The global pandemic has closed down or suspended public spaces, including those where people can do regular physical activities, such as gyms, parks, and recreational centers. This problem has led to physical inactivity. And it has serious health repercussions.
Boredom is also a common problem for many. Being stuck at home for almost a year now may not be as fun as you imagined. And while the internet offers several types of content, staring at a screen all day isn’t good for your health.
If you want to go back to being active and have some fun, try cycling. It’s a relatively easy activity that can offer several benefits, especially during a pandemic.
Helps in Losing “Quarantine 15”
Being stuck at home, you may have put on a few pounds, which is dubbed by many as “Quarantine 15.” Cycling is a form of cardio exercise, so it’s a great way to lose weight. A person who weighs 155 pounds can burn 298 calories after one 30-minute biking session. And one study found that after biking to work for six months, overweight people reduced their body fat by 4.2 kilograms.
Many shy away from cardio exercises since they can be painful and tiring. Some examples include walking and running. But cycling is less intensive than those two. It involves less joint loading. As a result, cycling is an ideal form of exercise for many, especially those with weak ankles or knees.
Improves Respiratory Health
If you haven’t done any cardio exercises for a long time, starting can be difficult. Many shy away from cardio exercises like cycling because it makes them breathless for a short period. But this is a good thing. If done regularly, cycling can strengthen your lungs.
Besides, you can start small. You can go for a short distance and do it for 30 minutes or less. Or you can do it with other tasks so that you don’t feel like you’re exercising. For example, ride a bike when you buy groceries, pick up an item you bought on sale, like an Obermeyer women’s ski jacket or a new gadget, or pick up prescription meds. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. So having strong lungs due to regular cycling can give you an extra layer of protection against the novel coronavirus.
Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
There is scientific evidence that cycling can make your heart stronger. Since biking is a cardio exercise, it can strengthen your heart muscles and improve your blood circulation. A healthy heart keeps your pulse at lower resting levels. And this can reduce your risk for heart attacks, hypertension, and other cardiovascular problems.
Prevents Other Serious Illnesses
Cycling can improve respiratory and cardiovascular health, as discussed earlier. This also means that this form of exercise can help you prevent other serious illnesses. Regular cycling can lower the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer. And because this activity helps in weight management, your risk of diabetes is also lowered.
Improves Mental Well-being
Biking not only improves physical health but mental health as well. Like other forms of exercise, cycling can help in lowering your risk of anxiety and depression. Also, you can improve your mood by cycling since exercising is known to release endorphins. With these effects, biking regularly will help you manage your stress more effectively.
Cycling Safety during the Pandemic
Many states laid out shelter-in-place orders, but they allow solo outdoor activities. You just need to follow the proper protocols. Always wear a helmet when you go out for a ride. Wear a mask if you’ll be passing through crowded places. And consider bringing one or two extra masks to replace what you’re wearing when they get wet from sweat. Also, it’s okay to take off your mask if you’re alone and won’t encounter anyone else in your biking route.