Why riding a bike is good cardio

Cardio, fat loss, workouts -

Why riding a bike is good cardio

When it comes to getting a form of cardio that you enjoy you need to make sure you explore every possible form. Common forms of cardio include things like walking and running but another very common form is riding a bike. This offers many benefits and is often overlooked as a form of cardio but a way of getting around. If you are trying to increase your cardio and don’t really like running, then riding a bike may be for you. If you want to know more about how this exercise can benefit you then this article is going to be explaining how riding a bike can benefit you.


Weight loss

Losing weight is the main reason people decide to do cardio. Your body is able to lose weight when the calories you consume are less than your body requires and you’re in a deficit. One way of increasing the calories you burn is by training and people resort to cardio as it can burn calories quickly. When it comes to the number of calories you burn when riding a bike this can vary with the intensity and distance you travel. On average at a moderate pace, you will burn around 500 calories and hour which is pretty good for an exercise.

Like with everything even losing weight is not perfect. As your going to be in a calorie deficit this means your body won’t have enough calories to use for energy and you will burn fat for that energy. However, as well as fat you will also burn muscle when trying to lose weight due to your body’s catabolic effect. Cycling has generally low catabolic effect compared to other forms of cardio and can also help you build muscle in your legs. This increase in muscle will also help you lose weight as this rises the amount of calories required by your body, meaning this form of training has a high afterburn effect, making it ideal for weight loss.


Stamina and endurance

Stamina and endurance are a measure of how long you can do an exercise before getting tired. This depends on a lot of things like how much your muscles can work before getting tired and how your cardiovascular system copes under the stress. Well, if you’re looking to improve these then cycling is a sport that can help. As cycling helps to build your leg muscles, they will become stronger and work more efficiently. This means you will be able to train them for longer before they begin to fail and get tired. This unlocks the potential for longer or higher intensity training session where your able to make more gains and burn yet more calories.

The amount your stamina and endurance increases depends on how you train when riding a bike. If you frequently do long rides and at a high intensity, then you will see your stamina increase quicker. As it’s a cardio exercise your heart and lungs will work more efficiently as they are also being trained when you’re doing the exercise.  This is due to your heart rate increasing when exercising as your muscles require more nutrients and oxygen to work. So, this makes your muscles more efficient in using oxygen, your lungs get better at putting it into your blood stream and your heart does a better job in transporting it around your body and doesn’t have to work as hard.


Muscle gain

If you look at a professional cyclist, the first thing you will notice is the tree trunk legs they have. As they are required to use their leg muscles a lot, they become very developed and strong. With strength also comes muscle size and all of these are signs your building your leg muscles. The amount of muscle you gain will vary depending on the intensity of training as you will see your legs getting bigger and stronger if you do more harder riding like uphill riding.  Your muscles grow when working against a resistance and the more resistance the better.

Although you will see muscle gain it won’t be as good as just doing regular resistance training. This is due to you being able to apply more resistance with weight, but cycling will help to keep you lean so your muscles will look a lot bigger. However, if you cycle a lot then you will start to develop cyclist’s legs and these are bigger quads and hamstrings. These muscles are what are engaged the most when operating the pedals on a bike. Also, physical activity also increases your testosterone levels, this also causes you to have increased muscle mass.


Mental health

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. For this reason, we need to make sure we are also looking after this as we would look after our body’s. As it goes a lot of physical activities can benefit your mental health and cycling is one of them. One way it does this is by reducing stress as going for a ride can help relieve some of the tension and stress that may have built up during the day. Also frequent exercise that you enjoy releases endorphins and chemicals in your brain. These control your mood and can make you feel a lot better and not let the stress get the better of you.  

Another way cycling can benefit your mental health is by improving cognitive function and slowing down cognitive decline. Physical activity has been proven to slow down the process of cognitive decline that generally comes with older age. You will also feel generally more confident in yourself when you have been cycling. This is due to the decrease in fat and the increase in muscle mass which will make you look a lot better as well as feel better. Also, who wouldn’t like a nice peaceful ride in the sunset?


Immune system

As you have been told numerous times before your immune system is very important for your body and you need to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep it healthy. One way of keeping your immune system health is through your diet and lifestyle. However, physical exercise like cycling can also be beneficial for your immune system. One way it can benefit you is because when riding a bike outdoors you are exposed to the elements. This can be good to condition your body for the weather so your less likely to catch a cold when its winter as you have already rode a bike numerous times in the same condition.

Also cycling can help you keep your immune system health and effective even with old age. At an average, your immune system declines around 2 – 3% a year after the age of around 20.  One of the reasons your immune system declines is because of a cell used in your immune system called t-cells. Cycling can increase the production of these cells in the body which means your immune system is going to be boosted. There are also reports of elderly who cycle ad have managed to get their t cell production similar to that of someone in there 20’s.


Easy to do

The saying you never forget how to ride a bike is somewhat true as it is a skill many people only have to learn once. Also, the role of riding a bike is generally quite easy to get the hang of as your only required to pedal to go faster, break and steer which is not very difficult and can be mastered by pretty much anyone. Its also generally inexpensive to get started as you wont need state of the art equipment just to go for a ride around the park. And also, you aren’t required to go to any special places that will also put a dent in your pocket.

Also riding a bike can be not seen as a chore but a form of transport to get around and get places. Doing this allows you to fit your exercise in during the day is you have a busy lifestyle. It can also help you save money on bus fares and fuel for your car if you live close to work or school and cycling there is an option. Although this is a good idea it can only work for some jobs as you wont generally find people like tradesmen who are required to take tools and materials to work using a bike.


In conclusion, if you’re thinking about doing some more cardio but don’t know what form of cardio to do then you should take going for a bike ride into consideration. This is one of the most common forms of cardio worldwide and its clear why as there are many benefits. Before a bike was seen as a way of getting around but now it can be used for this and just for general exercise so by planning out your bike rides your able to d both. So, what are you waiting for? Grab that old bike out of your shed and dust of your helmet as this form of cardio is one you should be doing because of its many benefits.