Category: Cycling

6 Beneficios Del Ciclismo Por Los Que Debes Agradecer A Tu Bicicleta

El ciclismo es uno de los deportes más recomendados desde hace años por los médicos, que aconsejan a sus pacientes una actividad divertida, segura y muy beneficiosa para la salud.

Sin embargo, muchas veces has escuchado el dicho latino de mens sana in corpore sano, nunca dejas de sorprenderte por lo bien que te sientes después de practicar deportes.

Compañerismo, superación, euforia… Son tantas las sensaciones positivas que se sienten cuando montas en bicicleta que no es fácil describírselo con palabras a alguien que no lo haya experimentado en primera persona.

Además de porque te gusta mucho dar pedaladas, ¿te has parado a pensar que quizá debes darle a tu bicicleta las gracias por muchas más cosas de las que crees? Aquí te mostramos las 6 más importantes.

ciclismo 1

1. Por cuidar tu cuerpo

Usar tu bicicleta te está ahorrando una larga lista de dolencias y de gasto en medicamentos. Como herramienta de prevención es muy valiosa, porque protege del riesgo de padecer diferentes tipos de cáncer y de la diabetes tipo 2.

El ciclismo está indicado para personas de todas las edades y especialmente para aquellas con dolencias en la espalda y las articulaciones, ya que no implica sufrir impactos, como sí ocurre en otros deportes en los que hay saltos.

Cuando das pedaladas estás potenciando tu sistema inmunológico y ayudando a tu cuerpo a perder grasas, pero es que la lista de beneficios del ciclismo para tu cuerpo es casi inacabable: mejora el riego sanguíneo, reduce los niveles de colesterol, incrementa la fuerza del corazón y la capacidad pulmonar, fortalece los músculos y mantiene la densidad de los huesos.

ciclista amateur

2. Por cuidar tu mente

Hay pocas preocupaciones cotidianas que resistan a un entrenamiento ciclista o una jornada de competición sobre las dos ruedas.

Mientras das pedaladas, poco a poco tus problemas pierden importancia y van quedando en un segundo plano. Seguro que has experimentado más de una vez la sensación de que, cuando te bajas de la bicicleta y te das una ducha, ves las cosas de otra forma y hasta aparecen soluciones que de otra forma no habrías encontrado.

Eso es porque tu bicicleta te aleja del estrés, ya que cuando la usas tu cerebro recibe una potente inyección de endorfinas y serotonina. Tu humor mejora, tu autoestima sube y te blindas ante la ansiedad y la depresión.

ciclismo

3. Por ayudarte a pensar más y mejor

¿Sabías que el ciclismo mejora el rendimiento de tu cerebro? A esta conclusión llegó en 2015 un estudio de la University Medical Center Utrecht, en Holanda. En él se asegura que hace crecer la densidad de la materia blanca del cerebro, la encargada de las conexiones que hace tu cerebro para realizar sus funciones habituales.

No es el único estudio que establece una relación directa entre el uso de la bicicleta y el aumento de la capacidad cerebral, aunque sí el que más evidencias ha ofrecido de ello hasta ahora.

4. Por ayudarte a dormir mejor

El insomnio es casi una plaga en la actual sociedad occidental. En España se estima que lo padece un 20% de la población. ¿Y si te dijéramos que la bicicleta te ayuda a dormir más y de forma más profunda?

Dar pedales es un antídoto perfecto contra el estrés y la ansiedad y ayuda a equilibrar el cansancio mental con el físico. Eso sí, recuerda dejar 3 horas de distancia entre la actividad ciclista y el momento de meterte en la cama para que tu cuerpo se relaje y baje la temperatura corporal.

ciclismo

5. Por mejorar tu vida social

Formar parte de un club, una peña o una grupeta de asiduos a la bicicleta te permite estar en contacto con personas que comparten tu misma afición.

Asociar a un grupo de personas a una actividad placentera, lejos de un entorno laboral en el que priman las relaciones profesionales, incrementa la calidad de vida porque ayuda a estrechar lazos.

Contar con un grupo habitual de compañeros ciclistas es, además, lo más indicado para intercambiar opiniones sobre rutas, entrenamientos o accesorios ciclistas.

6. Por ayudarte a descubrir lugares únicos

No todos los deportes pueden decir que se realizan al aire libre y en entornos naturales como los que se pueden conocer desde el sillín de una bicicleta.

Si pedaleas desde hace años seguro que tu amiga de dos ruedas te ha llevado más de una vez por lugares con encanto que, después, has invitado a conocer a familiares y amigos. Tanto la bicicleta de carretera como la de montaña te permiten ser más intrépido y curioso e incluso acceder a parajes poco conocidos.

Fuente: tuvalum.com

Sicheres Radfahren bei Regen

Bei strahlendem Sonnenschein muss man ambitionierte Rennradfahrer nicht lange suchen. Trockene Straßen und angenehme Temperaturen locken viele Triathleten aufs Rad. Was aber wenn es nass und nebelig draußen ist? Grund genug für viele Athleten das Rennrad ein paar Monate im Keller stehen zu lassen. Wir zeigen euch, wie ihr zu den mutigen und harten Sportlern gehört, die auch im Herbst und Winter sicher mit dem Rennrad unterwegs sind.

Damit die Herbsttouren bei unbeständigem Wetter nicht zur Schlingertour werden, haben wir euch einige Tipps zusammengestellt. Damit steht einem Training auch bei Niederschlag nichts mehr im Wege.

 

Tipps für Rennrad fahren bei unbeständigem Wetter

1. Regenjacke anziehen

Klingt erstmal nicht schwierig, aber eine Regenjacke bei voller Fahrt auf dem Rennrad anzuziehen ist alles andere als einfach. Dabei hat man bei Wettkämpfen oft keine andere Wahl, wenn man nicht viel Zeit verlieren will. Daher empfehlen wir im Training öfter mal bei mäßigem Tempo zu versuchen die Regenjacke anzuziehen.

2. Trockene Füße

Um sich nicht zu erkälten ist es sinnvoll sich mit wasserdichten Überschuhen und Socken auszustatten. Meist sind sie aus Neopren oder Kunststoff gefertigt und am unauffälligsten in schwarzer Farbe.

3. Regenhose

Die Regenhose erfüllt den gleichen Zweck wie die Überschuhe. Um nicht zu unterkühlen und krank zu werden, empfiehlt es sich eine lange Regenhose zu tragen.

4. Neue Reifen unbedingt einfahren

Bei Faltreifen tritt am Anfang oft noch Wachs aus, was den Reifen im Nassen unter Umständen sehr rutschig machen kann.

5. Nicht zu viel Druck

Es empfiehlt sich bei starkem Regen und nassen Straßen den Druck des Reifens am unteren Ende des empfohlenen Bereichs zu halten. Sind die Reifen hart aufgepumpt rollen sie zwar besser, rutschen in Kurven aber auch leichter weg.

6. Auf den Straßenbelag achten

Vor allem nach einer längeren Trockenperiode befindet sich viel Staub auf den Straßen, der sich bei Regen und Nässe zur regelrechten Schmierstreife entwickeln kann. Besondere Vorsicht sollten Rennradfahrer auch den Straßenmarkierungen, wie Zebrastreifen oder neuem Asphalt zukommen lassen. Diese entpuppen sich oft als besonders rutschig.

7. Ausreichend Trinken

Auch wenn sich bei niedrigen Temperaturen der Durst in Grenzen hält, sollten Radfahrer auf eine ausreichende Flüssigkeitszufuhr achten. Der Körper schwitzt und verliert somit Wasser und Elektrolyte.

8. Handschuhe tragen

Nicht nur bei Minustemperaturen, sondern auch bei Regen schützen Handschuhe die Hände und Finger. Wind- und wasserdichte Handschuhe machen vor allem Abfahrten bei Regen angenehmer und sicherer.

9. Kontrolle behalten

Wenn das Rennrad in einer Kurve mal ins Rutschen geraten sollte – bleibe ruhig! Versuche nicht hektisch beide Bremsen bis zum Anschlag zu ziehen. Am besten ist es, sich langsam wieder aufzurichten und das Tempo kontrolliert zu verlangsamen. Es hilft, wenn du das Manöver vorher im Trockenen einige Male übst.

10. Aufhellende Brillengläser

Eine Rennradbrille kann während dem Regen gute Dienste leisten. Sie hält nicht nur den Wind, sondern auch den Regen von den Augen fern. Auch das Spritzwasser des Vordermanns perlt an den Brillengläsern ab. Allerdings sollte die Brille nicht auch noch das bei Regen eh schon spärliche Sonnenlicht abhalten. Wähle daher eine Rennradbrille mit hellen oder orangenen Gläsern, um auch beim Regen den Durchblick zu behalten.

 

Sichere Fahrtechnik auf ungewohntem Untergrund

Bremsen bei Nässe

Bei Regen verringert sich die Bremskraft. Besonders bei Bergabfahrten müssen die Felgen zunächst mit mehrmaligem kurzem Ziehen am Bremshebel „trocken gebremst“ werden, bevor die Bremsbeläge greifen können. Unbedingt verhindert werden sollte, dass die Räder blockieren. Dosiertes Bremsen vorne und hinten ist extrem wichtig. Es lohnt sich, abseits der Straße die Grenzbereiche vorsichtig auszuloten.

Lenken bei Nässe

Fahre vorausschauend, so dass heftige Lenkbewegungen vermieden werden können. Sind die Straßen nur nass, aber sauber, könnt ihr euch mit einem guten Reifen auch bei Regen leicht in die Kurve legen. Doch übertreibt es nicht – manche Modelle rutschen bei Nässe ohne Ankündigung weg. Drosselt das Tempo vor der Kurve so weit, dass ihr ohne zu bremsen durchrollen können.

Bremsen auf Eis

Auf Eis ist es unmöglich zu bremsen, ohne dass die Räder blockieren. Da aber auch an trockenen Tagen Radwege und Straßen stellenweise vereist sein können, ist vorausschauendes Fahren extrem wichtig. Sollte euch trotzdem eine “Eisscholle” in den Weg kommen, bleibt euch nichts anderes übrig, als ohne zu treten weiterzurollen.

Lenken auf Eis

Auch Lenkmanöver sind auf glatten Flächen “verboten”. Lasst es rollen, bis wieder griffiger Boden erreicht ist. Vorsicht auch, wenn es taut und Rollsplitt auf der Straße liegt: Er sammelt sich am Fahrbahnrand und ist ebenso unberechenbar wie witterungsbedingte Glätte.

Bremsen auf Laub

Liegt Laub auf der Straße, ist erhöhte Aufmerksamkeit gefordert. Denn auch wenn die Straßen an anderen Stellen trocken sind, müsst ihr damit rechnen, dass es unter den Blättern feucht ist. Wenn jetzt zu stark gebremst wird, kann es sehr schnell passieren, dass das Rad auf der Blätterschicht wegrutscht. Auch hier gilt: Langsam verzögern und vorsichtig mit beiden Hebeln bremsen.

Lenken auf Laub

Da es unmöglich ist, einzuschätzen, ob das Rad bei einer Schräglagenfahrt rutscht oder die Blätter einfach wegwirbeln, sollte darauf verzichtet werden, sich in die Kurve zu legen. Wenn das Hinterrad dennoch zu rutschen beginnt, lasst euch ohne schnelle Bewegungen und ohne zu bremsen von der Fliehkraft wieder aufrichten und an den äußeren Fahrbahnrand tragen. In aufrechter Position könnt ihr vorsichtig bremsen und wieder in die Spur zurückkehren.

 

Vergesst nicht euer Rad im Anschluss an eine Regenfahrt gründlich sauber zu machen. Viele nutzen dafür den Gartenschlauch, die Badewanne oder die Dusche. So verkraftet das Rennrad das Wasser besser und ihr habt noch lange Freude an eurem Rennrad oder Mountain Bike.

Alle Tipps verfolgt – aber noch keine Überschuhe, Regenjacke oder –hose? In unserer Kategorie Radfahren findet ihr viele nützliche Utensilien!

Quelle: sportshop-triathlon.de

How to lose weight cycling: Six essential tips

Looking to lose weight cycling? Here’s a quick guide to losing that weight to improve your riding

Regardless of whether you are an amateur rider just starting out in the sport or a seasoned pro that is looking to increase their power to weight ratio, it is very likely that you’ll want to lose weight cycling and be lighter and leaner in your lycra.

Losing weight through cycling can be achieved by applying a few simple techniques both on and off the bike, like eating regularly and eating less as well as making what you eat and how you exercise really count.

However losing weight through cycling can require a great deal of patience, self-control and making the most of your time.

Unless you are already at your optimal racing weight, losing a few extra pounds is the fastest and arguably easiest way to increase your speed, especially if you find yourself climbing up a few hills.

Here are some of our top tips on how to lose weight cycling.

1. Eat regularly

Sticking to a daily routine of three meals a day, will mean you are less likely to snack and over indulge after missing a big meal.

You can ensure you achieve this by setting out organised weekly meal plans and completing weekly shops.

This also means you steer clear of any temptations when popping into a supermarket every day to pick up an evening meal.

This will also mean you are much more time efficient, giving you extra spare time to ride your bike!

 

Buying food at supermarket effectively to lose weight

Shop right, eat right, ride right and you could lose weight fast Photo: Chris Catchpole

2. Eat less

This may seem ridiculously obvious, but it is a matter of fact if you want to shift those pounds.

But you can help yourself with a few extra mind tricks, such as serving smaller portions by filling up smaller plates, rather than stuffing down a large plates full of food.

Remember it takes several minutes for the brain to signal to the stomach that it is full and doesn’t require any more food.

Dehydration can sometimes be misinterpreted for hunger, so if you start to feel a hunger pang during the day sip a glass of water and see if it feels the gap.

3. Limit high fat and high sugar food and drinks

Sugar cubes

Avoiding high sugar food and drinks as much as possible is key to losing weight

Once again this may seem an obvious point when it comes to weight loss, but in spite of their evident negative nutrition factors.

These foods are also very likely to be highly calorific, and not provide any substantial satisfaction to your hunger cravings.

So instead of munching on that mid-morning chocolate bar swap it out for a piece of fruit and try cooking some healthy recipes.

Or immediately after a ride instead of a fizzy drink to satisfy your sugar craving, sip on a recovery drink to help replenish diminished protein and carbohydrate stores.

This is one of the dangers with losing weight, as it is important to ensure you are burning fat rather than just losing muscle. Ensuring damaged muscle fibres are assisted nutritionally will help you achieve this.

4. Cut down on alcohol consumption

Alcohol is one of the main factors that can contribute to unnecessary weight gain. It is usually a three-pronged attack, with highly calorific alcoholic drinks piling on empty calories.

The alcohol content can also alters your senses on the situation and how much you have actually drunk, which can lead to greater consumption of alcohol itself.

Which can also lead to binge eating which piles on additional calories as well.

All three scenarios are a recipe for easy weight gain.

Drinking red wineOver doing it on the booze can be a detrimental factor to you efforts in trying to lose weight

5. Avoid on bike fuelling if it isn’t needed

It may be one of the most appealing things about riding a bike, but when it comes to weight loss it is vital not to over indulge on unnecessary carb consumption unless you really need it.

Any ride less than an hour shouldn’t require you to drink or eat anything other than a bottle of water.

After that you’ll only need around 60-90g of carbohydrates an hour to avoid bonking whilst not over consuming. An easy way to avoid this temptation is to only take the necessary food and drinks out on a ride with you.

6. Make your commute count

Cycling to work

You can make your commuting by bike boost your efforts to lose weight

Commuting is often an unavoidable part of day-to-day life, however this everyday routine is the perfect opportunity to boost your weekly mileage.

Whenever you get the chance to hit the road you should make the most of it, because every mile counts. In the summer months heading home a longer way or on a hillier route is a great way to rack up even more miles.

Source: cyclingweekly.com

The benefits of cycling for children and families

Children love cycling – it’s fast and fun, and gives them freedom and independence to get around. And you don’t need to wait until your kids are old enough to ride themselves to start enjoying the benefits of cycling as a family.

A girl cycling with her mother

Whether you were a keen cyclist before you had children, or you’ve just started admiring your neighbour’s new road bike, you may assume your cycling days are over now you have a young family in tow. Wrong! Having very young children is no barrier to cycling, and in fact this can be one of the best times to cycle.

Why cycle with babies and toddlers?

The huge range of bike seats, trailers and children’s bicycles means it’s easier than ever to cycle with young children. If you’re using a bike seat, your baby can cycle with you from around 12 months – younger if you have a specialist ‘freight’ bike or a trailer. Then, as they grow older you can progress to using a ‘tag-along’ bike, or buy them their own tricycle or bike with stabilisers.

Here’s why it’s good to start young:

  • improve your fitness
  • boost your positive mental attitude, and your toddler’s – cycling can help to relieve stress
  • interaction improves your bond with your toddler
  • travel around town for free
  • introduce a healthy activity to your children while they are young
  • do something together in the fresh air as a family that’s free and fun

Getting your kids pedaling

Cycling is brilliant for your kids – it helps them get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day, which one third of children don’t currently achieve. And, once you’ve invested in bikes and some basic kit, it costs very little but provides so many benefits:

  • many teachers report that kids who walk and cycle to school are more alert and ready to learn than those who arrive by car
  • it’s fantastic fun and, for many kids, can feel much more exciting than travelling by car
  • cycling can help kids get to know their local area and feel part of it
  • good travel habits learned young will last a lifetime
  • cyclists breathe in less pollution from traffic than car drivers

Health benefits for you

Jump on a bike and cycle with your kids and you could see the kind of health benefits gym members dream of:

  • cycling raises your metabolic rate, helping you to keep the weight off
  • regular cyclists are as fit as an average person 10 years younger
  • cycling firms the thighs and bottom, and can even help tone the tummy muscles

And don’t stop at your immediate family – cycling spans the generations. It can be enjoyed by people of all ages, so grandparents can get involved too. It’s easier to learn to cycle when you’re young and it’s a life skill that your kids will have forever.

Source: www.sustrans.org.uk

Cycling tips for beginners

Cycling is a truly invigorating and liberating experience, enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Whether you’re cycling to work, to school, to the shops or just for fun, the humble bicycle is an easy way to get more active.

Regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control.

This guide is designed to make cycling a safe and enjoyable experience for beginners, and provide you with tips on staying motivated.

Before you start

For most people, cycling is a safe and effective form of exercise. If you have any health concerns or an existing medical problem, see your doctor before you start.

For short journeys, any good working bike will do. You might have an old shopping bike or a bargain mountain bike that you could use.

A 30-minute ride will count towards your recommended weekly activity target.

If you’re buying a second-hand bike or you have an old bike that’s been gathering dust, consider having it serviced at a specialist bike shop to ensure it’s roadworthy.

If you’re buying a new bike, there are many models to choose from. Hybrids, road bikes and mountain bikes are the most popular.

A specialist bike shop will advise you on the correct frame size and help you select a bike to suit your budget and the type of cycling you want to do.

There are also bikes available for people with disabilities.

Remember, wearing a bicycle helmet is compulsory in Australia.

Starting out

If you haven’t cycled much before or you’re out of the habit of cycling, find yourself a traffic-free area to start off in, such as your local park.

Practise riding single-handed so you can make hand signals, and get comfortable looking, over both shoulders to improve your visual awareness. Some people prefer to attach a small mirror to their bike’s handelbars or helmet to help them see what’s behind them.

Before you start cycling in traffic, check the road rules and regulations for cyclists.

For health benefits, adults and older adults are recommended to do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

Children and young people are recommended to do at least one hour (60 minutes) of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every day.

A 30-minute ride, where your breathing is quicker and deeper, will count towards your recommended weekly activity target.

If you’re just getting started, take it slowly and increase your cycle rides gradually. Any improvement on what you currently do is beneficial.

Ensure you stop and seek medical advice if you are feeling unwell.

Staying motivated

Make it a habit

The easiest way to ensure you cycle regularly is to use your bike as a means of everyday transport. If you want some company on your bike ride, whether it’s to work or just for fun, find a cycling pal.

Cycle to work

Commuting by bike is cheap, green and one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your routine. Ask your office manager or human resources representative if there are showers and bike storage available.

Cycle to school

Riding to school is a great way to get the kids more active. Cycling has many benefits for children such as improved health, confidence and concentration. Parents may want to accompany younger children, which makes it a good way for grown-ups to get cycling too.

Mix it up

There are many places to cycle in cities and the countryside. Cycling is an ideal way for friends and families to explore their neighbourhood and beyond.

Join a bike ride

From charity rides to park cycles, signing up for a bike ride is a great way to stay motivated and experience the great outdoors.

Source: healthdirect.gov.au

15 Benefits of cycling: why cycle for exercise

Thinking about joining the cycling family? Here are 15 reasons you should get on your bike this summer

The benefits of cycling are almost as endless as the country lanes you could soon be exploring. If you’re considering taking up cycling, and weighing it up against other potential activities. Then we’re here to tell you that cycling is hands down the best option.

Admittedly, we’re biased – but there are an awful lot of good reasons to choose bike riding as your newest pass time. Here are just a few…

1. Cycling improves mental well-being

Cycling makes you happy: fact. (Chris Catchpole)

A study by the YMCA showed that people who had a physically active lifestyle had a wellbeing score 32 per cent higher than inactive individuals.

There are so many ways that exercise can boost your mood: there’s the basic release of adrenalin and endorphins, and the improved confidence that comes from achieving new things (such as completing a sportive or getting closer to that goal).

Cycling combines physical exercise with being outdoors and exploring new views. You can ride solo – giving you time to process worries or concerns. Or you can ride with a group which broadens your social circle.

Former Hour Record holder Graeme Obree has suffered from depression through much of his life, and told us: “Getting out and riding will help [people suffering with depression]… Without cycling, I don’t know where I would be.”

2.Cycling promotes weight loss

Weight loss is one benefit of cycling

Weight loss is one benefit of cycling

The simple equation, when it comes to weight loss, is ‘calories out must exceed calories in’. So you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Cycling burns calories: between 400 and 1000 an hour, depending on intensity and rider weight.

Of course, there are other factors: the make-up of the calories you consume affects the frequency of your refuelling. As does the quality of your sleep and of course the amount of time you spend burning calories will be influenced by how much you enjoy your chosen activity.

Assuming you enjoy cycling, you’ll be burning calories. And if you eat well, you should lose weight.

3. Cycling builds muscle

Benefits of cycling

Build muscle on the bike

The resistance element of cycling means that it doesn’t just burn fa. It also builds muscle – particularly around the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. Muscle is leaner than fat. And people with a higher percentage of muscle burn more calories even when sedentary.

To be clear – you won’t end up with quads like a track sprinter unless you invest a serious amount of time at the squat rack. But you will develop a nice toned derriere.

4. Enjoy second breakfasts

benefits of cycling

Chow down breakfast before AND after a ride

If you decide to cycle to work, you’ve got a great excuse to add a couple of guilt free snacks to your day.

Since a half hour ride to work should be burning between 200 and 500 calories, you’ve got a license to enjoy a smug second breakfast at your desk.

If you’re serious about burning fat, you could do your morning ride fasted (sans breakfast). But that’s mainly a habit reserved for the most dedicated of nutters.

5. Better lung health

You won’t be alone if this point seems contradictory to common sense. But a recent study suggests that people who ride a bike are actually exposed to fewer dangerous fumes than those who travel by car.

A study by the Healthy Air Campaign, Kings College London, and Camden Council, saw air pollution detectors fitted to a driver, a bus user, a pedestrian and a cyclist using a busy route through central London.

The results showed that the driver experienced five times higher pollution levels than the cyclist, as well as three and a half more than the walker and two and a half times more than the bus user. Long story short: the cyclist won.

6. Cuts heart disease and cancer risk

benefits of cycling

Up your heart health and life expectancy by bike

Cycling raises your heart rate and gets the blood pumping round your body, and it burns calories, limiting the chance of your being overweight. As a result, it’s among a selection of forms of exercise recommended by the NHS as being healthy ways to cut your risk of developing major illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

New evidence was presented in the form of a study conducted by the University of Glasgow, earlier this year. Researchers studied over 260,000 individuals over the course of five years – and found that cycling to work can cut a riders risk of developing heart disease or cancer in half. The full study can be read here.

Dr. Jason Gill of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences commented: “Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health outcomes.”

7. Cycling is low impact

benefits of cycling

Cycling is a low impact form of exercise

Many of the upshots we discuss when we talk about the benefits of cycling are exercise related. Reckon it might be easier to just go for a run?

Running is weight bearing – and therefore injury rates are higher. Cycling, by contrast to running, is not weight bearing.

When scientists compared groups of exercisers – long distance runners and cyclists, they found the runners suffered 133-144 per cent more muscle damage, 256 per cent more, inflammation and DOMS 87 per cent higher

Whilst cycling is less likely to result in an overuse injury, they can still crop up. A professional bike fit is a good idea – skimping here is a false economy if you end up spending more cash on physio.

The lack of weight bearing also means that cycling does not do as much to increase bone density as other sports – so it’s a good idea to add a little strength training in to your programme.

8. Cycling saves time

Compare these three experiences:

  1. Get in the car, sit in traffic, queue to get into the car park, park, pay to park, arrive
  2. Walk to bus stop, wait for bus, complain about bus being late, get on bus (pay), watch as it takes you round-the-houses, arrive, about half a mile from your destination
  3. Get on the bike, filter past traffic, lock the bike, arrive

Short journeys contribute massively to global pollution levels, and often involve a fair amount of stationary staring at the bumper in front. Get on the bike, and you’ll save on petrol or cash on public transport, as well as time.

 

9. Cycling improves navigational skills

benefits of cycling

Get lost in the lanes, and let your sense of direction get you home. (Andy Jones)

In the world of car sat navs and Google maps, sometimes there’s just not that much incentive to sharpen your natural sense of direction (however superior or otherwise it may be).

Unless you’ve invested in a GPS cycling computer with mapping capabilities such as a Garmin 1000, then getting out and exploring the lanes can provide essential exercise for your internal mapping capabilities, giving you (with practice) a better idea of which way is West.

10. Improve your sex life

benefits of cycling

Cycling could improve your sex life

Most of us know that sex is a good thing, but not everyone knows that it’s actually good for your overall health. In fact, regular sex could indeed prolong your life.

Dr Michael Roizen, who chairs the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, says: “The typical man who has 350 orgasms a year, versus the national average of around a quarter of that, lives about four years longer.” Similar findings were revealed for women.

So can cycling improve your sex life? Well – it builds some rather essential muscle groups. Dr Matthew Forsyth, urologist and keen cyclist from Portland, Oregon, commented: “All these muscles [worked on the bike] are used during intercourse. The better developed these muscles, the longer and more athletic intercourse will be.”

Add in that – thanks to spending plenty of time showing off all the lumps and bumps in skintight lycra (and occasionally double-oh-AND-seven) – cyclists tend to be fairly comfortable in their own skin, and you’ve got a recipe for success.

11. Sleep better

benefits of cycling

Ride a bike for a good night’s sleep

It probably isn’t rocket science that tiring yourself out on the bike will improve your sleep – but now it’s been proven. Researchers at the University of Georgia studied men and women aged 20 to 85 over a period of 35 years, and found that a drop in fitness of 2 per cent for men and 4 per cent for women resulted in sleep problems.

Dr Rodney Dishman was one of the lead authors, and commented: “The steepest decline in cardiorespiratory fitness happens between ages 40 and 60. This is also when problems of sleep duration and quality are elevated.”

Looking for causes behind the link the scientists suggested it could be a reduction in anxiety, brought about by exercise, that elevates the ability to sleep. Exercise also protects against weight gain with age, which is another cause of sleep dysfunction.

12. Boost your brain power

benefits of cycling

Up the power of your noggin

Exercise has been repeatedly linked to brain health – and the reduction of cognitive changes that can leave us vulnerable to dementia later in life.

A 2013 study found that during exercise, cyclists’ blood flow in the brain rose by 28 per cent, and up to 70 per cent in specific areas. Not only that, but after exercise, in some areas blood flow remained up by 40 per cent even after exercise.

Improved blood flow is good because the red stuff delivers all sorts of goodies that keep us healthy – and the study concluded that we should cycle for 45-60 minutes, at 75-85 per cent of max ‘hear rate reserve’ (max heart rate minus resting heart rate) four times a week. Nothing stopping you riding more, of course.

13. Improve handling and spacial awareness

 

benefits of cycling

Improve your handling skills – on and off the bike!

Cycling isn’t just about raising your heart rate and getting you breathless – unless you’re doing it on Zwift. There are technical elements – climbing, descending and  cornering all teach you to use your body weight to get the bike to go where you want it to.

Gaining the skills to manage these technical elements can provide a massive confidence boost – especially when you start to see improvement. Plus, you might just find your abilities to manage that dodgy shopping trolley with the wonky wheels greatly improves.

14. Strengthen your immune system

Sleep well, eat well and your immune system should be improved

Dr. David Nieman and his colleagues at Appalachian State University studied 1000 adults up to the age of 85. They found that exercise had huge benefits on the health of the upper respiratory system – thus reducing instances of the common cold.

Nieman said: “People can knock down sick days by about 40 percent by exercising aerobically on most days of the week while at the same time receiving many other exercise-related health benefits.”

Professor Tim Noakes, of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, also tells us that mild exercise can improve our immune system by increasing production of essential proteins and waking up lazy white blood cells.

Why choose the bike? Cycling to work can reduce the time of your commute, and free you from the confines of germ infused buses and trains.

There is a but. Evidence suggests that immediately after intense exercise, such as an interval training session, your immune system is lowered – but adequate recovery such as eating and sleeping well can help to reverse this.

15. Grow your social circle

Cycling is an incredibly sociable sport. Grassroots cycling revolves around cycling club culture – which in turn revolves around the Saturday or Sunday club run: several hours of riding at an intensity that enables easy chat, interrupted only by a cafe stop (or the occasional puncture).

Joining a cycling club or group is an excellent way to grow your social circle, and if you’re new to riding – you’ll probably find all the maintenance and training advice you may have been looking for there, too.

Source: Cycling weekly page

The perks of taking up cycling

1. It’s easy on the joints.

When you sit on a bike, you put your weight on a pair of bones in the pelvis called the ischial tuberosities, unlike walking, when you put your weight on your legs. “That makes it good for anyone with joint pain or age-related stiffness”, says Dr. Safran-Norton.

A cyclist's leg.

2. Pushing pedals provides an aerobic workout.

That’s great for your heart, brain, and blood vessels. Aerobic exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals – which may make you feel young at heart.

Two people doing cartwheels by the beach.

3. Cycling builds muscle.

In the power phase of pedaling (the downstroke), you use the gluteus muscles in the buttocks, the quadriceps in the thighs, and the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calves. In the recovery phase (backstroke, up-stroke, and overstroke), you use the hamstrings in the back of the thighs and the flexor muscles in the front of the hips.

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Cycling works other muscles, too. You use abdominal muscles to balance and stay upright, and you use your arm and shoulder muscles to hold the handlebars and steer.

4. It helps with everyday activities.

“The benefits carry over to balance, walking, standing, endurance, and stair climbing”, says Dr. Safran-Norton.

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5. Pedaling builds bone. 

“Resistance activities, such as pushing pedals, pull on the muscles, and then the muscles pull on the bone, which increases bone density”, says Dr. Safran-Norton.

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