Despite being a low-impact aerobic exercise, cycling brings with it a plethora of benefits, ranging from a lean body and stronger muscles to better mental health.
If you’re not sure whether cycling is the right option for you, we’ve put together a list of cycling benefits, both mental and physical.
So it not only keeps you active but has many other benefits, too.
Let’s take a look!
For females, achieving a body transformation with cycling requires a lot of dedication, but the benefits are worth it. It enhances muscle endurance, strengthens the hips, hamstrings, and glutes, makes the legs leaner, tones the calves, quads, and glutes, improves blood flow, and strengthens the brain. It also helps you lose weight and get a flat stomach.
Cycling body transformation in females
Body transformation in females is the same as it is in males, with the only difference being that the process is much slower. This is primarily because of hormonal limitations. Because women have lower testosterone and higher estrogen levels, losing fat is quite difficult for them. This is why they have to work harder to build muscle mass.
Women first need to lose fat and then gain muscles. Plus, they naturally have a leaner body shape than men, making it difficult to bulk up. In general, it can take up to 3-4 months of cycling daily for women to start losing weight and see some muscle definition.
Some women do have more testosterone than others, allowing them to tone their bodies as quickly as men. But it’s important to remember that cycling alone won’t do anything. Your activity level and diet play an important role in how much transformation the body goes through.
Another one of the biggest concerns female cyclists have is that they might end up with bulky and large muscles as a result of regular cycling. However, as mentioned earlier, bulking up is pretty difficult for women, so you don’t have anything to worry about.
External effects of cycling on the body
Before we go ahead and discuss all the ways cycling affects the female body, it’s important to keep in mind that each body is different and the impact the activity will have on the body will depend on the workout intensity.
Also, remember that cycling alone won’t result in a significant transformation, and you’ll have to incorporate strength training into your routine. At the same time, we can’t deny that cycling engages all the muscles to build endurance and burn fat.
So, if you decide to start cycling regularly, here are the changes you’ll see in your body:
Cycling can help you lose weight, particularly if it’s done at high intensity. Research suggests that it can temporarily increase your metabolism when it’s incorporated into your workout regime with exercises such as strength training. As a result, you’ll burn more body fat even if you’re just resting.
But the amount of weight you’ll lose by cycling depends on a number of factors. We’ve already discussed how weight loss differs by gender, but other factors include the diet and the kind of cycling you’ve taken up. If you want to lose weight, you’ll have to follow a calorie-deficit diet. And by keeping an eye on what you eat, you can easily burn calories and shed a few pounds.
Plus, since it’s a low-impact exercise, it’s easier to keep up with it daily. With just one hour of pedaling (at a moderate pace), you can burn up to 300 calories, or even more if you increase your weight (but the number of calories will depend on your weight as well). Overall, cycling, paired with a calorie-deficit diet, can help with gradual weight loss. Just look around for some female cycling before and after pictures, and you’ll see that the weight loss people have achieved is pretty impressive.
Gain in muscle mass in the lower body
Pedaling is a great form of resistance training. Take, for instance, cycling uphill. When doing so, you’ll experience a burning sensation in the lower body, which is a good thing since you lose body fat and gain muscle mass.
And since the lower body does most of the work to get the pedals moving, you gain muscle mass pretty quickly. This is why resistance training helps to strengthen the muscles in the lower body like the calf muscles, hips, glutes, and hamstrings. It also adds more definition to these muscles and improves their function.
Strong and shapely legs
When it comes to cycling, your leg muscles are responsible for most of the work, so you can expect high muscle definition there. However, keep in mind that even though cycling regularly shapes and strengthens the legs, not everyone gets the same results.
For instance, track cyclists tend to have bulkier legs compared to long-distance cyclists because the former also incorporate strength training in the cycling routine. On the other hand, long-distance cyclists tend to focus more on endurance training so instead of lifting heavyweights, they develop aerobic cells to boost their stamina and cardiovascular fitness.
To sum it up, regular cycling can help tone the muscles but for a bulkier leg and big thigh muscles, you’ll have to add in strength training.
Toned arm muscles
Cycling is not just a workout for the lower body. It’s true that consistently cycling impacts the lower body muscles the most, but it affects the upper body as well. This is because you have to use your shoulder and arm muscles to maintain your balance when riding. And holding the handlebars helps to tone the shoulders and arms to different degrees based on the activity level.
Plus, supporting the upper body on your cycle and pressing down on the break for longer duration exercises the arm muscles, and it’s quite similar to what you’d do in the gym. So for instance, pressing the brakes will define the forearms, which is quite similar to the result you get from using spring clamps.
Keep in mind that your biking style will determine how toned your upper body will be. For example, you naturally crouch in road biking, which requires more arm strength to stay seated on the bike as compared to the strength needed to stay upright. Meanwhile, the bumpy terrain in mountain biking requires a firmer grip on the bike’s handlebars.
But the best style for toned arms is extreme riding – you can see results in just a short time. This is because, in this kind of biking, you have to maneuver the handlebars more than normal, which helps tone the muscles in the upper body.
Strengthened core muscles
Cycling is a great core workout and trains the stomach and back muscles to help keep you balanced while riding. And as the muscles in the abdomen get stronger, it becomes easier to cycle for a longer time. In turn, this helps you burn more calories and lose more weight.
However, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean engaging and strengthening the core is the same as cutting down belly fat. Cycling does help with weight loss, but spot-reducing is impossible. Your whole body must be in good shape to get rid of belly fat.
Internal effects of cycling on the body
In addition to all the positive effects on the legs, arms, upper body, and core, cycling has internal benefits, too. Let’s take a look at them.
Improved cardiovascular health
One of the most important changes that the body goes through when cycling is improved cardiovascular health. Cycling makes the heart bigger and stronger and more efficient at rest and during exercise. It also lowers both the heart rate and blood pressure, which, in turn, reduces the chances of a heart attack.
Our lung capacity also increases, which helps us to breathe better. It also takes much longer to get tired since the muscles are well-oxygenated. Our blood is able to efficiently supply more oxygen to the muscles and remove the waste by-product of energy combustion (in other words, carbon dioxide).
Better sleep quality
Another benefit of cycling is improved sleep quality, and this is for many reasons. First, cycling tires us out and our body needs time to recover, which is what happens when we sleep. It also helps bring down the levels of cortisol (the body’s stress hormone), making it easier to fall asleep.
Exposure to sunlight produces vitamin D, which helps boost our mood and ensures better sleep. According to research, riding a bike for 20-30 minutes every day helped individuals with insomnia fall asleep quicker and for longer!
Stronger immune system
Cycling also affects our immune system and makes it easier to deal with infections and illnesses related to the lungs and heart. It also ensures good mental and sleep health. A cyclist’s body produces more T-cells, special lymphocytes that help our body fight foreign infections.
In addition to all these benefits, cycling has other positive effects too. These include:
- It reduces and even helps to prevent back pain. This is because the activity strengthens the back muscles, particularly the lumbar area, which helps protect the spine.
- It reduces fluid retention. Constantly pedaling speeds up the flow of blood, and as we sweat, our body gets rid of the fluids we retain in periods of inactivity.
- Since cycling is a low-impact exercise, it doesn’t put excessive stress on your joints. Plus, the chances of getting injured are quite low compared to the rate of injuries when running.
Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Daniel White