Cycling is one of the best forms of exercises, aside from jogging/walking and swimming that we can get into for better health. Living along the Hanggang river in Seoul, I often see groups of cyclists that train together all year round. This reminds me of the times as a child when I used to cycle with my group of friends. Back then, I used to cycle a lot, although it never dawned to me that I was exercising. As far as I was concerned, I was merely having fun with my friends.
An article I read while I was on my holiday reminded me of this exercise and reinforced to me, the benefits of cycling to me. I would like to share that with you. An article in the July/August 2009 issue of the Healthy Options’ lifestyle news digest, entitled Cycling for Life, states that “people who cycle regularly live longer than those who do not and lead healthier lives”.
“During cycling, most of the body’s muscles are activated. The leg muscles are responsible for the pedaling movement; the abdomen and back muscles stabilize the body on the cycle and cushion external influences; and the shoulder-arm muscular system supports the body at the handlebars. All this trains and tightens up the muscular system, making it stronger and able to function efficiently.
Humans have several hundred muscles, which have to be used regularly in order to maintain fitness and health. A week of inactivity reduces the strength of the imuscular system by up to 50% and can harm them long-term. This is particularly true for older people as aging causes muscles to shrink.”
Cycling, indeed, enables us to achieve various health benefits more effectively and much easily than other forms of exercise. The movements involved in cycling involve various parts of our body and influences various organ systems. It strengthens the respiratory system, skeletal system, muscular system, immune system, cardiovascular system, and lymphatic system.
The health benefits reaped from biking is long and impressive. In fact when I was doing my research, I came across this list from a biking site called Experience Plus. It says:
Here’s a list of “The Health Benefits of Cycling” by Joe Friel, a nationally-known author and personal fitness trainer (note that this is Joe’s short list). Joe maintains that bicycling for personal health:
- Promotes a Healthy Heart
- Improves Blood Chemistry, including HDL, “good” cholesterol”
- Lowers Blood Pressure.
- Decreases Risk of Cancer.
- Builds Stronger Bones.
- Reduces the Chance of Diabetes (now at epidemic levels in the US)
- Promotes Greater Muscle Strength.
- Reduces Stress.
- Decreases Chronic Pain (arthritis, back pain, and more)
- Improves digestion, lung function and joint flexibility
With all those benefits, I have decided to put biking up on my top 3 exercises for effective weight loss. Imagine, you don’t only lose weight, strengthen your muscles, decrease risks of chronic diseases, but you also enjoy yourself in the process.
I find it extremely amazing that a sport that is quite enjoyable, can be very effective in keeping us fit and healthy.
So, why don’t we all do it together? I call on all of you – young and old. Let’s all get on our bikes and start on the road to a more effective weight loss and healthy lifestyle change.