FitQuid
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FitQuid

Why should you start cycling?

Photo by: Viktor Bystrov

Have you considered cycling? Whether you want to cycle to commute to work, or as a hobby on the weekends, cycling has a long list of health benefits you should take advantage of. While being a good muscle workout, cycling is relatively easy and doesn’t require high levels of physical skill as a beginner. Cycling is a low-impact sport, which means it causes less muscle strain and injuries than other sports. A 2014 study comparing cycling and running found that runners experienced significantly more muscle damage, inflammation, and onset muscle soreness. Additionally, regular bike riding is great for strength and stamina, as it increases aerobic fitness and metabolic rate, raises your heart rate, and helps maintain a healthy weight. In fact, the NHS recommends cycling as a way to reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Cycling to work can cut your risk of developing CHD or cancer in half, as well as being time efficient and a great way to avoid pollutants and germs. While cycling is great for stamina, it might be a good idea to add strength training to your regular exercise routine as well, as it’s not a weight-bearing activity and does not help increase bone density.

Regular bike riding can also help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress — due to the basic release of adrenaline and endorphins which can boost your mood, as well as the added enjoyment and confidence of achieving new habits. Concentrating on the road and your body movements helps you develop an awareness of the present moment, similar to mindfulness and stress management techniques. Participating in physical activities outdoors is also related to improved cognitive functioning and mental well-being in adults.

Photo by: Greg Rosenke

But cycling to work is not the only way to take advantage of all these benefits. Riding a bike can be fun, its own adventure. Both mountain biking and road cycling are awesome ways to exercise and have different health benefits so that you can choose which suits you best. Road biking is the most widespread form of cycling, including anything from commuting to racing, as long as it’s on paved roadways. It offers something for everybody, endurance tests, leisure, and an enjoyable playfulness that comes with cycling on tarmac. On the other hand, mountain biking is off-road, usually on rough and gravelly terrain. Mountain cycling is also a full-body experience, your core has to put in more work compared to road cycling, as you have to move your weight around the whole time to keep balanced. 12 miles on a paved road is the equivalent of 5 miles on a mountain trail.

There are drawbacks for both types, such as having to share the road with cars for road biking and having to travel off-road to find mountain biking tracks. However, they work well together, and any form of exercise is good for the body. Just like any other type of physical activity, practice makes perfect. Whether you want to go as fast as you can down a road or take on the tricky mountain tracks, it takes time and patience to commit. This is why FitQuid is the perfect tool for you to build a new habit, keeping yourself motivated and self-accountable. As a free app that allows you to personalise challenges, compete with others, and reward you for meeting your goals, with FitQuid you can challenge yourself to start cycling more often. Challenge yourself, use FitQuid, and share your experiences with me through @FitQuid on all social media platforms, where I will feature the best ones!

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Auri Carballo

Auri Carballo

Psychology graduate, invested in helping communities.