Cycle for Life: Riding a Bike to Keep you Healthy

Apr 4, 2013 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Contributed by Jennifer KnightImage

People start cycling for all sorts of different reason. Maybe it’s the need for a hobby, wanting to get out in the great outdoors, or as a social activity to enjoy with friends and family. While being an enjoyable activity in its own right, cycling is also a great way to get some exercise. In fact, regular cycling is tremendously beneficial to the human body, and helps to keep a person healthy in a number of different ways. Nevada has lots of great places to ride, and tour routes like Lake Mead, Sierra Shadow, and Comstock Country are just the tip of the iceberg.

A Healthy Heart and Healthy Mind

Your heart is the muscle that you need to take best care out throughout your life, so you will be pleased to know that cycling does nothing but good for it. Much research has been conducted into the health benefits of cycling, giving you plenty of reason to hop on that saddle and start peddling. Studies carried out by Purdue University revealed that regular cycling has the power to cut an individual’s risk of heart disease by a whopping 50%. The British Heart Foundation backs up this finding, with research found that by cycling 20 miles every week you are 50% less likely to suffer from heart disease than people getting no exercise.

You might think that cycling to improve mental health is a bit far-fetched, but enjoying a recreational activity while at the same time getting regular exercise goes a long way to reduce stress and depression. Cycling can even give your brain power a boost, according to a study carried out by Illinois University. Research subjects who improved their cardio-respiratory fitness by 5 percent scored up 15 percent better in subsequent metal tests. Professor Arthur Kramer, who led the study, explained the hidden benefits of cycling. “It boosts blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which fires and regenerates receptors, explaining how exercise helps ward off Alzheimer’s.”

Strength and Stamina

Cycling is proven to build muscles strength and stamina, and does so without putting your muscles and joints under too much stress. Your leg muscles receive the biggest workout, and the low-impact repetitive nature of cycling is fantastic for the mobility and flexibility of your knee and hip joints. With regular cycling you can expect to see gradual improvements in leg muscle tone, including your thighs, hips, and backside.

The more you ride, thImagee longer you will be able to ride, as you stamina will improve with regular cycling. Even if you do not push yourself to cycle a little bit further every time, your stamina will improve without you even noticing it. Completing an hour cycle ride might leave you out of breath now, but by riding that same hour cycle ride every week for the next few months it will gradually become much easier to complete. The fact you are enjoying the cycle ride should mean that you want to ride further when you can, in turn building on that increased stamina again.

Tips for Post-Cycle Recovery

With such a hot and dry climate in Nevada, a long ride will probably leave you tired, sweaty, and aching. It is important to rest up and relax your muscle’s after a ride, but you also need to provide them with the protein they need for recovery and growth. Oily fish, white poultry meat like chicken and turkey, or egss are all a great source of protein. If you want to give you muscles a real boost post-cycle, adding an amino acid supplement to your diet can really help with building strength. It is also need to rehydrate your body, and replace all those lost electrolytes you have sweated out. Drinking an electrolyte replacement drink high in sodium, potassium and chloride will help to give back to your body what you lost while out cycling.

An Easy Way to Exercise

The beauty of cycling is that you can do it pretty much any time of year, along any road or trail you like, and it costs you nothing (apart from buying the bicycle in the first place!) You can insert riding into your daily life, whether you choose to ride to work, to the store, or an off-road trail on the weekend. It is very accessible form of exercise which doesn’t require you to join a team, or undergo lots of training to be able to do it. Once you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget, so ride for life to stay healthy and happy.