Yes, cycling offers benefits for your physical health. But did you know that riding a bike offers a whole host of additional health benefits besides the physical exercise? It can enhance your brainpower, boost your self-esteem, and make you seem sexier too!
These 10 health benefits of cycling will make you healthier, sexier, and live longer.
1. Lower Stress Levels
Nowadays everyone is stressed. We’re all working too hard and worrying about various matters. Now exercise in general can help reduce stress, but cycling is one of the more effective exercises for reducing stress.
This was confirmed by a study that involved more than a million participants, so it’s pretty much a fact. The bike riders had 21.6% fewer days of poor mental health when compared to the non-riders. The effect of biking on stress matched the effect of team sports, but then you can always bike in a group to also reap the social benefits.
2. Enhanced Brainpower
A 2007 study found that riding a bike had a very positive impact on children and their health. It can even help with problems like attention deficit disorder too.
But people of all ages can have their brainpower enhanced through cycling. Another study even discovered that among the elderly it can reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Lower Blood Pressure
Cycling is a form of cardio exercise, and it helps your heart to remain healthy. A recent massive study involved monitoring 1,500 subjects for a period of 5 years. It was discovered that those who went cycling were 31% less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who didn’t take up the exercise.
But what if you already have high blood pressure now? It’s not too late to take up cycling either, because a strenuous bout of cycling can also lower your blood pressure just as much as your meds can. While it can’t replace your meds, you may want to discuss cycling with your doctor as it can help too.
4. Weight Loss
Shedding weight and losing excess fat is one of the most popular health goals today, and that can be achieved with proper dieting and with exercises like cycling. One study conducted with older diabetic women showed that with cycling and dieting, they can lose visceral fat (the abdominal fat that surrounds your organs). Later it was found that the same principle applied to younger women as well.
5. Longer Life
A study was conducted on the riders of the celebrated Tour de France, and it was found that the sport actually made cyclists live longer on average. Those who were formerly professional cyclists lived up to an average age of 81.5 years. That’s a good long life, especially compared to the general population’s average life expectancy of 73.5 years. That’s an increase of 17% or an extra 8 years of life.
In another study, it was discovered that such benefits were for even casual bike commuters too. Those who once regularly used their car and who shifted to using their bikes instead were estimated to extend their life spans by an extra 3 to 14 months. This study even took into account the potential hazards of bike commuting.
Just to emphasize the point, another study also found that riding a bike for even less than an hour a week can cut your risk of early death by 23%.
For you to receive this benefit, you have to amp your efforts and opt for high-intensity cycling. This leads to major anti-aging benefits that can be seen down to the cellular level.
In cells, a decline in mitochondria can result in physical decline. But if your mitochondria function better then you’ll feel more rejuvenated. This is where cycling comes in. A study has found that high-intensity cycling increases your mitochondrial capacity.
7. Reduced Risk of Cancer
Cancer is undoubtedly one of the most common killers, but you can reduce your risk of cancer through a combination of several healthy practices. You can maintain a proper diet, exercise regularly (as in biking), and keep your weight to a healthy level.
There was a study that monitored almost 14,000 men. It was found that those who were fitter (which you’d be if you biked regularly) as they approached middle age reduced their chances of lung and colorectal cancer.
8. Reduced Risk of Parkinson’s
At least this has been indicated for men. The study found that men who regularly exercised on a bike can lower their chances of getting Parkinson’s disease. All you need to do if you’re a guy is to ride about 3 hours a week at speeds of 10 to 12 mph.
9. You Seem Sexier
Well, this may seem rather obvious—if you’re losing weight and not aging as quickly, then you’d obviously seem more attractive!
This was confirmed by the British Heart Foundation, with their study involving 600 men and women. The study found that cyclists on average were thought to be 13% “cooler” and more intelligent than the non-cyclists. About 23% of the participants also said that a cyclist would be their choice for their blind date if they were going on a blind date with an athlete.
10. Higher Self-Esteem
You’re slimmer, you’re smarter, you’re less likely to have pain and die, and people find you more appealing and attractive. Of course, you’ll have higher self-esteem! But cycling also boosts your confidence and self-regard because when you ride a bike vigorously, you release a lot of “feel good” hormones that can make you feel as if you can conquer the entire planet.
Also, check out these 4 High-Intensity Workout Apps To Get You Back In Shape Fast