If biking was your mode of freedom as a kid, but after you got your driver’s license, it rarely saw the light of day again. That’s a shame because riding a bike as an adult brings back all those feelings of happiness and freedom plus these mind-blowing grown-up benefits.
Pedaling feels better than pounding
You can’t beat running or high-intensity training for torching calories, but they can be pretty rough on the joints. Biking is a lower impact activity that is much easier because there is a lot less pounding and stress on the joints. Hoping on a bicycle doesn’t mean you’re slacking off getting a good cardio workout. For a person weighing 150 pounds, about 575 calories are burned in an hour pedaling a moderate 13 mph.
Bike to boost your brain power
A study showed healthy men who rode a stationary bike for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity scored higher on memory, reasoning and planning tests. Besides, they also were able to complete the task faster stated the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Ladies, I’m sure the results would be similar (or better) in the same test situation.
Cyclists are the happiest commuters
Researchers at Clemson University looked at how people felt during travel using various modes of transportation. Happiness, pain, stress, sadness, and fatigue were traits many commuters experienced. Researchers found people who rode their bikes to have the best mood compared to any other form of transportation. No doubt, the endorphins released after cycling for 30 minutes helped a lot too.
Bicycle into sleepy town
Researchers at Stanford UniversitySchool of Medicine asked insomniacs who didn’t exercise to bike for 20 to 30 minutes every other day. They discovered the time it took the insomniacs to fall asleep was cut in half, increasing sleep time by about an hour. Riding a bike outside nudges your circadian rhythm back in sync and kicks cortisol (stress hormone) to the curb to help you get quality sleep.
Size up your ride
You can’t take advantage of all that cycling has to offer if you feel uncomfortable when you ride. The best way to get an ideal bike for your body type is to visit a bike store with a knowledgeable staff (people who bike more than they walk). But if you have a bike and it doesn’t feel quite right take a look at three essential components—seat height, saddle position and the handlebar.
Your heel should barely touch the pedal at the bottom of the pedal rotation for ideal seat height. If your nether regions are going numb it could be the saddle position isn’t dialed in correctly. Adjust the saddle by moving it forward or backward to find the sweet spot. Finally, the handlebar reach (the distance from the saddle to the handlebar) should be comfy. Your elbows should bend slightly when your hands are on the handlebars.
Never ride without a helmet
Play it safe and wear a helmet. Helmets are only cumbersome and uncomfortable when they are the wrong size or style for your head. A well-fitted helmet is worth the splurge and could save your noggin. According to the National Safety Council, you’ll reduce your risk of head injury by a whopping 60 percent and brain injury by 58 percent when you wear a helmet.