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September 26, 2023
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Okay, Let’s Talk: What Is Cycling and Why Is It So Good?

I had the good fortune to learn to ride a bike at the age of four. I can still picture my first bike, which had two extra wheels on each side to prevent me from falling. During my childhood, I developed an interest in cycling and suffered many injuries while aspiring to become the best cyclist in my community.

As a female cyclist, I immensely love learning about the best riders in our sport and diving into in-depth interviews to discover what makes them unique. So, let’s talk about cycling. I am pleased to share my experience, searches, and love for cycling with you, as I am on a journey that has changed my life as a cyclist.

What Is Cycling?

Cycling is one of the most popular sports in the world, drawing millions of spectators each year. Track cycling, road, and off-road cycling are its main three categories. I’m sure that you’ve heard of the Tour de France, the world’s famous road bicycle competition.

If you’ve ever watched the Olympics, you’ve probably seen these guys competing on mountain cycles on rocky, uneven roads. This is off-road cycling. Track cycling competitions, on the other hand, are always held in large, enclosed arenas with steep banks that drive competitors onto the inside of the track and are covered in wooden panels.

One of the stories that pushed me to pause and reconsider my identity as a female cyclist was that of the Afghan rider Rukhsar Habibzai. She was one of the many women forced to leave their country as part of the mass deportation of defenceless citizens who were the targets of the Taliban. She led the first women’s cycling team in her country, and they were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for their courage in challenging gender norms in Afghanistan.

Cycling Benefits

My love for sports is not random. Since I can recall, my family has been involved in sports. My grandfather and his friends would cycle across the country for three months each summer. The main reason I am where I am today is because of my mother, who is an athlete.

Cycling has been my main exercise for many years. Personally, I have found it to be extremely healthy, and it helped me deal with the stress of day-to-day life. So, let’s find out the benefits of cycling and how it affects our mental health.

Improving Your Mood

Science has confirmed that the “cycling high”, a feeling of relief many riders claim to experience, is genuine. You’ll feel a spike in neurochemicals like serotonin and dopamine. It gives you the impression that you could go on for endless miles, and your pain, anxiety, and stress seem to vanish. This feeling results in blissful and peaceful states of mind.

Get Fit Without Trying Too Hard

I’ve already mentioned that I’ve never been a gym fan. I’ve always been that friend who encourages her friends to ride a bicycle, climb a mountain, hug a tree, or walk barefoot. Although there are benefits to working out in the gym, I always prefer wide-open areas and long rides.

Cycling has numerous benefits, from discovering nature to improving mental and physical health. And what better place to ride a bike than in the breathtaking nature? Being outdoors remarkably impacts happiness and productivity. It helps you see more of the world, experience stunning wilderness, and discover beautiful sights.

Strengthening the Immune System

The good news is that physical activity, like cycling, increases the main types of immunity, such as natural immunity, healing wounds, and adaptive immunity. It improves the immune system by preserving a healthy lymphocyte level and strengthening its overall capacity for protection.

However, it’s crucial to remember that overtraining can negate these advantages and put you at greater risk for injuries and infection than someone inactive.

Sleep Deeply at Night

When you return to your bed and lay your head on your pillow, cycling can help you get a good night’s sleep by lowering your level of the stress hormone, cortisol. During a challenging time in my life, I struggled to sleep at night. My PTSD diagnosis had a significant impact on my ability to sleep.

I stopped going out with my friends and even cycling. One morning, I decided to go cycling. For me, it was a game changer in my life. I returned home exhausted and could only remember getting a decent night’s sleep.

Biking to Work?

Reducing daily transportation to work and switching to biking makes a massive difference for the environment, helping us as individuals and the ecosystems around us. According to studies, workers who cycle to work have higher energy levels and can focus longer. Cycling also enhances problem-solving abilities, which is beneficial in almost all professions.

I can still hear the conversation I had with my activist and cyclist friend. He said something to me that I still remember. The same space that fits one car can fit ten bicycles. We can build a bike with just 3% of the resources and energy required for building a car, and it produces no pollution. Well, I think he said a lot here.

Common Cycling Injuries

After an off-season or period of rest, I’ve noticed that I’m more susceptible to illnesses like the common cold when I begin a new, intensive training program. Although this may seem unexpected, there is a rational reason for it. A theory developed by doctors who treat professional riders claims that the immune system worsens after an intense, strenuous workout. This is because all of your systems undergo physiological changes as the body works in overdrive.

You may ask yourself: How do cycling-related injuries happen? Regardless of whether you are an expert or a beginner, almost all cycling injuries happen similarly. The most common causes of cycling injuries are falling, crashing, bike setup, and posture. Injury-specific treatments are available. So, having them diagnosed by sports medicine specialists who can properly diagnose and treat the issue is crucial.

Why Cycling?

Cycling strengthens your heart, blood vessels, and lungs because it is mainly aerobic exercise. You’ll breathe deeply, sweat, and feel warmer, increasing your overall fitness level.

What matters most is that you’re outside. Exercising outdoors is more beneficial for mental health and is one of the most popular forms of therapy. The outcome? You’re a happier, healthier person getting a fix that amplifies the positive aspects of life.

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