5 Unique Health Benefits of Daily Cycling
5 Unique Health Benefits of Daily Cycling
There’s a saying among medical (especially orthopedic) professionals that even when you can’t walk or hobble, you can still ride a bike. You can do it if you have bad knees. You can do it if you have bad hips. You can do it if you can’t run more than five feet. Nearly anyone of any fitness level can pedal a bike for five or more miles. Regular or daily cycling has been found to prevent weight gain (and boost fat loss), fight depression, and help stave off a host of health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Those are some of the more obvious benefits, but daily cycling also offers plenty of other unique health benefits that should get you even more motivated to ride. Here are just a few.
Stable and sustainable fat loss
If you are looking for a way to lose weight fast, that doesn’t exist. But by cycling every day, you may lose weight, but these weights will be lost at a reasonable, stable and most importantly sustainable rate.
Even at a leisurely pace, cycling can trigger metabolic and physiological changes, allowing you to become an efficient fat and carbohydrate burner throughout the day.
Cycling also allows your body to continue to burn fat and calories for several hours after riding a bicycle. On the one hand, when you ride, your LPL (Lipoprotein Lipase, a type of fat shuttle enzyme) activity enters a high-speed state, and will remain elevated for a full 30 hours after you stop riding. After riding, your body (and therefore your metabolism) is still accelerating, working hard to replenish and (if you work really hard that day) repair your muscles. As you become healthier and stronger, your basal metabolic rate (BMR)—the calories you burn through your life—will rise. Only 30 to 45 minutes of exercise for most of the week can increase your BMR and keep it in a higher position permanently.
The end result is fat loss-and a lot. Even better, you will lose it first where you least want it. In your stomach, it will choke your organs and cause heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. In a study of 24 men and women with diabetes, those who rode a 45-minute bicycle three times a week for 8 weeks lost 48% of their visceral fat (deep abdominal fat).
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Better heart health
Cycling is a cardiovascular activity, so needless to say, it will make your heart stronger and healthier. Exercises like cycling will also make your skeletal muscles more sensitive to insulin, so you can better control blood sugar levels-scientists now know that this is essential for clearing arteries and good heart health. The overall protection of your heart by cycling is impressive.
The British Medical Association reports that riding only 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by half compared to sedentary sitting. That’s just three miles a day, or five miles four times a week.
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A bigger, healthier brain
Neuroscientists believe that exercise is a miracle of the brain because it is a powerful neuronal building stimulant that acts very fast. Exercises that increase the heart rate, such as cycling, will significantly increase the production of nitric oxide (an effective vasodilator) and neurotrophic factors (growth factors), such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor and a type called nog Gin protein can promote the division of stem cells and the formation of new brain cells.
The end result is that riding a bicycle will give you better, sharper memory, stronger concentration, smoother thinking and reasoning, and stronger problem-solving skills. All these brain health buildings can also protect you from age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Sleep like a baby
The importance of sleep cannot be overemphasized. When you rest, your body and brain will heal. Without enough sleep, your hormone levels (especially stress hormones) will get out of control, you are more likely to overeating and gain weight, as well as more mood disorders and decreased immunity. In one of the most compelling studies on this topic, the sleep habits and weight trends of 68,000 women were studied for 16 years. The researchers found that compared with peers who slept 7 hours a night, those who slept only 5 hours a night were 32% more likely to gain weight by 33 pounds or more during the study.
Even for those who have difficulty falling asleep, regular aerobic exercise such as cycling can promote high-quality sleep. In a study by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, previously sedentary patients with insomnia started cycling for 20 to 30 minutes every other day, the time to fall asleep was reduced by half, and the total sleep time increased by nearly an hour.
MILES OF SMILES
You will rarely see someone complete a ride grumpy. On the contrary-they usually laugh from ear to ear. Cycling can lift your spirits almost immediately. In a study at Bowling Green State University, researchers found that riding a bicycle for just 10 minutes can improve the mood of a group of volunteers compared to peers who relax for the same amount of time.
There is no doubt that part of the emotional magic of riding a bicycle stems from its decompression effect. Exercise, such as cycling, can consume the excess adrenaline you have accumulated during meetings with your boss and a day’s worries; it also slows down the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which is related to weight gain. Cycling can also promote the production of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine. For some people, it is as effective as antidepressants. Even better, research shows that by regularly exercising vigorously, you are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression in the first place.
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