It’s a no-brainer that physical activity is good for you, regardless of whether you want to maintain or boost your fitness and health or lose weight. But how much and what kinds of physical activity you should be aiming for, is the central question.
According to the updated Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or brisk walking, every week, in addition to strength exercises on at least two days of the week. Interestingly, the key ‘selling point’ for all age groups is to do physical activities that are pleasurable and enjoyable in the long run.
For many different reasons, cycling can be just the right one!
It is easy, does not require high levels of physical skill and causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.
Besides obvious cycling benefits like increased overall fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, improved joint mobility, posture, and coordination, cycling for about half an hour can burn 210-311 calories, depending on intensity, duration, and your body weight.
Moreover, a recent study showed that commuting by bike to work, for just 30 miles a week, instead of traveling to work via a vehicle can cut the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attack, as well as cancer nearly by 50%. Not only cycling is more time-efficient and environmentally friendly but is also healthier.
Cycling utilizes the larger skeletal muscles in a rhythmic pattern, with different periods of rest and active work where rest periods allow recovery from the high-intensity active periods. In combination with the distribution of body weight, varied breathing, and high maximum oxygen uptake, cycling has proven to be an effective high interval training that, could in only two-minutes, conducted at high intensity, yield the same results as 30 minutes of moderate exercise in speeding up your metabolism.
Besides, comprehensive analysis from multiple studies demonstrated that people who did high-intensity interval training experienced 28.5% greater reduction of weight compared to those who did moderate, lower intensity exercise for around 45 minutes at a time.
Outdoor cycling exposes you to daylight and helps to get your circadian rhythm back in sync, freeing your body of cortisol, the stress hormone that can prevent deep, regenerative sleep. An interesting study in people living with sedentary insomnia revealed that cycling for 20-30 minutes every other day reduced the time required to fall asleep by half, and sleep time increased by almost an hour.
Whatever your preference is, cycling can be done as intense as you want and is multifunctional. You can cycle at your own pace outdoors just for fun, commuting to work, or in the gym or home using a stationary bike achieving multiple health benefits.