A Beginner's Guide to the Benefits of Biking

Bikes were invented primarily as a means of transportation, but since then, the simple bike has come a long way. Today, people ride bikes because cycling is good for their physical and mental health, the environment, and personal finances. Biking is also just an enjoyable way to get around.

Muscles That Benefit From Biking

The specific part of the body that benefits the most from cycling is the legs. The main muscles that are used most during biking are the quads and the hamstrings in the upper leg and the calf muscles in the lower leg. But many parts of the body can benefit from biking, including the heart.

Main Health Benefits of Biking

Cycling is a low-impact and non-weight-bearing exercise that does a tremendous amount for overall health. It increases cardiovascular health, strengthens the immune system, provides better lung health, increases muscle strength and flexibility, improves joint mobility, strengthens bones, improves posture, improves sleep, provides more brain power, provides better spacial awareness, decreases body fat levels, and can reduce anxiety and depression.

Benefits of Biking for Certain Health Conditions

Cycling can help to improve many physical health conditions. For example, biking raises the metabolic rate, burns body fat, and builds muscle, which can help a person to lose weight or prevent obesity. Cycling also strengthens the heart muscle, lowers your resting pulse, and reduces blood fat levels, which has a positive effect on cardiovascular diseases that cause problems like strokes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks.

Some research has even shown that biking lowers the risk of getting certain cancers, like bowel cancer and breast cancer. Large-scale research has also shown that people who biked for at least 30 minutes a day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. Cycling also improves overall strength as well as balance and coordination, which can help to prevent arthritis as well as falls that can cause bone fractures.

Benefits of Biking for Mental Health

Cycling can also improve a person's mental health. For one, biking can have a positive effect on a person's social life, encouraging participation in group bike rides with friends or cycling clubs. Cycling also has physical effects that can improve mental health. When blood pumps around the body at a faster rate, it allows for the faster spread of endorphins and "feel good" chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This improves mood and promotes feelings of calm and wellbeing. Biking even helps to improve sleep by better synchronizing the circadian rhythm and reducing levels of stress that can keep a person up at night. Biking also improves memory and creative thinking by helping to build new brain cells and promoting new thought patterns.

Other Important Benefits of Biking

Biking also has a lot of other practical benefits outside of those that affect a person's health. The financial benefits of biking are well-known: Instead of driving and spending money on gas or parking, a person can bike and save money on both of those things. Biking instead of driving can save thousands of dollars a year for just one person! Riding a bike also has environmental benefits. Biking instead of driving reduces the amount of pollutants in the air, making the air cleaner and reducing the levels of harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If more people biked rather than driving, it could also prevent deforestation needed to clear space for parking and roadways.