In this article, we could tell you about the health benefits of cycling (improved joint mobility, increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility, decreased stress levels and depression – the list goes on) but you probably already know them.
Instead, here are five benefits associated with cycling that you probably weren’t aware of.
1. Better sleep
The link between of getting some sunshine and sleeping better are well documented, but if you were wondering if biking in the great outdoors could significantly improve your sleep cycle, consider this. A Stanford University School of Medicine study that asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to cycle for between 20 and 30 minutes every other day found that the time participants required for falling asleep was cut in half, while overall sleep time increased by close to an hour.
2. Boost your brainpower
Cycling increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, to regenerate receptors and build new brain cells in the region of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus (which deteriorates from the age of 30). Don’t believe us? A study by researchers from the University of Illinois found that a five percent improvement in the cardio-respiratory fitness of participants was associated with a 15 percent improvement in mental tests.
3. Biking and the bedroom
An improvement in cardiovascular health is associated with bolstering sex drive, and a study at Cornell University found that women who are physically fit can delay menopause by up to two to five years. The same study found that men who are fit have the sexual prowess of men who are two to five years younger, while a study at Harvard concluded that men over the age of 50 who cycle for at least three hours a week are 30% less likely to become impotent, compared to their counterparts who don’t do any exercise.
4. Benefit Mother Nature
Bicycles don’t pollute the air like cars do, but the production of bikes also require just five percent of the materials and energy used to build a car. In addition, cycling while using the same amount of energy as walking does will get you to your destination three times faster than the latter. Considering the amount of “fuel” you put into your “engine” while cycling, it’s a far more efficient alternative: cycling will give you the equivalent of about 18,825 kilometres to the litre. With the rising cost of fuel, that’s definitely something we can get behind!
5. A backslap to your bowels
Aerobic exercise doesn’t just increase your breathing and heart rate, it also stimulates the contraction of your intestinal muscles, leaving you less bloated and protecting you against bowel cancer. Also, being physically active decreases the amount of time food spends in your large intestine, which limits the amount of water absorbed by your body and makes your stools softer and easier to pass.
What are you waiting for? Get on your bicycle, buddy!