Health Benefits of Biking
Do you remember the experience of biking you probably had a kid: Pedaling down a street of a sidewalk in your neighborhood, the wind blowing against your face, and the feeling of freedom that rode right along with you? For lots of people today, biking is not only an easy and cheap form of transportation, but a fun hobby or a favorite form of exercise. That’s the added perk of pedaling as an adult – you know that biking has a great health benefits, too.
First, know that if you like to bike, you’re in good company. In many places around the world, biking is the main form of transportation. And while that’s true for some people in larger U.S. cities, biking for pleasure has a huge following in this county. Cycling is a $6.2 billion industry in the U.S., and by 2017, more than 47 million people identified themselves as peddlers, according to industry statistics. Then came the pandemic era. Bicycling boomed – along with lots of other outdoor sports. By March 2020, the number of people riding on U.S. bike trails had tripled, according to information shared by the BBC.
Today’s bikes aren’t the two-wheel clunkers a lot of us stared out riding as kids. There are skinny-tire road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes and even recumbent bikes for those who like recline while riding. Let’s look at the health benefits attributed to them.
Biking is a calorie burner. All that work your body is doing by pedaling and balancing not only works muscles in your arms and core, but it counts as serious cardio exercise and burns calories with every spin of the wheels. By biking at a moderate pace, about 12 or 13 miles per hour, a person weighing 155 pounds burns nearly 300 calories in 30 minutes, according to statistics shared by Harvard University. Like to pedal faster? A person of that same weight doing a fast pace of 14 or 15 miles per hour burns more than 370 calories in 30 minutes.
Biking is low-impact. Cycling is considered a low-impact exercise because even though it’s a form of cardio and can help you work up a sweat pretty fast, it is done with easy movements that are gentle on your legs, arms and joins.
Biking is a balance-builder. Everyone thinks about biking as great for your legs, and it is, but it’s also good for your balance. Cycling engages your abdominal muscles as you balance and steer, go up hills and around corners, according to information shared by the Cleveland Clinic. It can help improve not only your balance, but your coordination and your posture.
Biking is good for your brain. If you’ve never thought about biking as a mental health boost, think again. Pedaling at even a moderate pace can bring on a rush of feel-good endorphins. Biking regularly, like other outdoor exercises, has been shown to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
Biking strengthens your muscles. This one, you can feel. When you’re pedaling, you can feel it working your calves, your quads and your glutes. These are all big muscles and working these out regularly can have big benefits not only for calorie counting, but also for stronger, leaner legs.
- New 60-Mile Bike Trail to Stretch from Michigan to Chicago
- 5 of the Lower Peninsula’s Most Beautiful Bike Routes
- The Insider’s Guide to the Best Biking Near Traverse City
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