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10 Benefits That Cycling Can Bring To You In 2024

10 Benefits of Starting Cycling in 2024

Riding a bicycle may be one of the best decisions you make, with benefits including improving physical fitness, enhancing happiness, promoting interpersonal relationships, and more. We have summarized 10 key benefits of starting to ride a bicycle, which should convince you to start cycling.

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Helps You Stay Healthy

Whether you're cycling on gravel paths or commuting to work by bike, cycling is a great way to keep fit.

Let's start with the obvious: the health benefits of cycling are manifold, and it can help you stay healthy. You don't even need to be a century rider in Lycra to enjoy these benefits. Cycling outdoors or indoors, or even just commuting to work by bike, can bring great benefits to your health.

A 2017 study found that cycling to and from work is associated with improved cardiovascular function and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. The study also showed that people who cycle regularly or incorporate it into their physical activities tend to be healthier than those who engage in other forms of physical exercise.

This is also a straightforward way to meet physical activity guidelines. The study explained how 90% of cycling commuters and 80% of mixed-mode cycling commuters were able to meet the study's guidelines. In contrast, according to the study, only 54% of car commuters and about 50% of mixed-mode walking commuters could meet the study's guidelines.

Helps You Fight Off Illness

  • Cycling can boost your immunity if not overdone.

Is cycling good for you? Yes! Forget apples, cycling is the way to keep the doctor away. Cath Collins, the chief dietitian at St. George's Hospital in London, says: “Moderate exercise can make immune cells more active, so they are ready to fight off infections.”

In fact, according to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, take about half as many sick days as those who don't exercise.

Enhances Lung Strength

  • Regular cycling helps your lungs function more efficiently.

When cycling, the workload on your lungs is significantly higher compared to usual activities. Generally, adults require ten times more oxygen while cycling than they do when sitting in front of a television for the same duration. What's even better is that over time, regular cycling can enhance your cardiovascular system, making your heart and lungs operate more efficiently and enabling them to access more oxygen more quickly when needed. This also means you can expend less effort to accomplish more exercise. Doesn't that sound great?

Improves Cognitive Abilities

  • Cycling can enhance cognitive functions that are beneficial for your work.

Cycling boosts your gray matter. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new connections between cells in the brain's cortex.

A study from the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that exercise makes it easier for the brain to establish neuronal connections. The research indicates that this helps enhance overall brain function and aids in the regeneration of axons in nerve cells after injury. Exercise also contributes to future brain functionality. Arthur Kramer, a professor at the University of Illinois, states: It increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which stimulates and regenerates receptors, explaining how exercise helps prevent Alzheimer's.

A 2019 study also found that cycling can improve executive function in the brain. These processes make planning, concentration, and observation possible, just to name a few.

Slowing down signs of aging

  • Aging can be slowed down through cycling.

A study conducted by King's College London compared over 2,400 pairs of identical twins and found that even when factors like body mass index (BMI) and smoking were not taken into account, twins who cycled for 45 minutes three times a week were 'physiologically nine years younger'. “People who exercise regularly have significantly lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, all types of cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. The body becomes more efficient in self-protection and regenerating new cells,” said Dr. Lynn Cherkas, who led the study.

Improve Intestinal Absorption

  • Cycling keeps you healthy and regular

Experts from the University of Bristol state that the benefits of cycling extend to your intestines.

Gastroenterologist Dr. Ana Raimundo explains, "Physical activity helps reduce the time food spends in the colon, limits the absorption of water by the body, thus making stools softer and easier to pass." Additionally, aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate, which helps stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles. "This not only helps prevent bloating but also aids in preventing colon cancer," Dr. Raimundo adds.

Beneficial for Physical and Mental Health

  • Cycling is a great way to relieve stress.

Cycling is beneficial for your physical and mental health.

Neil Shah from the Stress Management Society states that cycling is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress, proven to be as effective as, if not more effective than medication, in many cases, Neil Shah also asserts that there is a wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating that cycling is a stress-relieving activity.

Reducing Environmental Pollution

  • Riding an electric bicycle is an eco-friendly mode of transportation.

The space of one car can accommodate 20 bicycles. The materials and energy used to manufacture a bicycle are approximately 5% of those used to manufacture a car, and bicycles do not produce any pollution.

Bicycles are also highly efficient. Under the same energy consumption, your cycling speed is roughly three times faster than walking, and considering the “fuel” you add to the “engine,” you effectively travel 2,924 miles per gallon. You can thank your weight ratio: you are about 6 times heavier than your bicycle, but a car is 20 times heavier than you.

It has been proven that riding the best electric-assist bicycle is more environmentally friendly than riding a non-electric-assist bicycle.

Avoiding Traffic Pollution

  • This may seem counterintuitive, but passengers in cars inhale more pollutants than cyclists.

Cycling not only reduces carbon emissions but also helps you avoid pollution.

Researchers at Imperial College London found that passengers in buses, taxis, and cars inhale significantly more pollutants than cyclists and pedestrians. Taxi passengers are exposed to over 100,000 ultrafine particles per cubic centimeter on average, which enter the lungs and damage cells. Bus passengers inhale less than 100,000, and car passengers inhale about 40,000.

Meanwhile, cyclists are only exposed to 8,000 ultrafine particles per cubic centimeter. It is believed that cyclists inhale less smoke because we ride on the roadside and are not directly exposed to exhaust fumes like drivers.

Helpful for Making Friends

  • Cycling is a great way to meet like-minded buddies.

The social aspect of cycling is as beneficial to you as exercise and health. With more inclusive cycling clubs thriving, it's becoming easier to make new friends through cycling. Researchers at the University of California found that social activities release oxytocin, a hormone that can buffer the physiological response of 'fight or flight.'

A study from Harvard Medical School found that people with the most friends reduce their risk of early death by over 60% because they have lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems.