Cycling can be done as a sport and also as a hobby. A sport is defined as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. There are loads of cycling competitions in the United States and around the world.
Every four years, cyclists compete at the Olympics and there are currently four disciplines in Olympic cycling: track cycling, road cycling, mountain biking, and BMX. BMX was the latest to be added to the Olympic program, in 2008. The cycling competitions of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo featured 22 events in five disciplines.
Aside from the Olympics, there are other cycling competitions such as Trans Pyr Ultramarathon, Spain, Race Across America, United States of America, La Ruta de Los Conquistadores, Costa Rica, Tour de France, The Iditarod Invitational, United States of America, Maratona dles Dolomites, L’Étape du Tour, and Tour de Flanders.
So also, cycling is a hobby because it is an activity that people do regularly in their leisure time for pleasure because of the health benefits and easy access to different locations, especially locations you can’t access with cars. Having said that, here are 10 benefits you can derive from adopting cycling as a hobby.
10 Benefits of Cycling as a Hobby
Table of Contents
- 1 Cycling Increased Cardiovascular Fitness
- 2 Cycling Helps in Weight Loss
- 3 Increased Muscular Strength and Flexibility
- 4 Improved Joint Mobility
- 5 Decreased Stress Levels
- 6 Improved Posture and Movement
- 7 Cycling Prevents Heart Disease and Cancer Risk
- 8 Cycling Improves Your Mental Capacity and Brain Power
- 9 Cycling Helps in the Prevention and Management of Disease
- 10 Cycling Helps Improve Sex Life
Cycling Increased Cardiovascular Fitness
One major benefit you can derive when you engage in cycling as a hobby is that it will increase your cardiovascular fitness. Cycling is a top-notch cardio workout and it can help you burn about 400 calories an hour.
Please note that your cardiovascular fitness, also called your cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), says a lot about your health and the potential for health outcomes. CRF measures how well your body takes in oxygen and delivers it to your muscles and organs during prolonged periods of exercise.
Cycling Helps in Weight Loss
Another important benefit you will gain when you engage in cycling as a hobby is weight loss. If you have been struggling to lose weight, then you should engage in cycling. All you need to do is to make sure you cycle for at least one hour daily and you will be amazed at the rate at which you have shed weight. Cycling is known to burn between 400 and 1000 calories an hour, but this will also depend on intensity and rider weight.
Increased Muscular Strength and Flexibility
Increased muscular strength and flexibility are also benefits you will gain when you engage in cycling as a hobby. Muscular strength is the amount of force you can put out or the amount of weight you can lift. Muscular endurance is how many times you can move that weight without getting exhausted (very tired).
One of the ways to transition from a flabby muscle to a firm muscle and at the same enjoy flexibility is to engage in cycling. When you cycle regularly, you will enjoy the 3 kinds of muscle strength which are concentric strength, eccentric strength, and static strength.
Improved Joint Mobility
If there is anything one can point to that they gained from cycling, it is an improvement in their joint mobility. When you engage in cycling, joints in your body are involved, and the result is that you will enjoy an improvement in your joints.
Mobility of a joint is important to allow better efficiency of these joints so that their movements are not compromised. Your joints need to be mobile enough to allow the muscles to do their job properly hence the reason why you must engage in cycling.
Decreased Stress Levels
Another major benefit you can derive from cycling as a hobby is a decrease in your stress levels. A lot of busy people such as corporate executives, entrepreneurs, nursing mothers, and even politicians and government officials are usually stressed carrying out their jobs.
If you are always stressed, one of the ways you can reduce your stress is to engage in cycling. Research shows that those who regularly cycle have a significantly lower risk of feeling stressed. This is so because cycling releases ‘feel-good’ hormones known as endorphins. These hormones help to relax your mind and make you feel happier.
Improved Posture and Movement
Improved posture and movement are other benefits you can enjoy when you engage in cycling. In most motor acts, posture and movement must be in alignment to achieve the goal of the task. Please note that posture and movement are two different and often conflicting aspects of motor control.
Postural control involves stabilizing a “reference” (joint angle, center, of gravity position) against disturbances exerted by external forces, whereas movement control involves reaching a new position through a trajectory. When you are cycling, you are forced to keep your back straight and avoid slouching. The constant contraction of our abs as we ride improves their strength and, in turn, our overall balance.
Cycling Prevents Heart Disease and Cancer Risk
Another very important benefit you stand to gain when you engage in cycling is that it will help you prevent heart disease and also cut cancer risk. Researchers studied over 260,000 individuals over five years and they found out that cycling to work can cut a rider’s risk of developing heart disease or cancer in half.
This is how it works, cycling raises your heart rate and gets the blood pumping around your body, and it burns calories, limiting the chance of your being overweight. Once your heart rate is working as expected and your blood pumping around your body as expected, it will help cut your risk of developing major illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
Cycling Improves Your Mental Capacity and Brain Power
Another benefit you will enjoy when you engage in cycling is an improvement in your mental capacity and brain power. Cycling pumps blood around your body at a greater rate which allows for the rapid spread of endorphins and other good substances like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
It promotes positive mental health. Regular exercise has been repeatedly linked to brain health – and the reduction of cognitive changes that can leave us vulnerable to dementia later in life.
Research carried out in 2013 found that during exercise, cyclists’ blood flow in the brain rose by 28 percent, and up to 70 percent in specific areas. Not only that, but after exercise, in some areas, blood flow remained up by 40 percent even after exercise.
Cycling Helps in the Prevention and Management of Disease
Prevention and management of diseases is yet another benefit you stand to gain when you engage in cycling. You will agree that people that don’t exercise regularly usually come down with diseases like diabetes and obesity.
Research conducted in Finland found that people who cycled for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. When you cycle regularly it will benefit your immune system by helping immune cells to perform effectively.
Please note that cycling regularly makes you breathe deeper, perspire, and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level. This activity keeps your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and other major organs healthy and strong.
Cycling Helps Improve Sex Life
Lastly, another benefit you can get when you engage in cycling as a hobby is an improvement in your sex life. Cycling increases blood flow, which is scientifically proven to be good for your sex life. Increased blood flow will give you more physical energy.
This is how it works; when you cycle regularly, it will help keep your stress hormones in check, which means that you will feel less stressed overall. Research finds that less stress leads to easier sexual arousal. The implication of this is that you will be more likely to be in the mood and enjoy sex more.