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?
Cycling provides not only an almost complete body workout but also trains the mind. Like regular exercise, cycling has numerous benefits that extend beyond physical fitness and can improve cognitive function. By cycling regularly, you can build a strong body with functional muscles and enhance your mental acuity.
To gain a better understanding of cycling and its benefits, I spoke with several health professionals who both cycle in their personal time and promote it to patients seeking ways to get in shape. Here are some of their thoughts on how cycling improves body functionality and workouts.
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Top 10 Benefits Of Cycling To Get You Into Shape
To gain a better understanding of the real value of cycling and how it helps you get into shape, let’s delve deeper into some proven benefits. Cycling is one of the most extensively studied forms of exercise, and here are a few key benefits to keep in mind:
- Muscle Development
Cycling provides excellent overall muscle development, with the emphasis on the lower body. The legs and calves endure the most exercise, with a particular focus on the upper thigh muscles and hamstrings. The upper body also benefits from cycling, as the arms are used to stabilize the bike while riding, and the shoulders are used to pivot in one direction or the other, providing a workout for these muscle groups as well. The overall conclusion is that cycling helps you develop many muscle groups.
- Low Impact
One of the benefits of cycling that is often overlooked is the low-impact factor. If you’ve been sedentary for a while and are looking for a gentle form of exercise to ease back into working out, cycling is an ideal option. Starting indoors on a stationary bike eliminates some external factors, such as terrain, making it easier on the body.
As you progress, you can slowly become better at cycling, which will enable you to take more risks and ride much harder. Compared to runners, you will have a greatly reduced impact on your muscles and joints which should allow you to recover much faster to train more as well.
- Strengthening Muscles In The Legs
In addition to getting you into shape, cycling also strengthens the muscles you use. Regular cycling places strain on the leg muscles, causing micro-tears. As these micro-tears heal, resulting in stiffness the next day, the muscles grow back stronger, resulting in increased muscle strength over time.
- Cycling Affects Leg Sizes
Cycling can have a significant impact on your leg size, depending on how you approach your workouts. Endurance cyclists who participate in races that span over several miles and take several hours to complete often activate their slow-twitch Type 1 muscle fibers, resulting in weight loss. However, track cyclists focus more on overall strength and speed, building up as much muscle as possible to increase cadence. If you want to build significant strength and increase leg size, focusing on sprints and short bursts of high-intensity workouts can be beneficial.
- Mental Benefits And Improvement Of The Brain
While cycling may not have a direct impact on the brain, all forms of exercise have been shown to improve mental health and lead to overall cognitive improvements in health. Research has shown that people who do not engage in regular exercise are more likely to experience cognitive decline as they age.
Cycling can improve mental health by increasing blood flow. Increased blood flow helps to clear harmful toxins from the body and significantly affects the flow of blood throughout the body. Studies have shown that cycling can improve blood flow by up to 40%, aiding in muscle recovery and overall physical health.
Weight loss is a common reason why many people turn to cycling as a form of exercise. Compared to running, cycling is a lower-impact exercise that still burns a significant number of calories. Additionally, cycling can be done outdoors, which many people find more enjoyable than working out in a gym. For those looking to lose weight, cycling can be an effective form of cardio exercise to help burn calories and achieve weight loss goals.
While the overall number of calories vary from person to person. Professionals estimate that the average 155-pound person 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 will 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.
It is true that the rate of body transformation can differ between men and women due to hormonal differences. Women tend to have less testosterone than men, which means that they may develop muscle at a slower rate. However, with consistent effort on the bike, women can still achieve body transformations in as little as 20 weeks. Men, on the other hand, may develop muscle at a faster rate due to the testosterone boost brought on by cycling.
- A Full Workout That Saves You Time And Money
Additionally, investing in a bike can also save you money in the long run. With the rising costs of public transportation and the constant need for car repairs, owning a bike can be a cost-effective option. Bikes also have a longer lifespan compared to cars and require minimal maintenance, further reducing costs.
Moreover, cycling is an eco-friendly mode of transportation that reduces your carbon footprint and helps in reducing air pollution. It is a sustainable way to travel that not only benefits your health but also the environment.
- 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 limit the risk of diseases and strokes. Excercise can improve the health of your heart by also lowering the overall blood pressure.
Cycling can help to reduce stress and anxiety, which are two common factors that can negatively impact sleep quality. Regular exercise, including cycling, can also improve the body’s production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Additionally, cycling can help to improve overall physical health, which in turn can contribute to better sleep quality.
- It Is Very Easy To Get Started
Cycling is a low-impact exercise that is suitable for people of all fitness levels, and it can be a fun and easy way to get started with an exercise routine. Additionally, cycling is a form of transportation, so it can also save you money on gas and other transportation costs while also improving your health.
Is Cycling A Full Body Workout Summary
Cycling is a fantastic way to improve your physical fitness with minimal effort. Although professional cyclists often endure intense physical strain, that’s because they push themselves to the limit. However, starting slowly and gradually pushing yourself can help you achieve the same results in a sustainable way. We’re interested in hearing your experiences with cycling and how it has enhanced your overall health and lifestyle.