Staying fit is important to me. I like to exercise, but I don’t always like going to the gym. After several years, the gym routine was getting stale. I used to run, but honestly I never enjoyed it. I found it beyond boring and only did it to prove that I could.
A few years ago a friend invited me to participate in an organized bike ride with her. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was a kid, nor did I own one. I started researching cycling, types of bikes, etc. and decided to give cycling a try.
I bought a road bike, and eventually had all the necessary gear to go with it. My first rides were short. Surprisingly, however, they were fun. I prefer being outside, so biking suited me well. Also, I could ride my bike to run errands, thus “killing two birds with one stone”. The more I biked, my endurance increased without me really having to work at it. In short – cycling is easy, and it’s fun.
It wasn’t until I was well into cycling that I learned of and experienced the undeniable health benefits. Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means the heart, blood vessels, and lungs all get a workout. Cycling will cause you to breathe deeper, perspire, and experience increased body temperature which improves the overall fitness level.
The overall health benefits of regular cycling include:
- increased cardiovascular fitness
- increased muscle strength and flexibility
- improved joint mobility
- decreased stress levels
- improved posture and coordination
- strengthened bones
- decreased body fat levels
- prevention or management of disease
- reduced anxiety and depression
Additionally cycling is:
- Low impact – it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.
- A good muscle workout – cycling uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal.
- Easy – unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skill. Most people know how to ride a bike and, once you learn, you don’t forget.
- Good for strength and stamina – cycling increases stamina, strength, and aerobic fitness.
- As intense as you want – cycling can be done at very low intensity or can be a demanding physical workout.
- A fun way to get fit – the adventure and buzz you get from coasting down hills and being outdoors means you are more likely to continue to cycle regularly, compared to other physical activities that keep you indoors or require special times or places.
- Time-efficient – as a mode of transport, cycling replaces sedentary (sitting) time spent driving motor vehicles or using trams, trains or buses with healthy exercise
To make a long story short, since my first invitation to participate in an organized bike ride, I have become a dedicated cyclist. It is indeed my preferred method of exercise. The only drawback to cycling is a rainy day.