Cycling by far is one of the best and simple workout to improve your cardiovascular health and increase its efficiency along with improving your overall muscular strength and stamina. Health Departments across the globe recommend at least 100 minutes of cycling on a weekly basis to stay fit and healthy. Cycling can be done on the road and you can also use a stationary bicycle. Biking can also be a lot of fun and you can enjoy cycling especially on a lonely stretch of a road but there are also certain risks associated with bicycling. The following article illustrates the various benefits and side effects of cycling.

What are the Benefits of Cycling?

What are the Benefits of Cycling?

To start off, we will discuss the various benefits of cycling:

Benefits of Cycling in Improving Cardiovascular Health: This is by far the best benefit of bicycling. Cycling on a regular basis improves the cardiovascular efficiency of the same proportion as a regular aerobic exercise gives. By improving cardiovascular health we mean improving cardiac output and having a healthy heart and blood vessels. Doctors recommend cycling at least 30 minutes a day for maintaining health and stay fit. Cycling also helps in maintaining an ideal weight which decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It also helps in keeping the blood pressure controlled. Cycling also helps in decreasing the LDL cholesterol which is also termed as the "bad" cholesterol.

Cycling is Beneficial in Strengthening the Muscles and Improving Stamina: According to research conducted by various health related organizations, it has come to light that cycling improves the strength of the muscles, especially the muscles of the legs. It also goes a long way in increasing your stamina. The more your pedal a bicycle, the more the muscles likes the gluteus, hamstrings, quads become strengthened. The more you cycle and more you pedal, it automatically increases your endurance and stamina and you will stay active for long periods of time, especially in today's competitive world.

Benefits of Cycling in Controlling Obesity: Cycling is also a very good exercise medium in losing weight. Cycling increases the metabolic rate of the body and you tend to burn a lot of calories by cycling. Hence it is recommended that if you are overweight than you start cycling regularly and gradually increasing the time and distance that you cycle. This in combination with a healthy diet goes a long way in maintaining an ideal weight. Studies suggest that just by cycling you can burn up to 2000 calories in a week which speaks for itself that how much cycling is of benefit in losing weight.

Benefits of Cycling in Controlling Diabetes: Cycling is also very beneficial in controlling your blood sugars. Diabetes has become quite a common medical conditions in today's world with the major reason cited being lack of adequate activity and exercise. If you are a diabetic, then it would be very helpful if you start cycling at least half an hour a day.

Cycling and Osteoarthritis: As cycling puts very little stress on the joints hence it is an ideal exercise for people with osteoarthritis who are predisposed to various injuries to the joints due to the fragile condition of the joints due to this condition.

What are the Side Effects of Cycling?

What are the Side Effects of Cycling?

If cycling has quite a few benefits, it obviously has some risks or side effects. These risks may be few but they are real. The following are some of the risks of excessive cycling:

Erectile Dysfunction: Men who cycle a lot especially cyclists' who compete in various competitions, can have a condition in which important veins or arteries going to the penis may get compressed and result in a medical condition called as erectile dysfunction in which the affected individual is not able to maintain erection during a sexual intercourse. The reason for this is as a person cycles he puts a significant amount of weight on the perineal area where a lot of nerves and arteries going to the penis are present which tends to impinge or compress these nerves or arteries. A male cyclist suffering from numbness and pain in the scrotal area needs to contact a physician immediately as it can be a warning sign of erectile dysfunction.

Weight Loss: As stated above, cycling leads to increased metabolic rate which helps in weight loss. This may be good for people who are overweight but it is not that good for people who are underweight and trying to gain weight.

Slowed Breathing: Cycling is also the cause of a person breathing slowly and takes more time to take a breath whether with exertion or at rest.

References:

  1. Bicycle riding and erectile dysfunction: a review.
    Sommer F1, Goldstein I, Korda JB.
    J Sex Med. 2010 Jul;7(7):2346-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01664.x. Epub 2010 Jan 19.

  2. Erectile dysfunction and amatorial cycling.
    Colpi GM1, Contalbi G, Ciociola E, Mihalca R.
    Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2008 Sep;80(3):123-6.

  3. Does bicycling contribute to erectile dysfunction? Examining the evidence.
    Brant WO1, Lue TF, Smith JF.
    Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Apr;37(1):44-53. doi: 10.3810/psm.2009.04.1682.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: November 26, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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