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As early as 2014, the Huffington Post reported that “sitting is the new smoking”. The reality is that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to multiple health problems and issues, like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. The good news is that aerobic activity can help fight these conditions because it increases the efficiency of most bodily functions. When you perform an aerobic activity, the lungs take in more oxygen, the heart pumps more blood to muscles and organs, and the body temperature increases. All of this improves overall fitness level. But what aerobic activity is best?

A New Way to Look at Cycling

The act of cycling is an aerobic exercise that works the heart, blood vessels and lungs. In addition, it is an activity that provides a total body workout. As you pedal, it is obvious that you work the lower body muscles. But pedaling actually uses all the major muscle groups. The regular pedaling motion improves core muscle strength, and a stronger core leads to better balance and posture, and eventually improves upper body strength as well. There are certainly other total body, aerobic exercises, but none that are as low-impact as cycling. Pedaling provides the continuous activity you need without putting stress on joints or bones so there is less chance of injury. Cycling is also fun and you do not need to be an athlete to participate.

Cycling and Physical Benefits

The increased circulation and blood flow created by aerobic activity leads to multiple physical benefits. When circulation improves, all bodily systems operate more effectively and the body’s general health and fitness improve. Cycling helps you not only achieve this healthier state, but also maintain it. Here are some of the specific benefits:

  • Improved heart health – A Danish study which was conducted with 30,000 people over a period of fourteen years, found that regular cycling reduced the incidence of heart disease.
  • Weight loss – Regular cycling builds lean muscle and reduces fat cells leading to increased weight loss. Cycling burns calories so making it a part of a weekly workout regimen can supplement a healthy diet. When you feel better and see results, workout frequency increases and results multiply.
  • Increased energy – Those who cycle regularly report that they have more energy with less muscle soreness. There is even evidence that people maintain this higher level of energy long after the workout is completed.
  • Stamina and strength increase – Over time, you can increase the length and intensity of your cycling workouts as you feel yourself getting stronger. You can measure your intensity and effort using one of the cycling power meters. These tools provide instant feedback on your work output so you can challenge yourself by adjusting your goal each time you pedal.

Cycling and Mental Benefits

Aerobics also increases blood flow to the brain, providing it with the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to improve concentration and learning. Well, here are a few ways that cycling magnifies those mental benefits.

  • Better logical reasoning and memory – A number of studies have shown that repetitive activity like cycling, stimulates the connectivity of the white matter fiber network. This leads to higher level of information processing and improves reasoning and memory.
  • Stress reduction – Cycling outdoors puts you right in the middle of nature and experiencing nature has a truly calming effect. You can even make your cycling a social event if you invite friends to join you. This provides a sense of belonging and fun and relieves any anxiety or depression.
  • Increased sense of motivation and accomplishment – If you cannot ride outdoors, you can simulate the experience with computer riding programs that can take you anywhere in the world or make you a part of a group experience.

Start Cycling Today

The American Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that one billion people ride bikes every day. You don’t need to be an athlete or be in great shape to join this group. Just find a bike that is right for you and start pedaling. You can start with as little as fifteen minutes a day or you can make your workout even more convenient by replacing your regular commute with cycling to work or school. There is no reason why you too can begin to pedal your way to good health.