Last week we talked about how cycling is hugely beneficial for our mental health. This week, we’re going to look at how cycling helps your physical health in a myriad of ways – and how it should definitely be at the top of your list of New Year’s Resolutions!
We all know that to be fit and healthy, we need to be physically active. According to the American Heart Association, only one in five adults and teenagers actually gets enough exercise. They recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. This type of exercise will increase your heart rate and benefit your heart by improving your cardiorespiratory fitness.
A simple way to increase your physical activity is to jump on your E-Bike and experiment with different levels of pedal assist. If you’re moving your legs and pedaling at moderate intensity, your heart rate will increase, and you’ll breathe harder than normal, but you’ll still be able to talk. When you reduce your pedal-assist and pump your legs harder to drive you forward, you’ll find it harder to talk, you’ll get warm and begin to sweat – this is a sign of more vigorous intensity activity.
It can help to learn more about your target heart rate. The American Heart Association has lots of information here. And they have created a chart to help you determine what your target heart rate should be when you’re riding. These figures are averages so use them as a guide – and please make sure you consult your doctor before embarking on an exercise program.
Aside from heart health, regular cycling helps with your overall health – in so many different ways…
- Decrease stress levels
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Increase cardiovascular health
- Increase muscle strength and flexibility
- Reduce body fat
- Strengthen bones
- Improve joint mobility
- Improve gut health
- Increase brain function
- Prevent or manage disease
Cycling – A Great Place to Start
Cycling is a low impact activity so if you’re overweight, but you’d like to start moving more, cycling is a great choice. In addition to being gentle on your joints and cartilage, cycling strengthens your thighs, glutes and hips and, if you include some hilly terrain, your abs, arms and shoulders will also benefit when you stand to pedal.
Great for Your Pocket and the Environment Too
In addition to helping your physical fitness, cycling can also help your financial fitness by reducing your reliance on gasoline and your car. Using your bike as a mode of transport lets you add a fitness activity into your day when you might not actually have time for a workout. It also reduces your carbon footprint by giving you an alternative mode of transport.
But Wait, There’s More!
Aside from the benefits already mentioned, cycling has a myriad of other health benefits including:
- Helping you sleep better
- It’s easy – unlike some other sports, it doesn’t require a high skill level
- You’re in control – you can go as fast or as slow as you like
- It turns sedentary activities like sitting in a car into an exercise opportunity
- Saves you time when faced with a relatively short distance and a lot of traffic
- And above all, IT’S FUN – which means that you’re more likely to keep doing it.