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10 Reasons Why We Love Cycling
The benefits of cycling cannot be overstated. This way of getting around the city is becoming more popular every year. At the same time, cycling reduces the risk of contracting a number of diseases, improves stamina, and also has a positive effect on mental well-being. In this article we will go over the reasons why you should take a bike.
Regular cycling can increase cardiorespiratory endurance – a parameter that reflects the performance of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems during physical exertion and at rest.
Work of the muscles
Cycling uses many muscles, especially those of the lower body: muscles of the front thigh (quadriceps, sartorius), rear thigh (semimembranosus, semitendinosus, biceps), inner thigh (ridge, thin, long, short, and large adductor), gluteal muscle group (large, medium and small), lower leg (calf, soleus). At the same time, the muscles of the upper limbs and back also work, although not as intensively.
Cycling helps to build muscles and lose weight. On average, a training session burns between 200 and 800 kilocalories.
At the same time, it is advisable to alternate cycling with other physical activities. Ideal for strength training in the gym. For example: cycling twice a week, strength training twice a week, and swimming pool, yoga, or dance class once a week. There are many variations. The main thing is a varied and balanced exercise. In addition, proper nutrition is very important when it comes to weight loss.
To lose weight, the total number of days of exercise per week should be 4-5. However, an exercise physiologist recommends not to go for the maximum right away. If you have not exercised for a long time or at all, start with two active days per week and keep the intensity of your workouts moderate.
The possibility of losing weight with the help of an exercise bike without losing muscle mass is also confirmed by a study conducted by Spanish scientists. However, it also states that proper nutrition is essential.
In professional cycling, injuries such as tendinitis, tendovaginitis, compression neuropathy (ulnar, median, pudendal nerves), and others are common. In contrast, injuries are rare in non-professional athletes.
When injuries do occur, it is usually a result of falls. They may be abrasions, contusions, and sprains.
Reducing the risk of early death
Cycling is beneficial for several diseases. For example, according to the Danish Diabetes Academy, cycling reduces the risk of early death in people with type 2 diabetes. Patients are 20-25 percent less likely to die prematurely with regular bike use. All that is needed is to spend just one hour a week on this activity.
According to a study published in the Lancet, cycling also reduces death rates from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Support of the immune system
The publication by scientists from the United Kingdom states that regular cycling supports the normal functioning of the human immune system.
The study involved 125 people aged 55to 79. They all took regular bicycle rides. Their immune systems were compared with those of adults of the same age who did not cycle. The number of T cells in the blood (a type of white blood cell that plays a key role in building a healthy immune system) was examined. Their number normally decreases with age.
It turned out that cyclists had a much higher number of T cells compared to those who did not exercise. Moreover, the cyclists produced T cells at the same level as 20-year-olds.
Improvement of brain function
A 2017 Dutch study found that cycling at home is beneficial for people with dementia. We are talking about so-called interactive cycling: The patient pedals in front of a screen, and it simulates the movement in the city.
Observational results show that such activities help to improve the quality of life and maintain cognitive abilities. Cycling training cannot be called a stand-alone treatment for this condition, but it serves as an excellent adjunct to maintenance therapy.
Intense physical activity such as cycling and walking reduces the risk of developing age-related cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, Chinese scientists have found.
At the same time, on sunny days, it’s important not to forget your sunglasses when cycling on the road.
Improvement of the mood
According to Danish researchers, cycling helps reduce stress and improve mood. The people interviewed by the researchers who cycle regularly confirmed that the process itself gives them positive feelings and helps them focus on the good. This is especially true for distances over five kilometers.
Normalization of sleep
People who regularly ride bicycles sleep better, according to Canadian scientists. This type of physical activity makes you sleep better at night than other sports. It is enough to pedal in the evening for 30-60 minutes, and ideally the hour should be intense.
Contraindications for cycling
Despite the undisputed positive effects of cycling, it is important to note the contraindications. These include:
- – Osteoporosis;
– Degenerative changes of the spine and joints (e.g. hernias);
– the failure of the kidneys;
– Worsening of varicose veins;
– acute cardiovascular diseases (e.g., myocardial infarction);
– late pregnancy.