10 Health Benefits of Cycling Slowly
There are lots of benefits of cycling as we all know and the health benefits of exercise are undeniable. However, there’s a fixation nowadays with exercise being all about getting fit or losing weight and that’s not always the best way to look at it. When we think like that it’s easy to assume the faster, harder and more you do it the better the results. When in actual fact, you can get healthier without pushing your limits every time you exercise and let’s be honest it can be really tedious sometimes. We’ve compiled 10 benefits of cycling slower and taking it easy on the bike.
Keeping your heart rate low
Cycling slowly gets your blood flowing without a massive amount of effort, this is really good for those with diabetes or heart issues. It’s easy to track your heart rate on a fancy indoor stationary bike or apple watch/Fitbit but if you don’t have any of this stuff it can be pretty difficult to keep a track on your heart rate whilst you’re riding. In this instance, think about how much you are exerting yourself on the bike. If you rate your exertion levels from 1 to 10, keep yourself below 5 on this scale (this will look different for everybody). It’s worth checking in with yourself every so often to make sure you’re staying at a consistent level.
Develop your cardiovascular ability
As you will know already, doing any kind of exercise at any intensity level will improve your cardiovascular and muscular endurance levels if you’re consistent with it. It’s much easier to stay consistent with riding at a lower exertion rate.
Save your knees
Cycling is a great way to take pressure off your joints, specifically your knees, whilst getting your heart rate up.
Pedal for recovery
Pedaling faster with low resistance is great for recovery. If you’ve been tackling some hilly terrain recently, this is a great way to loosening up the muscles a little.
Riding at a slower pace means you can quite easily have a chat with a friend whilst you ride. We all need social interaction and it’s a great way to decompress from the everyday stressors.
Control your blood sugar levels
Cycling at any speed makes your skeletal muscle (one of three significant muscle tissues in the human body) more insulin sensitive which means you’re more equipped to control your blood sugar levels. Vital in preventing diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Increase fat burning
The intensity in which we exercise has a big impact on where we pull our energy from e.g. Our fat or carbohydrate stores. Often fat burning is lower when at higher intensities (this is a very individual process and a simplified explanation that would otherwise include other factors such as diet and lifestyle). Ultimately this means that you can essentially utilise your fat storage as a fuel source when riding at a lower intensity.
Develop your balance
Cycling slower can improve your special awareness and balance. Improving your balance promotes joint stability which can prevent injury, as well as improved muscle group coordination which naturally improves your agility, reaction time and overall athletic performance. It’s also been proven to have cognitive benefits in terms of memory and focus.
Prevent a plateau
If your goal is to lose weight then consider mixing up your training a bit. Cycling at a higher level of intensity and exertion a lot can cause your body to become used to this way of exercising which can cause a plateau in weight loss and even motivation levels. Mixing your training style and exercise up a bit can help prevent a plateau.
Give yourself a break
You’re allowed to chill out, not everything you do has to be done at 1000% miles an hour. If you lead a healthily active lifestyle, resting is productive.