Photo credit: Cheryl & Rich
Like many people I like to keep my body in trim shape and also like many I have varying success. By which I mean I have my lazy times where I fall of the fitness wagon and revert to the old days of drinking and exercising very little.
But generally I do various activities to keep my health and fitness levels up to a fairly good degree; one of these activities is cycling.
I’d like to cover how I think cycling affects our bodies and perhaps just importantly, our souls.
Of course, these are only my opinions, I’m not a doctor or other medical professional and it is recommended that people seek medical advice before starting a fitness activity.
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One of the largest benefits of cycling is that it’s a very low impact form of exercising. For example, when you jog, various joints (especially your knees and ankles) are impacted when your feet connect with the ground. Over time this can sometimes cause problems.
But with cycling you’re moving your legs in a circular motion with little or no impact while still working out the legs due to the resistance of peddling.
Cycling can also work out the upper body to some degree (it’s not only about the legs) compared to running which hardly works out the upper area.
In fact other parts of the body also receive a work out with cycling, especially up hills.
It is also a great way to increase your stamina, especially when you ride regularly.
This is particularly true if you include some steep hills in your riding course. It’s great as you would push yourself while struggling up the hill then get a well-deserved rest on the other side.
There have been various studies which have described how cycling on a regular basis can help reduce the risk of heart problems.
Riding is also a good way of toning up your muscles. Don’t expect to get the muscles of a body builder but more tight muscles, built for endurance, not weight.
Clear the Mind
For me what cycling does to my mind and soul is just as important as what it does to my body.
The way I think about it is if you have a broken mind then you’ll probably have a broken body as well, in some way.
I think going on a ride on a good sunny day along roads that aren’t too busy, with some great views provides a kind of reset switch for my mind.
For example if someone is struggling with a problem at work, they could try a short ride in their lunch hour and it can often help clear the mind to better cope with the problem on their return.
Most people have stress these days; it’s unfortunately just a way of life. But one thing that can help is cycling regularly.
The feeling or cresting a challenging hill and seeing some wonderful view is something that I feel would help anyone’s stress.
Jack Harris is someone on a constant journey through life and enjoys cycling as one of his hobbies. For people wanting to give a guided cycling tour a try he recommends www.pedaltours.co.nz/ that has in business for years, touring all over the globe.