Cycling offers many important benefits for women, whether they use their bikes as a means of transport or practice different variations of the sport. Ranging from electric mountain bikes to urban folding bikes and from family bike rides to long-distance routes across mountain passes, there are plenty of ways to get on a bike and enjoy the experience choosing your own pace.
But first you need to know your own body, your strengths and your weaknesses in order to decide how you are going to use your bike and to set achievable short-term goals. Don’t set unattainable goals as you’ll only get frustrated. Simply enjoy every ride and you’ll get to where you never thought you could go. Along the way you’ll see the benefits of cycling for your health, your body, your mind and your life. To mention just a few of them:
- Cycling improves cardiovascular health by increasing lung capacity and burning fat across your whole body, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure and therefore improving blood circulation.
- Riding a bike strengthens the muscles of the legs and glutes. Cycling helps reduce cellulite by stimulating the build-up of fat and fluid in the lower limbs.
- Regular cycling and a healthy, balanced diet will keep your body fat in check and help you lose those extra pounds. If you’re overweight or obese, cycling is perfect as it’s a low-impact sport, and your ankles, knees and hips will be thankful!
- Women are also more likely to suffer from arthritis, so if you have problems with your joints or ligaments and want to practice some sport, a bike is the perfect vehicle to move around and stay active.
- Regular cycling also improves our immune system. A study from the University of Birmingham found that the thymus (from the Greek word ‘thýmos’ which means “life energy”, an organ known as the health and immunity gland) of an elderly person who cycled regularly generated as many T-cells as the one of a 20-year-old.
- The benefits of cycling are not only physical, our minds also make the most of it. Our mental health will benefit from the release of endorphins produced while cycling. The hormones of happiness are the physiological links that connect the feeling of well-being and physical exercise.
- Moving around the city by bike causes less stress than driving, and the more bike friendly your city is, the easier it will be to get around. You may even be able to get to your destination faster and save time – it all depends on the city you live in, as cycling paradises such as Holland, Belgium or Denmark are not yet common in the rest of the world.
- Cycling is also an excellent way to clear your mind, release tension, forget your everyday problems, boost creativity or clear up mental blocks, letting new ideas and thoughts emerge. Not to mention the feeling of happiness when you get on a bike, start a route and get a little further than the day before, go a little faster, or simply get less tired than the last time, eager to jump back on the bike. Our confidence and self-esteem improve, and we feel powerful after achieving the goals we had set.
- Cycling also changes our mindset. We become aware of our physical shape, focus more on our health and do our best to maintain a healthy lifestyle. One might say that it changes our lives because the time spent cycling means being surrounded by people with healthy lifestyle habits. You will not be dedicating that time to other less healthy or directly harmful leisure activities.
- And finally, thanks to cycling you get to spend more time with your family, your partner or friends. One of the great things about cycling is that you can do it alone or in company, and going on a bike ride together is not only good for you but also for your loved ones. It doesn’t matter if you’re not at the same level and can’t keep up with each other, just slow down and let them win once in a while. :))
These of course are just some of the many benefits of cycling for women. If you don’t have a bike, get one that meets your needs or goals, and ask for help to adapt it to your body as being comfortable on your bike is essential to enjoy both the ride and the company.