The best way to get into shape would involve performing exercises that would allow you to train the whole body or as many muscle groups as possible. The more muscle groups you train, the more calories you also burn, which should inevitably help you to get into shape. The question remains; is cycling a full-body workout?
Is cycling a full body workout? Not only does cycling give you an almost complete body workout, but it also trains the mind. Much like working out, there are numerous benefits to cycling, which also transfer over to the mind and should help you to build a strong body with functional muscles while improving the cognitive function of the person.
To better understand cycling and what benefits it brings to the table, I have spoken to a few health professionals, who not only do cycling in their personal time but also promote it to many of their patients looking for something to get them into shape. I will share some of the thoughts from a few of these experts on how cycling improves your body functionality and workouts.
Top 10 Benefits Of Cycling To Get You Into Shape
We must dive deeper and understand the real value of cycling and how it comes to be that you will get into shape. Some of the following benefits are proven through the years and cycling is one of the most studied forms of exercise you can do. Here are a few of the key benefits you might want to look out for:
- Muscle Development
One of the biggest benefits of cycling stems from overall muscle development with the emphasis being placed on the lower body. The lower body would endure most of the exercise with plenty of focus being placed on the legs and the calves. For the legs, the upper thigh muscles and the hamstrings are activated.
For the upper body, cycling puts plenty of focus on the shoulders and arms. The arms are needed to stabilize the bike as you are riding, whilst making sure that you use the shoulder to pivot in one direction or the other whilst working out. The overall conclusion is that you would develop many of these muscle parts.
- Low Impact
An often overlooked benefit of cycling is the impact factor. If you have been sedentary for the last couple of years and you are looking for some form of exercise that would not kill you and allow you to ease into working out, cycling is ideal. By starting indoors on a stationary bike, you eliminate some of the external elements like terrains.
As you progress, you can slowly become better at cycling, which would enable you to take more risks and ride much harder. Compared to runners, you will have a greatly reduced effect on damaged muscles and this should allow you to recover much faster as well.
- Strengthening Muscles In The Legs
Aside from getting you into shape, cycling also allows you to strengthen the muscles you are using. By constantly cycling, you would be placing some strain on the leg muscles, which would cause them to have micro tears. As these micro-tears heal, which we refer to as stiffness the next day, they grow back stronger.
Essentially, the strength gains from cycling would transfer over to different parts of your everyday life and you would be more inclined to do things that would significantly strengthen the leg muscles.
- Cycling Affects Leg Sizes
You have the power to determine how cycling would affect your leg size dramatically. If you are doing endurance races, which often span over a couple of miles and take a few hours to complete, you would lose a lot of weight by activating the type 1 muscle fibers (slow twitch).
However, track cyclists would focus more on overall strength and speed. This means that they build up as much muscle as possible to increase the cadence as high as possible. You can easily increase your leg size by focusing on sprints and shorts burst of high-intensity workouts if you want to build significant strength.
- Mental Benefits And Improvement Of The Brain
While it is not specifically cycling which would impact the brain, all forms of exercise have been proven to improve mental health and ensure overall cognitive changes in your health. Studies have shown that people who do not improve cognitive health are more inclined to suffer from dementia as they begin to age.
The main way cycling would improve mental health is by way of increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow would not only clear out harmful toxins in your body but also significantly affect the flow of blood in the body. Studies show that it could improve blood flow by as much as 40% after cycling to help the recovery of muscles.
One of the main reasons that many people get into cycling is often to do with weight loss. It is a lower impact than running and burns more calories than walking, while not confining you strictly to the gym. For many people, cycling is considered part of their cardio workouts, which helps them lose weight while doing something they enjoy.
While the overall number of calories would vary from person to person. Professionals estimate that the average 155-pound person would burn up to 300 calories in 30-minutes when cycling at a speed of 12 to 13.9 MPH. Keep in mind that the heavier you are and the faster you maintain your average speed, the more calories you would burn during a session.
- Body Transformation
The modern era has seen many workout programs and experts focus on body transformation. With various programs designed to help you lose weight rapidly while toning your body and getting into shape. It is estimated that through consistent cycling, you can transform your body in around 12 to 16 weeks.
I should mention that the body transformation rate is different for men and women. The hormonal factor would come into play here, but females can transform their bodies in around 20 weeks of similar effort on the bike. Men tend to develop muscle much faster due to the spike in testosterone brought on by cycling.
- A Full Workout That Saves You Time And Money
Buying one of the top bikes can be expensive. However, the massive spikes in gas prices around the world might make it one of the best options to help you lose some weight. The bike can easily navigate traffic, instead of you having to constantly sit in the frustrating traffic that could slow you down.
While you can get to your destination with minimal effort and save some money, you are also getting in a good workout. The benefit of the workout would be that you are exercising without even thinking about it. If this stack up, they would eventually result in great results that would improve fitness and body composition.
- Cycling Staves Off Certain Illnesses
One of the biggest downsides to the sedentary lifestyle is that you are at risk of contracting certain illnesses and diseases. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that regular workouts would limit the risk of diseases and strokes. It could improve the health of your heart by also lowering the overall blood pressure.
Another unspoken benefit of cycling is the increase in quality sleep. Not only does aerobic exercise tire you out, but it can help to reduce the stress you are dealing with. The stress reduction can result in better quality sleep, while also reducing some elements of cancer that could cause you serious health issues.
- It Is Very Easy To Get Started
Last but certainly not least, the element of starting should be addressed. To start running, you need plenty of motivation due to the pain often associated with it. To hit the weights, you probably need a gym membership, which could be expensive and you might need to commit to a multi-year deal to save some money.
On the other hand, you only need a bike to start cycling. It is not as hard as running, which means less strain on your body and the next day won’t be as hard. You can also pace yourself to find the perfect level of consistency and comfort. Overall, it is one of the fastest and easiest ways you can use to help you shed some weight and get in shape.
Is Cycling A Full Body Workout Summary
Cycling is one of the best ways to get in shape and it takes minimal effort. You might see professional cyclists suffer, but this is due to pushing themselves to the limit. Fortunately, you can start slow and work yourself up by slowly pushing the limits each day. We would love to see some of your comments on how cycling has improved your lifestyle and health.