You probably noticed on our recent Technical Tuesday that cycling has huge benefits for your muscles. Cycling hits all of your major muscle groups, especially if you zero in on cycling hacks to improve your form. However, there’s so much more to cycling than training your muscles. Let’s celebrate National Bike to Work Day by thinking about how outdoor biking can improve our lives. Here are some of cycling benefits that might really surprise you!
Cycling Makes Your Heart Stronger.
Even casual outdoor biking contributes to meeting weekly recommendations for aerobic exercise. To maintain heart health the CDC recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. You can easily meet that by using your bike for running errands and participating in National Bike to Work day. Of course, you can step that up with some indoor biking for even greater training benefits.
Cycling lets you Save the Planet.
Did you know that most trips in the car are within 2 miles of home? Think about the environmental impact of cycling whenever possible. You’ll not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also save on vehicle and fuel costs. The third Friday in May is National Bike to Work Day. Or you can participate in one of the many other National Bike Month events throughout May.
Cycling Builds Community.
Nearly every small town has an outdoor biking club. What a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of spring and summer scenery! By getting started on outdoor cycling, you’ll also open yourself to the on-line community of active and fun people. Think you need to be an expert to get started? You’ll probably be surprised. Many cyclists are passionate about helping beginners. Check in with your local bike shop for recommendations.
Cycling Makes You Smarter.
All that blood flow that builds your muscles? Yeah, that’s also heading right into your brain. Couple that with the zen-like immersion of time on the road and you’ll find yourself solving some of your greatest problems while getting fitter and stronger.
Cycling Is Great for Your Mental Health.
It’s no secret that exercise is good at reducing depression and anxiety. From endorphins to dopamine, physical activity does great things for our mental outlook. Did you know that outdoor biking can boost your mental health even more? Participants in outdoor exercise report greater feelings of energy, revitalization, and engagement. They also experience less tension, confusion, anger, and depression. Sounds like a winning combination. Here are a few more mental health benefits of cycling you might not have considered.
Cycling Makes You More Attractive.
We all know that confidence is appealing, right? Exercise improves the self-esteem of everyone from children to senior citizens. Not only that, but a 2012 British Heart Foundation survey found that participants ranked cyclists positively in areas ranging from intelligence to charitable involvement. Oh, and they also appreciate the benefits of well-fitting Lycra.
Cycling is For Everybody.
Cycling is forgiving on the joints. It’s also a simple and approachable way for anyone to maintain or build fitness and participate in their community. You can sign up for a road race, pedal to the farmer’s market, or seek out an outdoor biking club. Any of these options will let you experience the many benefits of outdoor biking.
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.