5 Benefits of Cycling - Cleveland Clinic

“Move your body.” That seems to be the general health advice when it comes to staying physically healthy. And there are many ways to do this. If you were a mermaid in another life, you might enjoy a challenging swim through the pool. If you’re a dancer at heart, you might want a good Zumba class to start your day.

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Or maybe you crave two wheels, two pedals and an endless road ahead.

Cycling is more than just a popular hobby. Whether you’re on a dusty trail or at your favorite trendy cycling gym, there are plenty of ways to enjoy and benefit from cycling.

Physical Therapist Jaclyn Kubiak, PT, DPT explains the great health benefits of cycling and how you can start your routine today.

Health benefits of cycling

Cycling is often recommended as a low-impact and engaging exercise for people of all ages. It is an aerobic exercise and helps strengthen your heart, blood vessels and lungs.

Other aerobic exercises that have similar health benefits include:

In general, it is recommended that adults should do about 150 minutes of aerobic exercise every week. Cycling is a good example of this, because according to Dr. Kubiak, it’s a perfect workout for those who are just beginning an exercise routine.

“One of the main advantages of cycling is the low impact,” says Dr. cubic. She also points out that you can incorporate cycling into your daily life. A fast bike to work or the grocery store can contribute to your weekly exercise goal.

Here are some great health benefits of cycling:

Improves strength and flexibility

Like other aerobic exercise, Cycling can build your muscle strength and endurance. according to dr Kubiak research has shown that indoor cycling helps build muscle in different parts of your lower body.

“Your hamstrings are activated at about 17%, your quads at 17%, and your glutes at 15-17%,” explains Dr. cubic.

Cycling helps loosen up your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and hips. This way, your lower body will become more flexible over time. Also, your core and arm muscles will get a good workout.

Helps with coordination and balance

Cycling can also improve balance. Since you need to be in a certain position when riding an indoor or outdoor bike, it helps to train your body to maintain better posture. If you want to improve your coordination, cycling can help stabilize your core.

“If you think about it, when you ride a bike you have to find your balance in order to stay upright,” says Dr. cubic.

Enables versatile training

Another benefit of indoor cycling is how easy it is to incorporate other workouts into your cycling session. So once you’re comfortable with cycling, you can start exercising more than just your legs at once.

“You’re using your large leg muscles for cycling, which is already a huge benefit,” notes Dr. cubic. “But you can do it in combination with strength training, or you can do it without it.” This can either be using a pair of light hand weights while cycling, or even various arm exercises. This way you can train other parts of your body.

Improves your mental health

Cycling can also be good for the psyche. For one, it helps create positive endorphins in your brain.

“Cycling has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression,” says Dr. cubic. “Mainly because it can be fun. You have the added benefit of being outside or you can do it with friends.”

And if you’re just starting out, customizing your cycling experience will make it a more enjoyable workout.

“You can change the intensity yourself,” he adds. “It can be as easy as you want, or as hard and persistent as you want.”

Helps with conditions like arthritis

Because cycling is a relatively low-impact exercise, it’s an ideal form of exercise if you suffer from arthritis or osteoarthritis. Because cycling hardly puts any strain on the joints.

dr Kubiak again notes that staying upright while cycling helps activate your core. When you engage your core, you begin to flatten your back, which then reduces back pain and has less impact on your joints.

“When you move your legs and move those joints, it increases synovial fluid and increases blood supply to that area,” he explains. “You increase all of these things at the same time. Then that helps lubricate the joint and relieves the pain you have with arthritis.”

How do I start cycling?

It’s not just about how often you ride your bike, but how you do it. It is important not to neglect proper technique and safety at the beginning.

keep a good position

The last thing you want is to get a stiff neck from cycling. To avoid this (or other injuries), make sure you are properly positioned on your bike.

“The biggest thing when we start, or even when you become an expert in cycling, is to make sure your bike fits properly,” says Dr. cubic.

Once you’ve found the right bike, make sure the pedals, saddle and handlebars are set up correctly for your needs. Otherwise, your body will feel sore after a long ride.

“Especially if you’re in the wrong position for two hours, it’s not good for your body,” says Dr. cubic.

Once you find the right fit, it’s important to know what position to adopt when riding your bike.

Some postural tips to keep in mind while cycling:

  • Keep your shoulders back.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent.
  • Touch the handlebars lightly and don’t put too much pressure on your arms.
  • Keep your chin down and your neck straight.

Start slow

Especially if you are new to cycling, don’t push it. As with any exercise, it’s important to start off easy and get progressively more difficult over time.

“Remember, the farther out you go, the farther you have to come back,” says Dr. cubic.

The same goes for indoor cycling — don’t pick an advanced stationary bike on your first day at the gym. Instead, Dr. Kubiak to set small goals every day.

“Just start with a 15 minute ride and then see how you feel the next day. And then increase it slowly,” suggests Dr. cubic before.

take care

You may be excited to hop on a bike right away, but it’s important to heed safety tips when cycling. If you experience sudden or unusual pain while cycling, be sure to consult your GP or physical therapist.

When cycling outdoors, be sure to ride on designated bike lanes and trails. When driving on a road, be aware of oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

Here are some more safety tips to tick off your list before riding a bike:

  • Wear a helmet.
  • Ride with the traffic, not against it.
  • Use headlights.

Overall, cycling is a great exercise option for those who are on the move or want an easier workout. As long as you’re confident and start slowly, this low-impact activity can help build strength, flexibility, and more.