16/01/2023 / Health and Fitness

Benefits of Cycling - Why Cycling Is Good For Your Health

You'd be shocked to know about all the benefits simply pedaling a cycle from point A to B would have on your health.  

benefits of cycling
Dr. Mrinalinee RoyDr. Mrinalinee Roy
Dr. Mrinalinee Roy
MBBS Doctor, Research Associate
Medically Cited
Fact Checked

Table of Content


The late 20th and early 21st centuries have seen a noticeable cultural shift toward fitness. Although the "fitness craze" is typically regarded as having started in the 1970s in the United States, this development was actually anticipated by the changes to daily living that occurred after World War II. The transition from "dark, stinky gyms" to "modern, luxurious-feeling health clubs" coincided with an increase in sedentary jobs. Soon, public stakeholders including government spokesmen, non-governmental organizations, and proponents of education hailed physical activity as a crucial element in the country's young people's health. With the promotion of fitness by organizations and people with diverse interests, it has evolved into a separate way of life. Fitness evolved into a culture, a collection of interests and pursuits centred around exercise, including diets, mantras for inspiration, and training methods that were elevated to indicators of social status and personal development. The late 20th and early 21st centuries have seen an increase in this broad range of activities.

When the topics of fitness and exercise come up, people frequently think of sports like running, weightlifting, yoga, and other similar pursuits. Cycling is occasionally ignored in favor of other more well-known physical activities because it is merely a mode of transportation, despite the fact that it may be well-known to many. Yes, you read it right, cycling can keep you fit and healthy. You would be surprised to know about the incredible health advantages that cycling has to offer would astound you.  As kids, most of us have owned a cycle, and even spent hours cycling and playing with it. We were unknowingly exercising and staying fit. But the question is how many of us own one today or maybe use a cycle on a daily basis? In this article, you would get to know about the various health benefits of cycling.

Health benefits of cycling 

Since cycling is mostly an aerobic sport, it is a good workout for your heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Your general level of fitness will increase because you'll breathe more deeply, perspire more, and feel warmer. Regular cycling has several health advantages, including:

Health Benefits of Cycling
  • Enhanced cardiovascular health - Heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure are examples of cardiovascular illnesses. Your heart, lungs, and circulation are stimulated and improved by regular cycling, which lowers your risk of cardiovascular disorders. Cycling helps your cardiac muscles become stronger, lowers your resting pulse, and lowers blood fat levels. Additionally, research demonstrates that commuters who bike to work have lung function that is two to three times better than those who commute by car. Cycling regularly warded off heart disease, according to a 14-year Danish study of 30,000 participants, 20 to 93 years old.

  • Prevent and control diabetes  - Type 2 diabetes is on the rise and is a significant public health issue. It is believed that one of the main causes of this illness in people is a lack of physical activity. People who cycled for more than 30 minutes each day had a 40% decreased chance of acquiring diabetes, according to extensive research conducted in Finland.

  • Cancer prevention - Exercise and cancer have been the subject of extensive investigation, particularly breast and colon cancer. Cycling has been linked to a lower risk of bowel cancer, according to research. According to certain data, cycling frequently lowers the risk of breast cancer.

  • Obesity and weight control - Cycling increases metabolic rate, develops muscle, and burns body fat, making it an effective strategy to maintain or lose weight. Cycling must be linked with a balanced diet if you're attempting to reduce weight. Cycling is a convenient kind of exercise that can be tailored to your needs by changing the duration and level of difficulty.

  • Improved flexibility and muscle strength

  • Enhanced joint flexibility

  • Strengthens bones

  • Enhances posture and coordination

Mental health benefits of cycling 

The saying "Healthy body, healthy mind" is actually accurate, and cycling can be quite important for this. Here are the top mental health advantages of cycling to serve as an example. It's amazing what two wheels can accomplish!

Mental health benefits of cycling
  • Alleviates stress - The stress hormone cortisol helps your body get ready for a "fight or flight" reaction when faced with challenging circumstances. A demanding, modern lifestyle can raise your cortisol levels for an extended length of time, which can increase your risk of obesity, sleeplessness, heart disease, digestive problems, and depression. Unfortunately, going to work frequently results in stress, and for many people, getting out on two wheels helps a lot in these trying situations. Even Olympic silver medalist in the road race and professional cyclist Lizzie Deignan swears on cycling as a method of treatment. 

  • Reduces stress - Cycling lowers our stress levels and lowers the likelihood that we'll experience anxiety-related symptoms. Even better, some of the effects of cycling are similar to those of some anti-anxiety drugs.

  •  Combats depression - What many experts have long hypothesised has been supported by a recent University of Toronto study of 26 years of scientific research. Exercise can prevent depression as well as treat it. In fact, according to a study, an inactive adult who works out three times a week can cut their risk of developing depression by 19%.

  • Boost self-esteem - We all know that feeling good about yourself comes from having high self-esteem, and cycling is a wonderful way to do that.

Benefits of cycling for women 

Benefits of cycling for women
  • Reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes - According to the British Heart Foundation's most recent report on physical inactivity, adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week and at least two days of strength training. Women may incorporate regular physical activity into their life by cycling, which would benefit their general fitness and health. Cycling is a sport that women can participate in when the conditions are right, as evidenced by the fact that more women than males bike in the Netherlands. In addition to raising fitness levels, cycling also helps in lowering cancer, heart disease, and diabetes rates. 

  • Reduces osteoarthritis and obesity -  According to a Daily Health article "Biology, genetic predisposition, and hormones present a triple danger of risk factors for arthritis in women by nature. Unfortunately, a lot of women have included weight as a fourth risk factor." In England, more than 25% of women are fat (Health Survey for England 2014). "Overall, women have osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, at significantly greater rates than males," the report continues. Cycling can help you lose weight, which lowers your risk of osteoarthritis because it burns about 300 calories per hour when done steadily. Additionally, as it is not a load-bearing activity, anyone can participate in it, regardless of age, health, or other factors.

"Cycling is gentle on your joints and helps preserve cartilage. That's especially advantageous for women who suffer from muscle strain, foot problems, knee troubles, back pain or impact-related injuries caused by running, jogging or walking," explains Dr Callahan, Medical Director of the Women's Sports Medical Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

  • Good for mental health 

  • Builds self-confidence and esteem 

  • Improves social life

Environmental benefits of cycling 

Cycling in northern Europe is a normal way of getting around cities—for everyone and for all trip purposes. The Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany have been especially successful in promoting safe and convenient cycling.  Despite high rates of car ownership, these three countries have achieved high overall bike shares of urban travel, ranging from 9% in Germany to 19% in Denmark and 27% in the Netherlands. If you ever happen to visit these countries you'll realize how beautiful they are and one major reason behind it is replacing vehicles using non-renewable sources with cycles. Cycles don't only keep us fit and healthy but also have a big contribution to keeping our environment clean.

We all know how pollution is affecting mankind. Cycles help control air pollution. When you opt for a cycle over your car for your daily use you choose a healthy environment for your future generation over pollution. Each year, you may save emitting approximately 1360 kg of greenhouse gasses if you commute to work on a bike instead of a car. Not just that, bikers significantly lower the amount of petroleum that is consumed. The picture of streets swarming with bikes is some sort of utopia. If you ride a car you'll know how irritating it feels to be stuck in traffic for hours. On the other hand, if you commute by cycle you can skip the traffic. This would also contribute to controlling the number of accidents. 

Contraindications of cycling

Even though cycling has many benefits, it is contraindicated if you are suffering with the following conditions: 

  • Patients with a history of leg fractures.

  • Patients suffering with severe spasticity.

  • Patients who have contractures that are severe enough to prevent cycling motion of the legs.

  • Anyone suffering with severe osteoporosis (thin, weakened bones).

  • Patients suffering with epilepsy 

  • Anyone on cardiac pacemaker 

Take-Home Points

  • Cycling is a very healthy and inexpensive way of keeping yourself fit and healthy.

  • One should try to incorporate cycling in his/ her life as it has many benefits. 

  • You don't need to have any special subscription or license for cycling.

  • Consult your doctor before starting cycling if you are or have suffered in the past from some serious health condition.


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