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As we get closer to spring, it’s time to dust off your bike and take advantage of the warmer weather. But cycling isn’t just a great way to get some fresh air and vitamin D, it can also have a huge positive impact on your health.
While the benefits of cycling are endless, we composed a list of our favorites to help convince you to put on a helmet and start gliding down the path towards a healthier life.
Good for Joints
Exercises like running may burn a lot of fat, but they can put extra strain on your joints—especially if you are just starting your fitness journey. As a low-impact exercise, biking is an excellent alternative. Just make sure your seat is adjusted to the right height, as having it too low or high can lead to knee injury and discomfort.
In addition to burning fat, regular cycling is a great way to build muscle. When you pedal, biking engages your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. As you balance and hold onto the handles, this exercise also helps build muscle in other areas, like your abdominals and arms.
Decrease Stress and Anxiety
According to a 2018 study of over one million participants, cycling ranks among the best exercises for stress-relief. The study revealed that people who regularly rode their bike experienced 21.6 percent fewer poor mental health days than those who didn’t.
As an aerobic activity, cycling helps improve your cardiovascular fitness. By raising your heart rate and improving circulation, biking helps decrease your risk of diseases like heart disease and obesity, which are commonly caused by a sedentary lifestyle.
Cycling isn’t just good for your body, it can also have serious mental benefits. According to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, cycling was shown to increase mental test scores by up to 15 percent. This improvement was associated with the increased blood flow to the brain and development of new brain cells in the hippocampus caused by bike riding.