Whether it’s a leisurely bike ride with your family or an intense training session, cycling will help improve your physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Cycling as a sport or as a pastime can provide females with countless benefits. Here are our top 10 reasons why women should start cycling today.
Aids Weight Loss
Cycling increases your heart rate above resting, no matter what the intensity. As your heart rate increases and your muscles start working, your body begins expending more energy. Increasing energy expenditure (what you burn) above your energy intake (what you eat) leads to weight loss. Exact calorie burn will depend on a range of factors such as age, weight, intensity, sex, etc. On average, steady, moderate-intensity burns around 300 calories in 60 minutes.
Cycling helps improve your cardiopulmonary system, mobility, flexibility, and strength. In simple terms, it improves your fitness. What does this mean for everyday life? Well, increased fitness can lead to improved quality and quantity of life. How? Think about everyday situations like getting out of a chair, running for the bus, or lifting a bag into overhead storage. All these simple tasks require some level of fitness. Cycling regularly trains us to get better at life. Climbing a set of stairs or running around the garden with your kids becomes easy to work, thanks to the hours you’ve spent on the bike.
Helps Tone Your Legs
There’s one thing cycling guarantees – great legs! Build great calves, glutes, and quads with regular cycling sessions. I want you to picture the movement of a squat. Now picture the movement of your legs while cycling. The movement is very similar. If you think squats are good for your legs, imagine what 30 minutes of cycling can do.
If you want to up the intensity and get your legs working harder, try adding some resistance or hill work into your cycles. If you’re on a regular bike, try riding in a higher gear up hills to really set your legs on fire. It might not be much fun at the time but think of the results at the end. There’s a reason why so many pro cyclists are known for their big legs.
Reduces Risk of Chronic Diseases
Diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, obesity – these are all things none of us want to experience in life. We want to live a healthy life without any difficulties. Cycling is a proven activity to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to prevent chronic diseases. But, we can make good lifestyle choices to reduce our risk. One of those lifestyle choices is cycling.
Improves Mental Health
Cycling releases feel-good hormones such as dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. These hormones help improve our mood in the short- and long-term. Instantly, we feel happier, more confident, and less stressed. One cycle can lift you from a bad mood immediately. It’s like free therapy.
Helps With Menstrual Cramps
Periods are no fun. Sometimes, the last thing we want to do is go on a bike ride. However, aerobic exercise such as cycling helps to get deoxygenated blood through the veins. As a result, prostaglandins and other chemicals are released to help relieve period pain. It’s like mother nature’s ibuprofen. What’s really great about cycling is its non-load bearing. You just sit down and get pedaling. It’s also easy to carry around essential hygiene products while easily being able to get to a bathroom.
Gives You a Chance To Meet Friends
If you’ve ever visited a village cafe on a Sunday morning, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a group of cyclists sitting outside having a coffee and cake. Cycling has built a really good community aspect. There are loads of cycling clubs offering weekly bike rides and meet-ups. This can be a great way to meet new people and get to know like-minded individuals. Implementing a social element to exercise can help with motivation and adherence. Imagine this situation; you’ve got a bike ride scheduled for Sunday morning, but it happens to be raining. If you went alone, there is a strong chance you’ll sack it off. If you’ve arranged to meet others you’re much more likely to go. Once it’s all done, I guarantee you’ll feel better for doing it.
Helps With Mindset
Want to know a way you can increase your productivity, focus, and memory? Cycling. All of us are constantly looking for ways we can improve in our jobs. How can we stay focused? What can I do to improve my productivity? Cycling can do this. Cycling into work gets your brain firing for the day ahead. In fact, cycling actually changes the way your brain functions. It’s more prepared for a busy day after exercise.
Gets You Outside
Who doesn’t love a bit of fresh air? There are so many physical and mental benefits to being outside. Clean, fresh air in your lungs provides a feel-good sensation. It helps clear the mind and body. Nowadays, many of us are stuck inside at our desks gazing at the outside world through a window. Sometimes, there’s no motive to go outside unless we have to. If you build cycling into your routine, it forces you to get outside and take in that fresh air.
Cycling also allows you to cover large distances in relatively short periods of time. This means you’ve got the potential to see some really picturesque places. You can ride through cities, forests, mountains, whatever your heart desires all while getting in some exercise.
Saves You Time and Money
How much time and money do you spend on your commute? I know a way you can get around for free whilst beating the traffic (I’m not joking). It’s cycling. Cycling is FREE. I don’t know about you, but I love a freebie. What’s even better, cycling is often quicker than waiting in queues of traffic.
If that hasn’t convinced you to start cycling, this will. How much free time do you have? I’m guessing very little. Exercise may not be on your list of priorities, and if it is, it’s probably eating up a big chunk of your time. There is a way to cut out your scheduled workout time while still getting exercise in. What’s that you ask. Build cycling into your daily commute. Say it takes you 30 minutes to drive to work. Why not spend that 30 minutes cycling instead? It’s a win-win situation.
Cycling is an amazing tool women can use to improve their physical and mental health. Whether you’re looking to get fit, lose weight, or just get outside and meet new people, cycling can do it all. If you’re nervous about getting started, sign up for a proficiency class to help gain some confidence on your bike. Speak to your local bike shop about what bike will suit you, and join your local bike club. If being out on the roads is a bit too much, try a stationary bike for indoor use. They’ll do wonders for your fitness.
Oja, P., Titze, S., Bauman, A., de Geus, B., Krenn, P., Reger-Nash, B., & Kohlberger, T. (2011). Health benefits of cycling: a systematic review. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 21(4), 496–509. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01299.x