Cycling benefits for weight loss, fitness and mental health

Megan Smith
 min read

Why should you cycle for your physical health? And what are the cycling benefits for weight loss purposes?

cycling benefits for weight loss fitness and mental healthWell, cycling is one of the few exercises that can provide an excellent aerobic (cardiovascular, also known as cardio) workout, while also toning and strengthening your muscles.

It is a low-impact exercise, too. The bike supports the weight of your body, so your joints are protected because they aren’t put under pressure.

And since you can alter gears and choose your terrain, cycling grants you a lot of control over the intensity of your exercise.

The muscles in your legs have to work hard to power the pedaling action.

But that’s not all, since cycling will reinforce, shape, and tone your whole body!

Starting with cycling: Tips for beginners to enjoy cycling benefits

Do you want to begin with a low-intensity cycling workout? Or do you have a history of injuries or haven’t ridden a bike for a while?

Either way, we advise you to take the beginning slowly. Do some basic, easy-riding before beginning any multiple-week training programs.

Start with brief, 15-minute rides on flat roadways or routes, and gradually build up the period of your trips.

It’s easy to include cycling into your life. Some YMCAs and other local companies provide brief courses on cycling safety and abilities.

If you feel nervous about riding your bike on roadways, try to find parks and specific cyclists’ routes.

Talk to the YMCA or your local bike shop for their best places.

In any case: Don’t let anything prevent you from riding your bike. You will gain a lot while having so much fun along the way.

The types of muscle fibers: Slow-twitch and fast-twitch

Muscles are made of two types of fibers: Slow-twitch and fast-twitch.

Almost every muscle in the body is made up of a genetically identified proportion of the two.

Slow-twitch muscle fibers are more plentiful.

They power constant, consistent efforts such as low- to medium-intensity cycling, running, or strolling.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers power the high-intensity bursts of effort that can only be sustained for brief periods, such as sprinting or lifting weights.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers are thicker than slow-twitch fibers, so targeting them can help give your muscles more shape and strength.

Cycling will tone your muscles but it will not develop big muscles since it is balanced with aerobic work.

One of the advantages of biking over other forms of workouts is the control it gives you regarding the type and difficulty of your workout.

By using the different gears on a bike, riding up a hill, or sprinting, you target fast-twitch muscle fibers as part of a general training program without needing extra professional equipment.

Stimulating the optimum variety of fast-twitch muscle fibers during a cycling session has an additional benefit!

It raises your metabolic rate, which increases the variety of calories you burn, even when you are not working out.

Improve your level of aerobic fitness

Cycling, even at a consistent pace, raises your heart rate.

Your heart and lungs always strive to supply oxygen to the muscles, so they can power the effort of pedaling.

The more aerobic or “cardio” training you do, the fitter you end up being and the more effective your body will provide your muscles with oxygen.

The benefits of a significant level of aerobic fitness are far-reaching.

You’ll notice that you are better at handling the physical demands of your daily life.

However, you will also notice that you are more alert and can focus better and more quickly.

You will sleep much better and, as a result, you will feel and look better too.

Regular aerobic exercise, combined with a healthy, well-balanced diet plan, can help you:

  • Control your weight
  • Lower your body fat (discover the best bikes for fat guys if you are interested in buying a sturdy bike for overweight men)
  • Improve your heart and capillaries flow
  • Lower a high blood pressure

Establish muscular physical fitness

A common misbelief about cycling is that it only works the muscles of the legs.

The pedaling action reinforces and tones the muscles in the thighs and calves, but other muscles must work hard too!

For example, the muscles in the torso and arms.

Your posture on the bike as you pedal needs to be kept in shape, which triggers the core muscles in your upper body.

This is the muscles group that:

  • Supports your spine
  • Keeps your lower back strong, and
  • Promotes a healthy and good posture

When you ride out of the saddle, you target the muscles in your upper body (those in your arms, chest and shoulders).

When you cycle hard while increasing your speed, you automatically push hard with your legs as you pull up on the handlebars.

With this, cycling quickly becomes a low-cost, full-body muscular exercise.

Physical advantages of riding a bike (cycling benefits)

Cycling is great for your body and mind! Discover the benefits of cycling for overweight women and men and several physical advantages below:

Arm muscles

Riding out of the saddle or on off-road surfaces tones and strengthens the muscles in your upper and lower arms.

In other words, cycling benefits your arm muscles and makes them look better.

Shoulder and chest muscles

Gripping the handlebars to control the bike enhances and tones your chest and shoulder muscles.

Cycling benefits your core muscles

Balancing your body on a bike activates your lower back and abdomen muscles while also strengthening them.

Hip and leg joints

The bike supports your weight so no stress is placed on your ankle, knee or hip joints.

This is extremely interesting for overweight people who want to relieve their joints.

Why should you cycle if you are plus-size? Because cycling relieves your joints while you are trying to burn calories!

Heart and lungs

When cycling, the lungs strive to bring oxygen into the body while the heart pumps intensely to distribute it to the muscles.

Resistance training

Changing gears modifies the level of resistance that your muscles work against.

This allows you to manage the strength of your workout.

Cycling benefits your leg muscles

The strength it needs to pedal tones and strengthens the muscles in the calves and thighs as they strive to power your cycling efforts.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded PlusSizeZeal.com to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More