Whether you like it or not, indoor cycling is a fitness trend that isn't going away. It appears that almost everyone attends a couple of classes per week or has taken the plunge and added a bike to their home gym. And for good reason: indoor cycling has incredible benefits for both men and women, from your muscles to your mental health.
As any dedicated cyclist knows, there's much more to cycling than flashy indoor bikes with interactive workouts on demand. Cycling is one of the most effective forms of cardio you can do, especially over time.
"Because cycling is non-weight-bearing, it lowers the risk of injuries due to wear and tear on your joints, especially your knees," says Robert Mazzeo, Ph.D., associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado. Knees are often the first joints in the body to show signs of aging, so it's critical to take care of them throughout your life with healthy, gentle forms of cardio like cycling, he says.
Once you've received the all-clear, here are a few ways your body and mind will benefit from cycling.
1. Increases Cardiovascular Fitness
Cycling engages nearly every muscle in the body, including the heart. You can lower your blood pressure by cycling uphill, fast, or at a faster pace than you would on a leisurely Sunday bike ride. This reduces the strain on the heart, lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cycling, like any other form of aerobic exercise, boosts the presence of good cholesterol in the body, which is responsible for transporting fat away from arteries. Some evidence suggests that exercise may lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, which can cause fatty deposits in the arteries and contribute to heart disease.
2. Helps Reduce Stress
Riding a bike can be enjoyable! Exercise not only causes your body to produce happy hormones (endorphins), but it's also a great way to forget about the sources of your stress while also getting fit.
3. Helps Burn Fat And Calories
Cycling is an excellent way to burn fat and calories, whether you want to stay the same weight or lose a few pounds.
Cycling at a constant speed burns about 300 calories per hour. Cycling for half an hour every day would result in a yearly fat loss of approximately 11 pounds.
4. Easy On The Joints
Cycling, as opposed to running, is a low-impact form of exercise that is extremely gentle on your joints.
Many patients find that increasing the tone and strength of the muscles surrounding a painful arthritic joint improves their arthritis symptoms.
5. Improves Leg Muscle Strength
Pedal power is a strenuous leg workout. The more you cycle, the stronger your legs will appear and feel. This increased strength will be noticeable in everything you do, from climbing stairs to running around the park.