Cycling is one of the best forms of simple, low-cost exercises available out there. Let’s find out more about its advantages and disadvantages.
As a kid, all one ever wants is a cycle! Many even used it to go to the school and the pride of owning a cycle was clear for everyone to see. But things change with time and now most people prefer bikes and cars. But let’s not forget that even today, cycling still continues to be one of the best forms of exercise.
Benefits of cycling as an exercise
Builds strength – Cycling is not just an exercise for the legs. Contrary to general perceptions, cycling helps in building strength in a holistic manner
Cuts the risk of coronary heart disease – Cycling gives a workout to your heart, lungs and blood vessels, and thus reduces the risk of heart problems.
Increases muscle tone – Cycling is a slow but good way of increasing muscle tone. It is a good workout for the leg, hip and knee joints.
Builds stamina – Cycling builds your stamina even without your knowledge as once you start enjoying it you do not realise that you have gone further than original capacity.
Reduces stress – Cycling outside is a good way to be one with nature. It helps you to clear your head and makes you feel better.
Improves body co-ordination – As you cycle more and more, your body starts synchronising the moves and your arm to leg, and body to eye co-ordination improves.
Melts your body fat – If you are on the heavier side, cycling can help you reduce weight.
Improves cardio-vascular fitness – Cycling improves your breathing and your heart beat in a steady manner. Cycling also uses the largest muscle group, the legs, and raises the heart rate.
Disadvantages of cycling as an exercise
Injuries due to overuse – Muscle sprain due to over cycling is very common. Along with that, over cycling can subject you to lower backache and knee problems.
Safety issues – Cycling on a busy road is never easy. After all, not all road users are generous towards a vulnerable cycle rider. This raises the need of the right safety gear and right paths for cyclists which may or may not be available.
At the mercy of Mother Nature – Cycles do not have roofs so when it rains you have no choice to either to stop at a shelter or to go ahead and get drenched.
Harmful pollution – Riding on busy roads full of traffic can expose you to harmful pollution. This can also cause respiratory diseases.
Precautions to exercise while cycling
Gear up right – Protection is very important. Wearing kneecaps and a helmet can be helpful in avoiding some injuries.
Work on stamina building – Do not aim long distance on your first try.. Slowly build up your stamina and increase the distance.
Stay hydrated – Cycling can cause a lot of sweating. Never forget to carry a bottle of water with you. Sip a little water at regular intervals.
Do not ride with an injury – Riding while you’re injured can worsen the injury. It is better to take some rest and get better before starting to ride again.