Did you know, cycling can burn about 300 and sometimes even up to 600 calories per hour? That's quite a lot, especially for a low-impact form of exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That means you can burn an extra 750 calories a week.
Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise that causes less strain and injury to your joints.
It is a full-body workout that builds your stamina, strengthens heart muscles, and decreases your overall levels of body fat.
Biking is adaptable to your lifestyle, time constraints, and level of fitness or injury.
Getting outside can improve your overall mood and stress levels. You can also turn your workout into a social event.
Cycling can improve your overall mental health by reducing anxiety and depression.
If that's not reason enough, let's explore the two types of cycling and five reasons for you to jump on a bike today.
Types of cycling
There are two types of cycling — indoor and outdoor. Both are a great form of cardio, but the weather, budget, and personal preferences will help you decide which is better for you.
Outdoor cycling takes place outside on a bicycle. There are many types of bicycles, so choose one that works best for your workout. Options include but are not limited to road bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrid bikes. If you have limited space, folding bikes are also an option.
When cycling outdoors, you have many options of where. Quite a few parks have specific trails just for riding. Cities like New York City have even installed bike lanes on their roads. Remember — safety always comes first when riding outside. Keep your eyes open, constantly scanning. Do not wear headphones while biking. Listen for cars, other riders, and people.
Indoor cycling, often called “spinning,” takes place on a stationary bike. Instead of the traditional two wheels, these only have one, called a flywheel. In addition, these bikes have a resistance knob that applies traction to the flywheel to emulate hills.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, cycling classes quickly gained popularity. Classes became available online, both live and on demand. Companies such as Peloton and Soul Cycle are popular in this particular fitness space.
5 reasons why cycling is a great workout
Cycling has many benefits, many of which are presented below.
5. Low impact
Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise. This means it causes less strain and injury to your joints. This will become more and more important as you age. The low-impact nature of cycling also means that you need less rest in order to recover, so you can cycle more often. (True for younger riders and when comparing it to running, but with aging, you will need more rest days in between to reduce the risk of injury)
4. Full-body workout
You will use all of your major muscle groups as you cycle, but the top half isn't nearly as engaged as your bottom half. This will build not only your muscle strength but your stamina too. Your general cardiovascular fitness will increase, as well as your joint mobility. Not only will your muscles get stronger, but your bones also will.
As with any cardiovascular exercise, cycling can be used to control or reduce your weight by helping decrease your body fat. Going cycling will strengthen your heart muscles, lower your resting heart rate, and reduce your blood fat levels.
Cycling is excellent for people of all levels and ages. You can choose how intense you want your workout to be by pedaling faster or slower. You can also choose your route based on how easy or hard you want your training to be.
Cycling can also be done at any time. You don't need to worry about getting to another location or even being somewhere at a specific time like you do for a fitness class. All you have to do is hop on your bike and go.
2. Good excuse to get outside
Cycling is a fun form of exercise that can also be used as a form of transportation. In addition, it's good for the environment.
Cycling can also be a social event. Meet up with your friends and cycle a route together.
In general, going outside can improve your overall mood and focus. Cortisol and adrenaline are hormones tied to stress and elevate your blood pressure. Both of these hormones are lowered when you spend time outdoors. Lastly, it will boost your immune system.
1. Mental health benefits
Not only will you be getting a workout and burning calories, but cycling can also decrease your stress levels and even reduce your anxiety and depression. What's not to love about that?
There's a reason why cycling is so popular. It's great for burning calories and reaching your minimum recommended physical activity by the American Heart Association. There are two types of cycling, indoor and outdoor. Both have their own pros and cons. Choose which works best for you.
As with starting any new form of exercise, consult with a medical professional. Once clear, hop on a bike and reap all the benefits. Happy riding!
- American Heart Association. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids.
- Cleveland Clinic - Health Essentials. Health Benefits of Cycling and Do's and Don'ts.
- The Victorian Government - Better Health. Cycling - health benefits.
- McLaren Health Care. Sunshine and some time in nature can lead to health benefits.