You Don’t Have To Do A Century For A Ride To “Count.”

Even a Little Bit of Riding Can Make a Big Difference in Your Life

Here are six life-changing benefits of cycling, no matter how much time or energy you have for a bike ride.

1. A Sharper Mind

“Cycling is one of the best exercises I’d recommend,” says Corey Kunzer, a physical therapist and supervisor for the Mayo Clinic’s sports medicine department. “It’s easy on the joints and helps relieve stress.” Cycling has also been found to reduce anxiety and depression. When given a questionnaire, people who increased their biking saw improvements in their overall mental health.

2. More Confidence (That Can Lead to a Better Sex Life)

All that newfound mental health could result in newfound confidence. Men who exercise more have been found to self-report their sexual desirability as above average, or much above average. (Women also reported increases, but not as drastic.)

3. Less Overeating

“One of the reasons that daily exercise could be so useful is because it allows your muscles to act as a ‘buffer’ to the food that we eat,” says Dylan Thomas, a professor of health sciences at the University of Bath and author of the study. “When you use your muscles, they break down carbohydrate and fat stores.” So even short bouts of riding like a quick commute to your office can put your body in a better place for the entire day.

4. Better Quality of Sleep

With all our modern-day stresses compounded with an exorbitant amount of screen time, disconnecting and falling asleep is tougher than ever these days. But external stimuli aside, a study from the University of Georgia found a link between cardiorespiratory fitness and sleep patterns. The study included over 8,000 subjects ranging from age 20 to 85, and discovered a strong correlation between a decrease in fitness and the inability to fall asleep and general sleep complaints.

Translation: Moderate to vigorous cardiovascular activities like cycling were shown to boost fitness, therefore making it easier to fall and stay asleep. This may sound obvious to anyone who’s pedaled a bike and experienced the post-ride combo of exhaustion and soreness (with some endorphins sprinkled in), but now the science is there to prove it.

5. A More Enjoyable Commute

Bike commuting offers very real health benefits, without requiring you to go out of your way to exercise, but the perks of getting around on two wheels go beyond avoiding traffic and living more healthfully. Commuting by car has been linked to weight gain and obesity, even in drivers who make time for exercise. Women who commute by walking or biking at least 30 minutes each day also were found to have a decreased risk of breast cancer.

6. A Longer Life

More bike rides do more than make you healthier and happier: They also extend the amount of time you have to feel that way, even if you’re already creeping up in years. A large study in Norway followed a group of elderly men in their 70s and 80s and found that just 30 minutes of exercise per day resulted in those men living up to five years longer, compared to men who didn’t do any physical activity.

It’s never too late to start!

Thanks for your Wisdom Michael Nystrom