Cycling is a great form of exercise. It is a favorite among those who want to incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine. Cycling is fun to do because you get to spend more time outdoors. Plus, this activity can be moderate to intense, depending on your own pace. It is therefore a great activity to enjoy for children and even the elderly. If you are looking to pursue a more active and healthier life, you can start with this activity.
Benefits of Cycling to Your Muscles
How does cycling benefit your muscles? (Image Source: Pexels)
Cycling can deliver a bunch of health benefits, but one of the most prominent is that it can tone your muscles. It involves a lot of pedaling which uses a wide variety of muscle groups. There is a common misconception that this activity only involves the calf and thigh muscles. In reality, it is a full-body workout as there is movement in nearly every muscle in your body.
When you cycle, your arm muscles are strengthened since they are vital in maintaining your balance. You use your arm muscles to keep your body up as you pedal. As for your legs, the pedaling motion gives them more strength and toning effect.
With regular cycling, you can develop these key muscle groups to increase flexibility and strength. You can also achieve a boost in aerobic fitness, especially when you cycle on uphill terrains. The more challenging terrains can boost the impact of the activity on your muscles.
Which Muscle Groups Are Targeted?
Cycling builds the muscular structure of the body. Therefore, this type of exercise is adapted by those who want to achieve toning and a more sculpted look. There are some claims that it is even more effective than weight training.
The lower body muscles are undoubtedly the main muscle groups that are targeted in this type of exercise. Aside from that, core and arm muscles also get a good workout. Below are the key muscle groups that are targeted and exercised with cycling:
- Calf muscles
- Thigh muscles
- Arms (Biceps and Triceps)
- Buttocks and Glutes
- Shoulders (Deltoids)
Like mentioned above, the lower body such as your legs is the most obvious set of muscles that are built. In particular, the two main muscles in the calves are the soleus and gastrocnemius. The soleus muscles are responsible for working the heels and the gastrocnemius muscles help you create that forward motion when cycling. For your thigh area, the quadriceps and hamstrings work together with every pedal. They are among the muscles that are worked heavily in order to pump the pedal and maintain your pace.
The gluteal muscles, known as the buttocks, are also targeted when you cycle. There are three muscles in this group that you are working with every rotation of your thighs that cause motion on the bike. This is why biking is known to produce really toned buttocks and legs, as well as helps to keep them strong.
While it might be surprising to some, cycling can also benefit the core muscles. The back and stomach also get a workout when you bike as tightening your ab muscles enable you to pedal stronger. Tight abs also help with maintaining your balance so you do not fall off the bike.
For those who would like to strengthen their upper body, cycling can be a good form of exercise. The position that a rider assumes during a cycling session – whether leaning forward, ducking, or standing – uses the upper body muscles. This set of muscles helps sustain the movement of the rider.
Every shift in movement will tone and strengthen the upper body region. This explains why your upper body muscles also become refined when you bike on a regular basis. Add to that a great recovery meal plan and you’ll be on your way to healthier and stronger muscles.
Other Health Benefits of Cycling
Why choose cycling as an exercise? (Image Source: Pexels)
Aside from toning your muscles and offering a wide range of muscular benefits, cycling can be beneficial to your health in other areas. Here are a few you need to know that will make you want to cycle more:
- It promotes weight loss. Cycling burns a lot of calories – an average of 400 to 1,000 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of each cycling session. It depends on the amount of calories you consume and how much you enjoy the activity.
- It improves lung health. You can boost your lung capacity with regular cycling. The fact that you get to spend more time outdoors is also beneficial to your lung health.
- It reduces your risk for heart disease. When you cycle, it raises your heart rate. It also helps blood to pump throughout your body. There is also a new study conducted by the University of Glasgow that shows how cycling can reduce your risk of heart disease in half. In general, cycling can lower the risk of adverse conditions.
- It will improve the quality of your sleep. Due to the boost in cardiorespiratory fitness, there is a corresponding improvement in sleep duration and quality among cyclists. It can be attributed to the fact that doing exercises you enjoy can reduce anxiety and stress.
- It can help manage diabetes. For diabetic patients, cycling is a great exercise to do, specifically those with type 2 diabetes. It can also reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes for those who don’t have it but are at risk of developing it.
- It can boost your brain power. Exercise has long been proven to improve your brain health. But for cyclists, this activity can promote up to 28% more blood flow to the brain. This improved blood flow can keep your brain sharp and also reduce the risk of suffering from dementia later in life.
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