s a lot more to cycling than pushing the pedals. Riding challenges and grows a diverse range of skills, including bike handling skills, navigational skills, and coordination. It can even encourage athletes to grow their knowledge around nutrition, strength training, and bike maintenance.
8. Promotes Cognitive Abilities
Cycling can increase your ability to manage cognitive loads and resist mental fatigue. In certain cases, it can even boost your short-term focus. This study showed that lower intensity workouts could result in increased acute cognitive performance.
9. Builds Positive Habits
Good habits around nutrition, hydration, sleep, and stress management are just a few things that can affect a cycling workout. The relationship between these elements and cycling creates a natural incentive to build good habits around nutrition and recovery, which can offer several benefits to your daily routine.
10. Find Community and Support
On top of all the health and skill-related benefits, cycling offers a number of social benefits too! With local weekly group rides, teams, clubs, and online forums, there’s plenty of opportunity for cyclists of all backgrounds and abilities to find community and connect.
Cycling for Weight Loss
Riding your bike increases your activity level, burns calories, and grows muscle mass. These demands, paired with positive physical adaptations that increase energy consumption, make cycling a great activity for anyone aiming to reach weight-related goals. Even if you aren’t actively aiming to lose weight, cycling is likely to improve your body composition. Body composition is the proportion of fat to nonfat substances in the body. With a nourishing diet, training can build muscle mass while burning fat, ultimately resulting in improvements in body composition.
With that being said, it’s important to remember that weight loss isn’t just about exercise. It takes a healthy diet to reach weight-related goals with cycling. For more information and tangible steps on using cycling and nutrition for weight loss, check out the articles below, or listen to our podcast on weight loss: Weight Loss and Nutrition Tips with Successful Athlete Jesse Fortson.
Benefits of Indoor Cycling
As a cyclist, you have the added advantage of being able to take your training indoors. Indoor cycling training is an incredibly time-efficient way to incorporate aerobic exercise and intervals into your schedule. When you ride outside, you’re likely to spend your fair share of time off the pedals coasting. When you ride indoors, there’s no time for coasting—you’re outputting power for the entire duration of the workout. This makes for a highly efficient training process, perfect for busy athletes!
Indoor workouts are also a safe and accessible place to practice drills and improve your pedal stroke. Indoors, there are very few distractions from your pedaling mechanics, and you can narrow your attention to minor details of your body position. It’s also a low-risk environment, perfect for making mistakes and experimenting with new techniques. If you’re looking to correct bad habits or improve your form, indoor workouts are a great place to dial everything in. If you’d like to learn more about the advantages indoor training has to offer, check out the articles below.
Health Benefits of Cycling
The aerobic component of cycling helps improve your cardiovascular health and aerobic fitness. Research suggests that athletes who participate in aerobic exercises like cycling regularly reduce their chances of heart-related diseases, high blood pressure, and stress. The health benefits don’t stop there, though! Cycling will also make you stronger, increase your lean muscle mass, and burn fat. It’s also an efficient form of low-impact exercise. While integrating some high-impact activities into your routine is excellent for bone density, not everyone can handle high-impact activities on a regular basis.
Frequent exercise also offers numerous benefits to your mental health and general wellbeing. Your body is equipped with systems that encourage and reward physical activity, and the positive feelings that happen after training are a few of them. During exercise, your body releases compounds that directly impact brain chemistry and assist bodily systems. These effects can improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. These results, paired with the positive feelings that come with improvements in health and activity, make cycling a positive addition to your routine and a helpful way to manage anxiety and stress.