Whether it's for the sake of your physical fitness, health, or as an environmental choice, taking up cycling as a regular habit could be one of the best decisions you ever make. Not convinced? Here are 10 significant cycling benefits when it comes to health, relationships and the environment. What is your number one reason you ride your bike?
Reason #1: You'll look younger
Did you know that scientists at Stanford University found that cycling can actually protect your skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce the signs of aging. Harley Street dermatologist Dr. Payne explains this phenomenon: “Increased circulation through exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells more effectively, while flushing harmful toxins out." Just make sure to remember your sunscreen if you want to take advantage of this cycling benefit!
Reason #2: Increase your brain power
Need to sharpen your mind? Then start cycling! University of Illinois researchers found that a five percent improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent on mental tests! Cycling helps build new brain cells in the brain region responsible for memory, which begins to deteriorate after age of 30. Keep your brain young with cycling - it's one of the best cycling benefits!
Reason #3: Beat Illness
Not only are you increasing your brain power when cycling, you're fighting off illness! Moderate exercise is an immune system booster - those who cycling regularly (30 min / 5 days a week) have been found to take about half as many sick days.
Reason #4: Save the Planet
It's simple. Bikes produce zero pollution - choosing two wheels instead of four can have a huge environmental impact. Cycling is also efficient - you travel three times as fast as walking while using the same amount of energy.
Reason #5: You'll sleep better
Find yourself tossing and turning at night? Cycling could be the solution! Stanford University researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to cycle for 20-30 minutes every other day - and found dramatic results. The time required it took the insomniacs to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time was increased by almost an hour.
Reason #6: Protect your heart
Research from Purdue University has shown that regular cycling cuts your risk of heart disease by up to 50%. All you need to accrue this benefit? Cycling just 20 miles a week.
Reason #8: Ward off cancer
Can cycling really help keep cancer at bay? A long term study in Finland found that men who exercised a moderate amount (about 30 minutes a day) were half as likely to develop cancer. One of their most common forms of exercises cited was biking to work. Other studies have shown women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by about a third by regularly cycling.
Reason #9: Enjoy healthy family time
Cycling is one of those sports that the entire family can enjoy together. From the toddler years to the teenage years, take your kids with you cycling! Kids are influenced by their parents' exercise (or lack thereof) habits and are likely to adopt what they see modeled.
Reason #10: Burn more fat
The efficiency with which the body burns calories and fat not only is raised when you're cycling, but also for several hours afterwards. However, HOW you cycle does have an impact on how much fat you burn. Cyclists who incorporate fast intervals into their rides can burn up to three times as much fat as those who ride at a steady, but slower, pace.