If you are searching for an activity that can provide all-rounded health benefits, consider cycling.
Riding your bike can help you lose unwanted calories and strengthen your muscles, lungs, and cardiovascular system.
It also serves as an excellent aerobic workout that boosts the overall health of your musculoskeletal system.
Better still, cycling has mental and psychological benefits too. Getting on your road bike regularly and cruising down the road for a few hours can reduce stress and the risk of depression.
Your sessions will also be instrumental in improving your memory and sleep patterns.
Are you interested in engaging in road bike exercise for health?
Let’s have a look at 3 of the best cycling workouts.
Road Bike Exercise for Health
The Main Physical Benefits of Cycling
There are more than a few solid reasons to own a whole collection of road bikes. Road biking is fun, and most importantly, it gets you out into the world.
Here are the physical perks of riding your road bike each day.
Easy on the Joints
Cycling is ideal for people of all ages, even those with stiffness and joint pain concerns.
Compared to other exercises such as walking or even lifting weight, cycling is easier on the joints, yet it has a host of health benefits to offer.
Excellent Aerobic Workout
Aerobic workouts are great for your blood vessels, heart, and brain. Pushing the pedals for at least an hour is equal to two hours of low-intensity aerobic workouts.
We all love having well-toned thighs, right? Well, cycling involves pedaling using the downstroke, upstroke, over stroke and backstroke.
The downstroke tones the quadriceps in the thighs, the gluteus muscles in the buttocks, and the soleus muscles in the calves.
On the other hand, you use your hamstrings in the back of the thighs as well as your flexor muscles located at the front of your hips when doing an over stroke, upstroke or backstroke.
These muscles get well-toned with each cycling session you take.
Additionally, staying upright on your road bike engages your abdominal muscles.
Cyclists also use their shoulder and arm muscles all through. In short, a lot of muscles are engaged and toned during each session.
Enhanced Musculoskeletal System
Your musculoskeletal system consists of not only your joints and muscles but also your bones.
Pedaling is a resistance activity that puts a strain on your entire musculoskeletal system. This, in return, helps to increase your bone density gradually.
Improved Immune System
Any form of cardiovascular workout enhances the overall health of your upper respiratory system.
This drastically reduces your chance of catching a cold or flu. Better still, exercising wakes up lazy white blood cells and accelerates the production of essential proteins for a generally more resilient immune system.
The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Road Biking
There is plenty of information about the physical benefits of riding a bike. However, most blogs don’t provide adequate details about the mental and psychological benefits of the activity.
Whether you are a pro cyclist or you cycle for fitness or social reasons, here are some of the noteworthy perks you stand to enjoy.
Let’s face it; everyone needs some level of distressing every day. If you are not dealing with a stressful working environment or family drama, then you are possibly dealing with money problems or even health issues.
Riding boosts the production of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. This is what gives you a “cycling high” and makes you feel happy for no apparent reason.
Stepping out of your usual setting and getting your heart pumping also puts you in a calm state of mind.
This, coupled with the sheer enjoyment of the wind hitting your face and brushing through your hair, helps to reduce anxiety and lower the risk of depression.
Riding a bike expels cortisol, which is a stress hormone notorious for blocking regenerative, deep sleep.
Taking long laps on your bike each day also has a positive impact on your brain’s serotonin, and this promotes better sleep cycles.
Currently, memory loss is not just an age-related problem. Daily stresses and unhealthy lifestyles are also known to have a negative effect on one’s memory.
Riding a bike can keep your memory sharp by promoting the building of new brain cells in the hippocampus.
This is the area in your brain that is responsible for your memory.
Enhanced Levels of Creativity
Suffering a mental block? Take your road bike and go on a few laps around your hood.
This is an age-old tip that works for all kinds of artists. Working out and getting fresh air at the same time sharpens your creativity as well as your problem-solving abilities.
Cycling refocuses your mind’s energy and brings it to a positive place. In return, it can help boost your overall levels of productivity.
Improved Sex Life
Have you ever noticed that cyclists are so comfortable in their own skin?
They have zero chills occasionally showing off their double-oh-AND-seven.
After all, high-intensity biking sessions get your muscles toned in all the right areas.
Well, we all know that having a well-toned body is a key recipe for a great sex life thanks to enhanced self-confidence.
Then again, working out generally increases the sexual drive in men and enhances the sexual responsiveness of women.
Additionally, the muscles engaged when biking is not different from those worked on during intercourse. Developing these muscles calculates into more athletic and longer intercourse.
Related Guide: Touring Bike vs Road Bike Comparison
3 Best Cycling Workouts
Cycling at a comfortable pace can naturally enhance your overall fitness levels. However, if you want to spend less time on your bike and still lose weight, get in shape, and enhance your overall well-being, try out these endurance cycling workouts.
I love power pyramid interval cycling because it is a form of workout that really pushes your functional threshold.
The sessions involve longer cycling intervals with shorter rest periods. In fact, the rest periods should get shorter as your functional threshold improves.
With power pyramids, the idea is to get your heart rate up and then stress your system back down within the shortest time possible.
You want to condition your cardiovascular system to take full advantage of the last few miles of a race.
This form of training is not as simple as it may sound. If you are not in excellent physical shape, then the sessions may hurt — a lot.
When getting started, try 2, 14-minute sets. As your endurance grows, throw in a third set then start having shorter breaks of 30, 25, 20 then 15 seconds.
Here is a breakdown of the power pyramid workouts:
Cycle for about 10 minutes at a moderate speed to warm up
Take three long effort rides for 1 minute with half a minute breaks in between.
The idea is to slowly increase your heart rate and prepare your cardiovascular system for harder workouts.
Increase the cycling time to two minutes but maintain a 30 seconds break in between the sessions. All through, you will be taking three long effort rides.
Add an extra 30 seconds to your cycling time. Again, only take 30-second breaks in between.
Ride for three minutes and take a 30-second break in between your sessions.
Reverse the order of the three long effort rides. Start with 3-minute rides and 30-second breaks and end with the 1-minute rides.
Once the cycle is complete, take a 5-minute rest and perhaps dehydrate. Count that as one full cycle.
Start again with 1-minute rides and 30-second breaks.
Cooldown by taking easy spins for about 10 minutes.
Maximum Aerobic Intervals
Do you desire to skip the hassle of riding for hours on end and still get to build a strong aerobic base? The maximum aerobic intervals are all you need.
To build greater aerobic adaptation, you must exhaust your maximal aerobic ability with 30-second big training load efforts at the end of each cycling session.
Ride at a moderate pace for 10-25 minutes to warm up
If your maximum threshold is at 10, ride at a threshold of 8 for 12 minutes. Do 4 intervals and take a 6-minute recovery period after each interval.
During the break, make easy spins and dehydrate.
An endurance cycling pace is when you can talk without dawdling. If your threshold is a 10, then the endurance cycling pace is at about 6.
Now, ride at an endurance pace for a whole half an hour and be sure to maintain high cadence at around 95 RPM.
Do 8 intervals and go as hard as you can (maximum threshold) for 30 seconds.
After each interval, take a 30 seconds break to recover. It is normal for energy levels to drop as you begin each interval, but it is crucial to maintain your full effort all through.
Depending on your physical fitness levels, you can increase or reduce the length of the intervals, starting with step 2.
Take easy spins for 10-15 minutes to cool down.
Diesel Engine Cycling Workouts
Diesel engines are the most reliable, and they can go all day long. In this respect, the diesel engine cycling workouts are designed to enhance your general conditioning.
Spend 20-30 minutes doing warm-ups by cycling at an easy pace. After this, take 3-minutes riding at light tempo to increase your heart rate.
If your maximum threshold is 10, your lactate threshold power is at 8 or 8.5. So, at about 7 (slightly lower than your lactate threshold power) do 3, 20-minute blocks.
After each block, take 10 seconds to recover and hydrate. Be sure to keep your legs moving.
Spend about 10 minutes to cool down by taking easy cycling spins.
Benefits to Know
Not so many sports are half as beneficial to your health as road biking. Cycling can offer physical and mental health benefits, and also give you an enjoyable means of exploring the outdoors.
Whether you are comfortable cycling for hours or you intend to try out any of the 3 road bike exercises for health, keep your rides safe by using the right safety equipment.