5 Reasons Cycling Should Be Your Go-To for Fitness
The benefits of physical activity are well known. Those who get at least a moderate level of exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Regular cardiovascular workouts can improve depression, boost your immune system and make you stronger.
Yet, only a third of adults in the U.S. get an adequate amount of physical activity each week. Many of us struggle to fit even a 30-minute workout into our days, even when we know the benefits. There are plenty of excuses — you’re too busy; you can’t afford a gym membership; you’ve got kids; you don’t enjoy it. There’s one for every day of the week.
Well, we’ve got good news. In terms of exercise options, cycling addresses all of these problems and more. If you ask us, there are plenty of reasons cycling should be your go-to for physical fitness. Here are our top five health benefits of cycling.
It’s Easy on Your Body
Other than swimming, you’re hard-pressed to find a daily workout routine that’s easier on your body than cycling. Injuries are about half as common in cycling as in running, and the regular shock to your skeletal system is far lower as well. The constant impact that running brings to your ankles, knees and spine will slowly wear you down. Cycling is a smooth workout that’s easy on your bones, making it one you can stick with much later in life.
It Fits Into Your Life
Considering strapping on those running shoes for your 5-mile commute to work? Didn’t think so. When it comes to exercise that you can integrate into your daily routine, cycling is the hands-down winner. There’s no need to go out of your way to get to the gym. If you’re close enough to work, just extend your commute time a little to start and end the day with a workout.
And if it doesn’t work for your commute, you can work it into your life in other ways. You can’t exactly take your toddler with you on your run, but you can put her in a bike trailer. Your puppy can come along, too. And, of course, older kids can ride their own bikes with you. Family rides on the trail are a great way to connect while getting your cardio, and that’s one of our favorite health benefits of cycling.
Speaking of connection, cycling is an incredibly social way to work out. Sure, people run together, but who really likes to talk while they huff, puff and bounce along pavement? Group bike rides are the norm for many people, and it’s easy to keep a conversation going all along the ride. It’s one of the reasons that there are many mental health benefits of cycling. You cover more distance, too, so it’s easy to add social pit stops to your ride.
There’s a reason cycling is second only to team sports for positive mental-health impact. It’s the most social solo sport around.
It Can Save You Money
It’s no secret that cars are expensive. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates the annual cost of vehicle ownership at $9,282 as of 2019. The typical annual bike spend? $308. Yeah, it’s a bit of a difference. Even if you can’t get rid of your car, you can save significant money on gas and maintenance by cutting your use in half. You might even be able to drop that gym membership. Suddenly the initial costs of buying a bike, a good tensioned leather saddle and a few pieces of gear don’t sound so bad.
Cycling doesn’t just improve your personal health. It makes for a healthier planet. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy forecasted that a 20% increase in cycling around the globe would cut carbon dioxide emissions by almost 11% by 2050. The decrease in pollution, lower demand for gas, and downturn in auto production could all help to curb climate change. It’s great to know your workout can make an environmental impact.
What Are You Waiting For?
These are just a few of the health benefits of cycling. There will always be excuses to avoid exercising. But next time you’re thinking about skipping your workout, grab your helmet, saddle up, and leave those excuses in the dust.