3 Surprising Health Benefits of Cycling
Written by Eli Ben-YehudaOn May 3, 2020
The health benefits of cycling cannot be overstressed. They say you never forget how to ride a bike, so maybe it’s time to climb aboard a two- or three-wheeler and enjoy the health benefits of cycling.
“It’s socially oriented, it’s fun, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Today’s video shows 3 surprising results of cycling.
But did you know that just 20 minutes of cycling in a day can half your risk of dying from a heart-related disease? Amar Singal, the Senior Interventional Cardiologist at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, New Delhi, highlights several studies suggesting the same.
A study conducted by the Purdue University, Indiana, United States concluded that regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by a whopping 50 percent.
Similarly, the Copenhagen Heart Study, which monitored over 5000 people over a period of 14 years, found a major association between high-intensity cycling and reduced risk of coronary heart disease death.
Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for over 30 percent of the global deaths annually.
A daily cycle ride of just 20 minutes is sufficient to achieve this target.
Counting on the benefits of cycling, Singal explained, “Cycling is one of the best cardio exercises for people of all age groups and all body types. It not only helps burn calories and keeps weight under control, but also helps build stamina and increase muscle and bone strength. Being a low impact exercise, it is also soft on the joints and unlike hard gym training sessions, it doesn’t put you at risk of overuse injuries or sprains. This is why it can also be taken up by elderly people who have arthritic joints.”
“At the same time, cycling is also a major stress-relieving exercise, especially when undertaken in a congenial environment such as a park or a non-congested road. Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases,” he added.
Persistently elevated levels of blood pressure have the potential to damage the blood vessels which causes heart attacks. Exercise helps keep blood pressure under check and cycling is the most potent cardio exercise.
Cycling also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes is a major cause of concern in the U.S.
Physical inactivity and obesity are considered to be the leading risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
“Yet again, cycling is a very good way of keeping your weight under check and preventing diabetes. Keeping body weight under control: Obesity is today the key driver of hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in America. The rise in the obesity epidemic including in young children is again attributed to physical inactivity,” he said.
Cycle Away Your Stress
The people, who cycle regularly, will tell you that it is a wonderful stress-busting exercise.
There is no other workout as calming as riding a bicycle in a green environment. Keeping stress under control is also important to check the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Cycling, when done regularly, helps raise the levels of heart-protecting HDL cholesterol and reduce the levels of dangerous triglycerides. Cycling can be adopted in daily life without actually demarcating time for exercise as it can be incorporated as a mode of transport too.
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