Cycling is one of the healthiest activities that you can do in terms of physiology. It provides a low impact workout that can be done at various intensities, working out the entire body.
Not only are there physical benefits to cycling, there are loads of mental health positives as well as the fact that cycling is the most efficient way to travel around.
With so many benefits it ca be hard to find the most important ones, so here are our top 5 physiological effects on the body that cycling causes:
1. Lose Weight
Sounds obvious, but this is a common effect of cycling. The exercise helps you to burn fat faster, lowering your body fat percentage which is important not only to improve your cycling, but to improve your health.
Having more body fat means that there is more competition for the muscles for vital things like oxygen and fuel, reducing this will make you more effective as a cyclist and also significantly improve your health.
The average male should aim for a body fat percentage of between 15-18%, with the average female between 25-32%. Well-trained athletes like cyclists should aim for around 8-10% for men and 24-28% for women.
2. Bowel Control
Cycling regularly helps to work your core as well as your legs, helping give your stomach muscles a workout which they will thank you for when nature calls.
Whilst you use your exterior core muscles to remain stable and upright on the bike, the increased heart rate and breathing rate will help to stimulate the contraction of your intestinal muscles.
Physical activity like cycling helps to decrease the time it takes food to be processed in the large intestine, also reducing the amount of water re-absorbed which results in softer stools which make number two's easier.
3. Lung Lifting
Unsurprisingly, cycling regularly helps to increase your lung capacity significantly, meaning that you are able to generate more oxygen per breath than those who aren't as active.
This is double beneficial by improving the strength of your cardiovascular system, meaning that your body can deliver that boost in oxygen to the working muscles much quicker.
This increase in strength means that your body doesn't have to work as hard to deliver more oxygen, resulting in lower resting heart rates and meaning that exercise should become easier at lower intensities.
4. Gives You Heart
Whilst we have mentioned the boost cycling gives to your cardiovascular system, the effects of this on your body should not be understated.
A lower heart rate and stronger cardio muscles are strongly linked with a reduction in heart disease, according to the British Heart Foundation every year there could be more than 10,000 fatal heart attacks prevented if people exercised for as little as 30 minutes a day.
Not only will strengthening your heart help make you fitter and a better cyclist, it can also cut your risk of heart disease to half at of sedentary individual.
5. Arms Your Body
Everybody gets ill every now and then, whether its a bout of man flu or a bit of cold; that's a fact of life. But cycling can help to significantly reduce the number of instances of illness you suffer from.
This is because regular physical activity, like cycling, makes immune cells more active which makes them much better at fighting infections. It is estimated that those who cycle for 30 minutes for at least 5 days a week take around half as many sick days as those who don't exercise as much.
Cycling can also help you live longer as it puts you at a significantly lower risk of things such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer to name but a few.
Remember though that despite all these benefits, a poorly fitting bike can actually cause damage to your body. We offer the Guru bike fitting service at our workshop, come and see us to make sure you're riding correctly.