Cycling is a versatile and low-impact cardiovascular exercise that is suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. It is a safe form of exercise that causes fewer injuries than many other physical activities. Plus, with a stationary bike at home, you can easily access this type of training at any time, without having to worry about traffic or weather conditions. Scientific research has demonstrated that cycling provides numerous health benefits, including not only strengthening your muscles but also reducing the risk of several serious illnesses and improving your mental well-being.
1. Improves cardiovascular health
Cardiovascular diseases—including stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack—are leading causes of death worldwide. However, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing these conditions by stimulating your heart and lungs and improving blood circulation through regular exercise.
Cycling is a low-impact cardio exercise that has been proven to achieve impressive results in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. For example, a 2017 study conducted by the University of Glasgow with over 250,000 participants across the UK found that commuting to work by bicycle reduced the risk of heart disease by 46%, compared to non-active commuting. In contrast, walking reduced the risk by only 27%.
Cycling achieves such impressive results by strengthening your heart muscles, lowering resting pulse, and reducing blood fat levels.
2. Strengthens lungs
The cardiovascular system is responsible for pumping blood from the heart to the lungs, and cycling can significantly enhance its function. This activity challenges your respiratory muscles, leading to improved lung strength and better blood oxygenation. In fact, research shows that cycling as an adult can result in using up to 10 times more oxygen than sitting in front of the TV for the same period of time.
A key indicator of your lung performance and cardiorespiratory fitness level is your VO2max, which represents the maximum amount of oxygen your body can burn while working out. Studies conducted on CAROL Bike have demonstrated that VO2max can increase by up to 12% in just 8 weeks of training. This increase can reduce the risk of mortality and morbidity by more than 15%, and can also improve your endurance during future workouts.
3. Decreases weight
Aerobic exercise, such as cycling, is an effective way to lose weight. Moderate cycling can burn around 300 calories per hour and is a great method for reducing thigh and belly fat. But by increasing intensity, you can turn your workout into a more efficient fat-burning session.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to challenge your body and burn fat. A study showed that young women who performed HIIT 3x a week for 15 weeks experienced significant reductions in total body fat, subcutaneous leg and trunk fat, and insulin resistance, compared to those who did regular exercise at the same frequency.
CAROL Bike offers a unique Fat Burn program based on HIIT, which maximizes calorie burn.
Compared to traditional moderate-intensity exercise, HIIT also causes a significantly greater increase in post-exercise metabolism. A recent study found that up to 66% of the calorie burn took place after the end of the workout and that 15-minutes of CAROL’s Fat Burn workout burned as many calories as a 30-minute run.
CAROL Bike offers a unique Fat Burn program based on a Reduced Exertion HIIT (REHIT) training protocol, which maximizes exercise benefits in the shortest time possible.
4. Normalizes blood sugar level
Regular indoor cycling has been found to significantly lower the risk of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes. A large-scale study conducted in Finland found that people who cycled for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40% lower risk of developing the disease.
Cycling is an effective way to combat the key factors that contribute to the development of diabetes. It helps to lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and the number of fat cells in the bloodstream, while increasing levels of HDL (good cholesterol).
Introducing HIIT into your cycling routine can further amplify these benefits. In an 8-week study conducted on CAROL Bike, participants who performed REHIT workouts experienced a 62% reduction in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is comparable to the effects of taking the medication Metformin. This demonstrates that cycling can be a viable alternative to traditional medical treatments for preventing diabetes.
5. Improves joint mobility
Regular cycling can be a highly effective habit to prevent and alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. The low-impact nature of cycling means that it is gentle on the joints, helping to lubricate them more evenly and lessening pain and stiffness, particularly in the hips, knees, and ankles. Additionally, cycling is a great way to strengthen the leg muscles, which can provide extra support and protection for the joints.
Research published in the Journal of Rheumatology has shown that regular cycling can significantly reduce joint pain and stiffness, while also improving muscle strength in middle-aged and older adults with osteoarthritis. By incorporating cycling into your routine, you may be able to manage the symptoms of arthritis more effectively and improve your overall joint health.
6. Improves balance and gait
Maintaining balance is essential to staying upright and mobile, especially as we age. Our hip stabilizers and core muscles play a crucial role in keeping our bodies upright during daily activities like walking, cycling, or running. Unfortunately, our natural sense of balance tends to decline with age, increasing the risk of falls and injuries in older adults. That’s why it’s important to train and maintain our balance skills throughout our lives.
Cycling is an effective and low-impact way to improve balance at any fitness level. As you stabilize your body on the bike, you not only train your overall coordination but also strengthen your back muscles, improving your posture and gait.
Research has shown that incorporating cycling into rehabilitation plans for chronic stroke patients and elderly women’s training programs can lead to significant improvements in balance and gait abilities compared to standard rehabilitation plans or treadmill exercises.
7. Improves longevity
Cycling is a great way to extend your life expectancy by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and all types of cancer, while also offering many other health benefits. According to a 2017 study conducted by the University of Glasgow, the risk of premature death among cyclists can be reduced by up to 41%.
In addition, a collaborative study by researchers at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London found that cycling can help to slow down the aging process of the immune system. As people age, their immune organ thymus starts to shrink, leading to fewer immune T-cells. However, the study found that the cyclists’ thymuses were producing as many T-cells as those of younger individuals, indicating that their immune systems were better able to fight off diseases and infections.
To maximize the longevity benefits of cycling, consider longer lower-intensity workouts performed at Zone 2 on CAROL Bike. Engaging in this type of training for 60–90 minutes several times per week can help to turn back the clock on your body’s key health indicators, promoting a longer and healthier life.
Cycling reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and all types of cancer, while also offering many other health benefits.
Engaging in Zone 2 training several times per week can help to turn back the clock on your body's key health indicators, promoting a longer and healthier life.
8. Saves time on training
To optimize your training and achieve the health benefits of cycling in a shorter amount of time, CAROL Bike offers Reduced Exertion HIIT (REHIT), a specialized training protocol that was developed and tested by scientists. With just 5 minutes of intense 2×20-second sprints alternated with recovery time, REHIT helps your body enter fight or flight mode and work at its full capacity. This packs in all the health and fitness benefits of regular exercise in a fraction of the time.
By using this unique training protocol, you can increase your aerobic capacity, burn more calories, and strengthen your heart in just 10% of the time of a regular exercise routine.
9. Fights stress
Cycling also provides a sense of accomplishment and a break from daily stressors, which can improve mental well-being.
Physical activities promote the release of endorphins in your body, which helps you feel better, happier, and less chronic pain. In 2008 neurologists from the University of Bonn examined the endorphin level in the brains of 10 volunteers before and after a two-hour running session with the help of positive emission tomography (PET). They found an increased release of endorphins in certain areas of the athletes’ brains involved in emotional processing and stress.
Breath regulation is a well-known technique to cope with stress. When you are under stress, your breathing becomes shallow and your brain suffers from the lack of oxygen. Cycling improves blood circulation so that more oxygenated blood reaches the brain, regenerates receptors, improves brain activity, and can even help to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Enhances sleep quality
Sleep is an essential part of our well-being, and lack of sleep can significantly impact our health. Sleep deprivation can disrupt the production of the stress hormone cortisol, lower productivity, and increase the risk of developing certain medical conditions. Fortunately, regular cycling can help improve the quality of your sleep, which can have a positive impact on your mental health.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, any moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow wave sleep you get each night—a deep sleep phase during which your body and brain are rejuvenated. Exercise also stabilizes your mood, soothes anxiety, and causes natural physical fatigue that facilitates the transition into sleep compared to a sedentary lifestyle.
An umbrella review of the correlation between physical activity and sleep on all studies published between 2006 and 2020 showed strong evidence that both acute and regular training sessions improved sleep outcomes among adults. High-intensity evening exercise does not disrupt the nighttime sleep of healthy adults if done no later than 2 hours before bedtime.
This means that you can schedule your CAROL Bike’s REHIT session at the end of your workday to get a higher-quality rest. Alternatively, you can try the easier Intermediate or Energizer versions of REHIT. These are less strenuous while still delivering around 40-70% of the fitness benefits of the REHIT Intense workout, in just 5 minutes.
In a review of 15 studies on the effects of high-intensity exercise before bedtime, cycling was found to be the most beneficial activity for improving sleep.
11. Facilitates pregnancy and birth
Moderate physical activity during pregnancy is associated with numerous benefits, including improved fitness, fewer pregnancy ailments, and a positive influence on the course of pregnancy and delivery.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), indoor cycling is one of the safest types of exercise for pregnant women. It is a low-impact, non-weight-bearing option with a low injury rate that can boost the mother’s mood and improve blood circulation for the baby. Compared to outdoor cycling, stationary cycling eliminates the risks of falling off the bike, encountering traffic, and inhaling polluted air.
However, pregnant women should take certain precautions to avoid the negative effects of cycling. It is important to stay hydrated, choose a mild workout pace, and avoid overheating, as this can compromise blood circulation. Additionally, pregnant women should consult their doctors before starting any exercise program to ensure that it is safe for both them and their babies.
12. Lowers the risk of cancer
Cycling is a low-impact activity that can be incorporated into cancer treatment plans to help manage the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Studies have shown that cancer patients who engage in physical activity, including cycling, experience less fatigue, nausea, and pain during treatment, as well as improved mood and quality of life. In addition, regular cycling can help cancer patients rebuild their strength and endurance following treatment. Cancer survivors who engage in regular physical activity have been found to have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality.
It’s important for cancer patients to consult with their healthcare provider before starting an exercise program and to gradually increase the intensity and duration of their cycling workouts as their fitness level improves.
There is also research on the relationship between cycling and cancer prevention, particularly breast, colon, and bowel cancer. The study of the University of Glasgow cited above related cycling with a 45% lower risk of developing cancer. In addition, a review of 16 cycling-specific studies linked commuter cycling with reduced all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, and cancer morbidity among middle-aged to elderly subjects.
It is also important to keep in mind that certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer, are associated with obesity. Regular bike-riding reduces the risk of developing these cancers by keeping you fit and
normalizing your body weight.
Cycling provides a wide range of health benefits, including improved mental health, stronger heart and lungs, and reduced risk of cancer. Depending on your fitness level and health goals, you can opt for shorter, high-intensity cycling sprints or do slower, longer workouts. Cycling regularly is a proven way to live a longer, healthier life.