We all know that exercise is hugely beneficial to our general health but some exercises are more strenuous than others and some are good for some things but bad for others. Every year we support Bike Week
because we support cycling and the many benefits it brings to your mind and body, not to mention the fact that you can enjoy it at any level, from a slow leisurely pace, to faster road racing to thrill seeking mountain biking. We love the fact that almost everyone can enjoy cycling as an activity.
But if you’re not yet convinced we’ve pulled 9 health benefits of regular cycling together to get your there:
- Increases Cardiovascular Fitness - As an aerobic activity that pumps your heart, blood vessels and lungs, regular cycling will increase your level of cardiovascular fitness quite quickly. This type of exercise comes highly recommended by most doctors especially for those with heart disease as it helps blood circulation throughout the body. If you can aim to cycle 40 minutes 3 times a week, you will help lower your blood pressure and keep your arteries clear.
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility – When you increase your muscle strength and flexibility you are maintaining bone density, improving balance and reducing joint pain. Strong, healthier muscles enable good posture and relieve back and neck pain. With more stability, balance and flexibility you reduce the likelihood of injuries and falls.
- Improved joint mobility - Mobility training benefits your form greatly. When muscles and joints are more flexible, you get an increased range of motion which allows you to perform exercises with better technique. For example, if you have tight leg muscles you will struggle to perform other movements like squatting and lunges with correct posture.
- Decreased stress levels – This is a big one. When you are stressed you use up energy and consume nutrients which would otherwise work to protect you from disease and illness. By decreasing your stress levels with regular exercise, you can improve sleep and reduce irritability, anxiety and depression. The beauty of cycling is that it makes you focus on your surroundings and takes you out of your own head.
- Improved posture and coordination – When you have poor posture you are putting pressure on the posterior structures of the spine, including the intervertebral discs, facet points, ligaments, and muscles. This can often contribute to tension headaches. But when your bones and joints are in correct alignment, your muscles can be used as they are intended, which reduces fatigue, puts less pressure and tension on your shoulders and neck. Another benefit of good posture is increased lung capacity. If you’re sitting or standing taller your lungs have more space to expand.
- Decreased body fat – Cycling regularly is great for shedding a few pounds and when you reduce your body fat you can expect to enjoy high energy levels, better quality sleep and good general health. It’s likely you’ll fit into tighter or smaller clothes which is a confidence boost in itself. Decreased body fat means it is also less likely you will develop serious health issues related to excess body fat over time.
- Prevention or management of disease – your health is your wealth, something we rarely understand this until it’s too late. A regular cycling routine to keep fit can help prevent health problems down the line. These problems can be hugely costly as visits to your GP, medication and further treatment for disease can add up very quickly.
- Reduces anxiety and depression – It might sound a little crazy but regular exercise like cycling, is a medication in itself. Getting out in the fresh air and letting the blood pump through your body has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and to have long lasting effects. One cycle can alleviate symptoms for hours so if you do suffer from these disorders, a regular schedule may need to become part of your daily life.
This year Bike Week Ireland
takes place from Saturday 19th
to Sunday 27th
September. Where will your bike take you? Check it out and see how you and your family can get involved.