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Taking up cycling could be one of the best decisions you ever make, with the benefits covering improved health, happiness, relationships and much more.\nWe\u2019ve put together the top 27 benefits of cycling, which should give you more than enough reasons to ride a bike.\nWhile many of these benefits apply to all bikes and types of cycling, we also have a guide to the benefits of riding an ebike.\n27 benefits of cycling\n1. Helps you get fit and healthy\n\n Cycling is a great way to get fit, whether you ride on gravel trails or cycle to work. Russell Burton \/ Our Media\nWe\u2019re starting with the obvious, but the health benefits of cycling are manifold and it can help you get fit. You don\u2019t even have to be a Lycra-clad, century-riding enthusiast to unlock this benefit. Riding outdoors or indoors, or even just cycling to work\u00a0can pay huge dividends for your fitness.\nA 2017 study found commuting by bike is associated with improved cardiovascular functioning and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.\nThe study also says those who cycle often or incorporate it into their physical activities are typically fitter than people who do other physical activities.\nIt\u2019s also an easy way to achieve physical activity guidelines. The study shows how 90 per cent of cycle commuters and 80 per cent of mixed-mode cycling commuters hit activity guidelines. In comparison, only 54 per cent of waking commuters and approximately 50 per cent of mixed-mode walking commuters hit activity guidelines, according to the study.\n2. Beats illness\nIs cycling good for you Yes! Forget apples, riding\u2019s the way to keep the doctor at bay.\n\u201cModerate exercise makes immune cells more active, so they\u2019re ready to \ufb01ght off infection,\u201d says Cath Collins, chief dietician at St George\u2019s Hospital in London.\nIn fact, according to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, \ufb01ve days a week take about half as many sick days as those who do no exercise.\n3. Boosts your bellows\n\n Regular cycling will help your lungs work more efficiently. Russell Burton \/ Our Media\nThe lungs work considerably harder than usual when you ride.\nGenerally, an adult cycling uses 10 times the oxygen they\u2019d need to sit in front of the TV for the same period.\nEven better, regular cycling will help strengthen your cardiovascular system over time, enabling your heart and lungs to work more ef\ufb01ciently and getting more oxygen where it\u2019s needed quicker. This means you can do more exercise for less effort. How good does that sound\n4. Increases your brain power\nCycling will power up your grey matter.\u00a0 Exercise stimulates the growth of new connections between cells in cortical areas of the brain.\nA UCLA study showed exercise makes it easier for the brain to grow neuronal connections. This helps with the general power of the brain but also aids the regrowth of axons on damaged cells after a nerve crush injury, the study revealed.\nExercise can also aid brain function later in life. \u201cIt boosts blood \ufb02ow and oxygen to the brain, which \ufb01res and regenerates receptors, explaining how exercise helps ward off Alzheimer\u2019s,\u201d says Professor Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois.\nA 2019 study also found cycling improved executive functions. These are the processes that enable planning, attention focus and observation, to name just three.\n5. It can make you live longer\nKing\u2019s College London compared more than 2,400 identical twins and found those who did the equivalent of just three 45-minute rides a week were nine years \u2018biologically younger\u2019 even after discounting other in\ufb02uences, such as body mass index (BMI) and smoking.\n\u201cThose who exercise regularly are at significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, all types of cancer, high blood pressure and obesity,\u201d says Dr Lynn Cherkas, who conducted the research.\n\u201cThe body becomes much more efficient at defending itself and regenerating new cells.\u201d\n6. Helps your gut\nAccording to experts from Bristol University, the bene\ufb01ts of cycling extend to your gut.\n\u201cPhysical activity helps decrease the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, limiting the amount of water absorbed back into your body and leaving you with softer stools, which are easier to pass,\u201d explains gastroenterologist Dr Ana Raimundo.\nIn addition, aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate, which helps to stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles. \u201cAs well as preventing you from feeling bloated, this helps protect you against bowel cancer,\u201d Dr Raimundo says.\n7. It\u2019s good for your mental health\n\n Getting out on the bike can be a great stress-buster. BikeRadar \/ Immediate Media\nCycling is good for your mental health.\nNeil Shah, of the Stress Management Society, says cycling \u201cis one of the most effective treatments for stress and in many cases has been proven to be as effective as medication \u2013 if not more so\u201d.\nShah says there is a \u201cMountain of scientific evidence\u201d pointing towards cycling as a stress-busting property.\n8. Reduces your carbon footprint\n20 bicycles can be parked in the same space as one car. It takes around 5 per cent of the materials and energy used to make a car to build a bike, and a bike produces zero pollution.\nBikes are ef\ufb01cient, too. You travel around three times as fast as walking for the same amount of energy and, taking into account the \u2018fuel\u2019 you put in your \u2018engine\u2019, you do the equivalent of 2,924 miles to the gallon.\nYou have your weight ratio to thank: you\u2019re about six times heavier than your bike, but a car is 20 times heavier than you.\nRiding one of the best electric bikes can prove even more environmentally friendly than non-assisted bikes.\n9. Helps you avoid pollution\n\n It may seem counterintuitive, but passengers in cars inhale more pollution than cyclists. Russell Burton \/ Immediate Media\nAs well as reducing your carbon footprint, cycling will help you avoid pollution.\nResearchers at Imperial College London found passengers in buses, taxis and cars inhaled substantially more pollution than cyclists and pedestrians.\nOn average, taxi passengers were exposed to more than 100,000 ultra\ufb01ne particles \u2013 which can settle in the lungs and damage cells \u2013 per cubic centimetre. Bus passengers sucked up just under 100,000 and people in cars inhaled about 40,000.\nCyclists, meanwhile, were exposed to just 8,000 ultra\ufb01ne particles per cubic centimetre. It\u2019s thought cyclists breathe in fewer fumes because we ride at the edge of the road and, unlike drivers, aren\u2019t directly in the line of exhaust smoke.\n10. Improves your sex life\nBeing more physically active improves your vascular health, which has the knock-on effect of boosting your sex drive, according to health experts in the US.\nOne study from Cornell University also concluded male athletes have the sexual prowess of men two to \ufb01ve years younger.\nStaying active can also delay menopause by a similar amount of time. Some females can find menopause impacts sexual desire, so staying active could be a way to ward off reduced arousal.\nMeanwhile, research carried out at Harvard University found men aged over 50 who cycle for at least three hours a week have a 30 per cent lower risk of impotence than those who do little exercise.\n11. Helps with pregnancy\nCycling while pregnant could serve you and your pride and joy well, as long as you do it safely, of course.\nAccording to research from Michigan University in the US, mums-to-be who exercise regularly during pregnancy have an easier, less complicated labour, recover faster and enjoy better overall mood throughout the nine months.\n\u201cThere\u2019s no doubt moderate exercise such as cycling during pregnancy helps condition the mother and protect the foetus,\u201d says Patrick O\u2019Brien, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.\n12. Heals your heart\n\n 20 miles a week is all it takes to reduce the risk of heart disease. Russell Burton \/ Immediate Media\nStudies from Purdue University in the US have shown regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by 50 per cent. And according to the British Heart Foundation, around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves \ufb01tter.\nCycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who take no exercise, it says.\n13. Makes you motivated and helps you deal with stress\nA study of 200 people carried out by the University of Bristol found employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management. It also boosted their motivation and ability to deal with stress.\nThe study also reported workers who exercised felt their interpersonal performance was better and found it easier to \ufb01nish work on time.\n14. Can help ward off cancer\nPlenty of evidence suggests any exercise is useful in warding off cancer, but some studies have shown cycling is speci\ufb01cally good for keeping your cells in working order.\nOne long-term study carried out by Finnish researchers found men who exercised at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes a day were half as likely to develop cancer as those who didn\u2019t.\nAnd what was one of the moderate forms of exercise they cited Cycling to work. Other studies have found women who cycle frequently reduce their risk of breast cancer by 34 per cent.\n15. Lose weight through cycling\n\n Cycling can help with weight loss. pixdeluxe \/ Getty Images\nCycling is a great way to lose weight. It\u2019s efficient and unlike many forms of exercise, it can be integrated easily into your daily life.\nWeight doesn\u2019t have to be a barrier to cycling and it\u2019s worth approaching weight loss with caution. We\u2019ve put together an in-depth guide on how to lose weight through cycling safely and effectively.\n16. Bike riding means guilt-free snacks\nUpping your salt intake is seldom your doctor\u2019s advice, but in the few days leading up to a big ride or sportive, that\u2019s exactly what you should do. This gives you the perfect excuse to munch on crisps and other salty foods you might normally avoid.\nThe sodium in them helps protect your body against hyponatraemia, a condition caused by drinking too much water without enough sodium that can lead to disorientation, illness and worse.\n17. It\u2019s good for many sports\nWhether you want to keep in prime shape or just improve your weekly tennis game, a stint in the saddle is the way to begin.\nA medical study from Norway carried the title Aerobic Endurance Training Improves Soccer Performance, which makes it pretty clear the knock-on bene\ufb01ts to other sports are immense.\n18. It\u2019s good family time\n\n Cycling is a great family activity. Andy McCandlish\nCycling is an activity the whole family can do together. The smallest tyke can clamber into a child\u2019s bike seat or tow-along trailer.\nMoreover, your riding habit could be sowing the seeds for the next Tom Pidcock or Marianne Vos. Studies have found, unsurprisingly, kids are in\ufb02uenced by their parents\u2019 exercise choices.\nPut simply, if your kids see you riding regularly, they\u2019ll think it\u2019s normal and will likely want to follow your example.\nIt\u2019s not just the kids who can join in. The NHS says cycling is kind on joints and there are plenty of bikes suitable for older people, so the grandparents can join in, too.\n19. Helps with creativity\nWriters, musicians, artists and all kinds of other professionals use exercise to solve mental blocks and make decisions, and science backs this approach up.\nA study found 25 minutes of aerobic exercise boosts at least one measure of creative thinking. Credit goes to the \ufb02ow of oxygen to your grey matter when it matters most, sparking your neurons and giving you breathing space to come up with an inspired line, guitar lick or brush stroke.\n20. Can be used for a good cause\nMany cyclists turn their health, \ufb01tness and determination into fundraising efforts for the less fortunate. The London to Brighton bike ride has raised over \u00a340 million for the British Heart Foundation since the two became involved in 1980, with countless other rides contributing to the coffers of worthy causes.\n21. Burn more fat\nBurning fat isn\u2019t the same as losing fat from your body, but you can improve your endurance and V02 Max by training in the fat-burning zones.\nSports physiologists have found the body\u2019s metabolic rate \u2013 the efficiency with which it burns calories and fat \u2013 is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards.\n\u201cEven after cycling for 30 minutes, you could be burning a higher amount of total calories for a few hours after you stop,\u201d says sports physiologist Mark Simpson of Loughborough University.\nAs you get \ufb01tter, the bene\ufb01ts are more profound. One recent study showed cyclists who incorporated fast intervals into their ride burned three-and-a-half times more body fat than those who cycled constantly but at a slower pace.\n22. It gets you (legally) high\n\n Nothing quite beats the feeling you get after a long ride. Jack Luke \/ Immediate Media\nThe \u2018runner\u2019s high\u2019 is a sensation post-exercise of euphoria and relaxation. Despite the name, this high is applicable to all endurance athletes.\nTo test the idea, neurologists at the University of Bonn visualised endorphins in the brains of 10 volunteers before and after a two-hour cardio session using a technique called positive emission tomography.\nComparing the pre- and post-run scans, they found evidence of more opiate binding of the happy hormone in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain \u2013 areas known to be involved in emotional processing and dealing with stress.\n\u201cThere\u2019s a direct link between feelings of well-being and exercise, and for the \ufb01rst time this study proves the physiological mechanism behind that,\u201d explains study coordinator Professor Henning Boecker.\n23. It\u2019ll make you happy\nCycling can make you happy. Even if you\u2019re miserable when you saddle up, cranking through the miles will lift your spirits.\n\u201cAny mild-to-moderate exercise releases natural feel-good endorphins that help counter stress and make you happy,\u201d explains Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation.\nThat\u2019s probably why four times more GPs prescribe exercise therapy as their most common treatment for depression compared to three years ago.\n\u201cJust three 30-minute sessions a week can be enough to give people the lift they need,\u201d says McCulloch.\n24. It can ease fatigue\nThis sounds counter-intuitive, but if you feel too tired for a ride, the best thing you can do is go for ride.\nPhysical activity for even a few minutes is a surprisingly effective wake-up call. A review of 12 studies on the link between exercise and fatigue carried out between 1945 and 2005 found exercise directly lowers fatigue levels.\n25. Make friends\n\n Cycling is a great way to meet like-minded people. New Forest Off-Road Club\nThe social side of riding could be doing you as much good as the exercise and health benefits. With a burgeoning scene of inclusive cycle clubs, it\u2019s becoming easier to meet people through cycling.\nResearchers at the University of California found socialising releases the hormone oxytocin, which buffers the \u2018\ufb01ght or \ufb02ight\u2019 response.\nA study from Harvard Medical School found those with the most friends cut the risk of early death by more than 60 per cent, due to a reduction in blood pressure and a stronger immune system.\nThe results were so significant that researchers concluded not having close friends or con\ufb01dants is as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight. Add in the \ufb01tness element of cycling too and you\u2019re onto a winner.\n26. Helps with sleep\nHill reps or a daily commute by bike won\u2019t just help with your fitness but your sleep, too.\nReducing regular sleep by an hour a night can lead to a spike in the hormone cortisol, which can then make it harder to sleep.\nExercise can redress that imbalance and set you on your way to a healthy dose of shut-eye.\nThere is of course the added benefit of a good night\u2019s sleep aiding performance on the bike.\n27. You can explore the world\n\n Bikepacking can take you to some incredible places. Robyn Furtado \/ Our Media\nYes, cycling is great for your mind, your health and the planet. But the power of two wheels also has another huge benefit: it helps you explore the world.\nWhether riding on local lanes, bikepacking or taking part in the Silk Road Mountain Race, a bicycle will help you discover what\u2019s around you and places that are much further away.\n\n\n \n \n \n \n Want the latest cycling tech news, reviews and features direct to your inbox \n \n The BikeRadar newsletter will bring you our curated selection of the best cycling tech news, reviews, features and more from across the site. Just enter your email address below to get started.\n \n \n \n Thank you for signing up to the BikeRadar newsletter!\n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n Sign in\n \n \n \n\n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n Register\n \n \n \n\n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n\n \n\n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n Sign me up!\n \n \n \n\n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n \n You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information about how we hold your personal data, please see our privacy policy.\n \n \n \n \n \n","image":"@type":"ImageObject","url":"https:\/\/images.immediate.co.uk\/production\/volatile\/sites\/21\/2022\/11\/Specialized-Epic-Comp-and-Cannondale-Scalpel-Carbon-4-08-8d8ab8f.jpgquality=90&resize=768,574","width":768,"height":574,"headline":"27 great benefits of cycling How bike riding can boost your brain power, fitness and more","author":["@type":"Person","name":"BikeRadar"],"publisher":"@type":"Organization","name":"BikeRadar","url":"https:\/\/www.bikeradar.com","logo":"@type":"ImageObject","url":"https:\/\/images.immediate.co.uk\/production\/volatile\/sites\/21\/2019\/03\/cropped-White-Orange-da60b0b-04d8ff9.pngquality=90&resize=265,53","width":182,"height":60,"speakable":"@type":"SpeakableSpecification","xpath":["\/html\/head\/title","\/html\/head\/meta[@name='description']\/@content"],"url":"https:\/\/www.bikeradar.com\/advice\/fitness-and-training\/30-great-benefits-of-cycling\/","datePublished":"2023-02-01T17:00:00+00:00","dateModified":"2023-02-02T11:59:02+00:00"}] 27 great benefits of cycling How bike riding can boost your brain power, fitness and more Essential reasons to take up cycling 153554b96e






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