Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but just how good for you exactly is bicycling? Do you know what are the health benefits of cycling 15 minutes a day? And how does cycling differ from other exercise activities? Read on to find out!
Health Benefits of Cycling 15 Minutes a Day
You can’t imagine how many health benefits you can get by cycling a quarter of an hour or even more. It is a popular activity that anyone can do without additional preparations and special equipment.
Calorie burn for Weight Loss
Cycling can burn upwards of 500 calories per hour, and even double that if you’re going top speed. 15 minutes of bicycling means that you’ll burn at least 33 calories, which is equivalent to a small serving of fresh fruit as a snack. If you only cycle for 15 minutes a day every day, you’ll burn a minimum extra 3.5 lbs in your body mass.
There’s more! Because you’re putting more oxygen in your body as you exercise (this is called EPOC), your body experiences something colloquially known as the “afterburn effect”, where you’ll burn more calories doing normal or even idle activities, for up to 14 hours. Another component of EPOC is a boosted metabolism, so you’ll burn more energy from your food than before. In one EPOC study, they measured that cyclists burned an extra 43% of the calories that they cycled in the 14 hours after they exercised!
A higher metabolism plays a part in another health benefit – more energy throughout the day. Don’t forget that if you drink coffee before you exercise, that caffeine helps you numb some pain and discomfort you may feel in physical activity while also giving you the energy you need to help reach a second wind, sometimes called “runner’s high”.
Joint issues and arthritis
Cycling is one of the fewer unique activities where you get to sit as you work. It’s also low-impact, meaning that all that work doesn’t wear down on your joints. For these reasons, bicycling is top-rated as one of the best exercises for arthritis, as well as other conditions that lend themselves to join issues, like morbid obesity.
Brain health and function
Another unique aspect of bicycling is that it’s been proven to boost your brain health, blood flow, memory, and overall function. All exercise has these aspects, but studies have proven that pedaling is particularly cathartic in these areas.
Benefits for mental health, ADHD, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, depression, grief, and overall mood
Because bicycling is a type of exercise, it has the general benefits of improved blood flow and activity in your body, which overall helps improve your mood. But repetitive aerobic exercises like cycling have been specifically scientifically proven to help with mental health, including depression and grief. Because the activity requires focus, it can also help improve ADHD over time.
Scientific connections are still being made to medicine, for example, how bicycling can help over time those who are affected by Parkinson’s disease with freezing of gait, and especially if they have issues finding independent mobility. Similarly, because cycling helps improve the overall health of the brain, this helps schizophrenic patients to improve over time.
Heart health, sex, immune system, and diabetes
Cycling is a cardiovascular activity, so it puts your heart in a place where it needs to pump faster and harder, exercising its functions and slowly growing stronger. A healthier cardiovascular system is one of the primary factors in enhanced sexual performance. Likewise, improved cardiovascular health (and general health overall), helps cyclists feel healthy, and even helps fight off cancer, and is proven especially to fight bowel cancer. Don’t forget that all this together helps lower inflammation.
All this is good news for diabetics, as it means that the body is better able to control its blood sugar level. In the diabetic health world, eating healthy, losing weight, and monitoring blood sugar levels are the primary focus, and little is spoken about improving the body’s ability to self-regulate.
As you continue to bicycle, your lung capacity and lung function improve. Your lungs are the front line for getting oxygen into your body, although it’s your heart that circulates it. The benefits of healthier, stronger lungs are long-reaching and have applications in every area of life that requires endurance.
If your local area has a very high level of air pollution, the general rule of thumb is that a half-hour of outdoor exercise a day is great, but after that, the pollution effects begin to outweigh the health benefits of exercise. Try to seek an indoor facility if you can.
Rest is incredibly important for the body and sleep is no exception. Bicycling helps riders feel more relaxed throughout the day by relieving stress, and also by exercising. In turn, when it’s time for lights out, sleep comes easier and better, which has its own plethora of health benefits. A study concluded that cycling for 20 minutes helped its participants get to sleep in half the time. Insomniacs, take note!
Social health benefits
Bicycling is a social sport. It’s easy to get help and advice, and it’s a well-known hobby to connect with others over. There are many large races and other rides where you’ll be alongside other people, and all of them come in various calibers of difficulty and seriousness.
Besides being in better physical and mental health, feeling less isolated by the social activity of cycling will help you live longer, as well as lowering your risk of brain-health related diseases, such as dementia.
It’s a start
The most vastly overlooked benefit of cycling 15 minutes a day is that it’s probably not going to be 15 minutes. Once you get outside and pedaling, you may discover that the ride is pleasant, that you feel better, or that you’d like to take a detour and explore someplace new.
The whole point of the 15 minute part is that it’s an easy, accomplishable, and encouraging goal. If you’re not feeling up to it, you can just pedal for 15 minutes, but on more days than that, you’ll probably ride for longer without even glancing at a clock.
Get started today!
Health benefits of cycling 15 minutes a day will improve practically every area of the body, mind, and even moon. If you already own a bike, how about getting outside today for a quick ride? 15 minutes is easy, you can do it!