Many of us began riding bicycles as a form of exercise, but that’s far from the only benefit bike riding provides for your body. In this post, we’ll explore the effects bike riding has on your body both during the short-term of an individual ride and over the long term.
We’ve seen many people transform their lives and bodies during our time running our bicycle shop in Boca Raton, FL.
What’s happening to your body during a bike ride?
- First 10 minutes – warming up: For the first minute or so, your body interprets exercise in terms of physical danger, triggering your fight or flight instinct. Basically, if you’re working your legs, your body thinks you might be running away from something. It starts cutting blood flow from your extremities until your brain can figure out if it needs to allocate energy to your legs for flight or to your arms and fists to fight. Since your body is itself warming up for the first 10 minutes, you should also take it slow for now.
- 10 minutes in – endorphins kick in: Ten minutes in, your muscles are better oxygenated. Still, by burning as much energy as you do riding, you’re creating lactic acid in your muscles, which can put pressure on your nerves and cause pain. To counteract this, your body produces endorphins to actually block the pain from your mind with pleasure.
- Taking a big hill: When you take a big hill, your body suddenly requires more power from your legs. This causes your fast-twitch muscles to kick into action. This will give you more power in the short term, but you’ll soon wear out and feel the burn. There’s no way to avoid the pain, but as you get into better shape, the recovery afterwards will be faster. Keep pedaling after the hill, even on the downslope, to help your legs reset.
- Sprint: Many riders end their rides with a sprint, pedaling all out for the last 15 seconds or so. The effect of sprinting on your body is similar to that of taking a big hill, because it exhausts the same fast-twitch muscles. A tip: You’re better off sprinting in the middle of your ride and ending on a cool-down.
What are the long-term effects of bike riding on your body?
The long-term effects of bike riding are numerous:
- Increased leg and core strength and endurance: The more you ride, the stronger and longer you’re able to ride.
- Decreased body fat: Biking is great for burning calories and encouraging your body to use energy stored in fat.
- Better coordination: Biking ties your brain and body together in much the same way other sports do. Long-term, biking makes you more athletic and more in control of your body.
- Better sleep: You’ll almost immediately notice you’re getting better, longer, more restful sleep.
- Happier: Biking makes your brain better at producing endorphins, which help your body ignore pain and focus on the positive. During the ride, this keeps you from feeling the burn too much, and after the ride, your brain is still producing those endorphins, which makes it easier to be a happy, well-balanced person. This is perhaps the best reason to head to the bike shop.
Visit our bike shop in Boca Raton, FL
From running a bike repair shop in Boca Raton, FL since 1972, we know biking can really change your life. Visit our bicycle shop if you’d like to get started, or if you’ve got an old bike you’d like to get back on the road, give us a call at Bicycle Doctor Inc. – House Calls.
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