Have you spent all week dreading going to the gym? Or maybe you've been out of practice since school PE lessons. Or perhaps you're just looking for another exercise you add to your workout arsenal.
Well, spending 15 minutes per day riding a bike could be a game-changer.
It's no secret that regular exercise is good for you. Doesn't 15 minutes seems much more manageable than most exercise regimes though? It often takes that long to drive to the gym, never mind to exercise and return home!
We're here to help motivate your next bike ride. Here are 15 of the advantages that a short cycling session each day can have on your mind and body.
1. You can do it every day!
When you begin an exercise regime, most types of exercise recommend taking rest days. This advice intends to give your body time to recover, an essential part of getting fit.
Yet, if you are only cycling for 15 minutes daily, you are unlikely to get injured. This is because cycling is low-impact, so the workout is non-traumatic on your joints.
If you spend your 15 minutes all-out cycling up giant hills, take rest days. We're not saying you shouldn't cycle at a high intensity a couple of days a week. Just remember to give your body time to recover on gentler rides in between.
Cycling every day has the added benefit of making it easy to do without thinking. It's like brushing your teeth! If you expect a part of your routine, it doesn't feel like an effort, but part of life, making it unchallenging to get fit.
2. Living a longer life.
Experts have confirmed that people should achieve at least 15 minutes of moderate exercise per day. There are many reasons for this, but the one we find most convincing is that it can add years to your life.
To be precise, three years, according to The Lancet Journal's study, attributing exercise to a 14% lower risk of all-cause mortality. Dr Hupin found similar results - attributing a 22% reduction in risk of death to older adults.
The direct impact of regular cycling on life expectancy justifies a commitment of 15 minutes each day. What are 15 minutes in comparison to 3 years anyway?
3. It improves your memory.
Huh? We're not promising a photographic memory, but cycling for 15-minutes can benefit your brain.
The University of Geneva had subjects take part in a memory test before and after 15 minutes of cycling. They found that the brain was more activated after physical activity, performing better in the memory tests.
Cycling has also been connected to increased integrity of the white matter in your brain, the effects of ADHD, and slowing down Parkinson's disease. Each of these studies attributes the benefits for the brain to daily cycling.
There is a correlation between a healthy mind and bike riding. And who knows, maybe next time you play Snap, you'll notice an improvement?
Your improvement in self-esteem after riding a bike daily doesn't only stem from being comfortable wearing lycra. Bike riding releases adrenalin, serotonin, and endorphins - a recipe for positivity.
The enhancement in mood can impact your daily life, improving interactions with loved ones and strangers alike.
Increasing confidence can also come from the physical impact you see. 15 minutes daily doesn't seem a lot, but consistency over time creates visible results as your fitness rises.
The toning and muscle building involved in aerobic exercise helps cyclists feel strong. This newfound strength can help improve your quality of life.
5. You can get similar health benefits to long-form exercise.
Committing to a 45 minute bike ride is a lot. Luckily, research shows you can reap the same rewards from a 10-minute cycle. That is, as long as you spend one of those minutes 'all out' cycling.
In the study, adult men who went on a long cycle improved their cardiovascular endurance in 12 weeks similarly to those who went on the 10-minute ride.
This is good news for those with busy schedules! Carving out 15 minutes is a no-brainer when your cardiovascular health can benefit. It only takes consistency and one minute of high intensity.
6. It reduces stress.
Much of the stress you feel can relate to a hormone imbalance. Your cortisol-melatonin levels are often the cause of this imbalance.
Cortisol puts you on high alert, whereas melatonin helps control your sleep cycle. If your stress levels increase for a significant time you can develop chronically elevated cortisol levels. This can affect your quality of life.
Cycling impacts your cortisol levels. Cycling before sleep can negatively impact sleep quality. But, if you cycle in the morning or during the day, it can help regulate your cortisol.
Timing can be the difference between a peaceful or restless night. And a good nights sleep can ease much stress, and boost your mental health.
7. A better nights sleep.
On the subject of sleep, cortisol levels also impact how well-rested you are. The more stressed you are, the more the cortisol level in your adrenal gland increase, and the harder it is to sleep.
Cycling can help you to regulate your circadian rhythm. This is the cycle that repeats every 24 hours as you wake and sleep. The main advice to improve your circadian cycle is to wake up at the same time daily. Yet, another tip is to cycle in the morning, promoting an increase in cortisol at that time.
You can trick your circadian rhythm into a regular pattern, helping produce melatonin at night so that you can rest well.
8. No Greenhouse Gas guilt.
If you choose to use your 15 minutes to run an errand, commute or visit a friend, you can do so with an easy conscience.
Trips that you take by car can often adapt to cycling. Not only is this a more fun way to get around while exercising, but it's also cheaper.
You and the planet experience the benefits of cycling. For every 7 km travelled on a bike, a 1 kg emission of CO2 is saved compared to the same trip by car. That's staggering!
Take the opportunity to reduce pollution levels while fitting in your daily exercise.
9. It doubles as a (modern?) mode of transport.
As well as being the environmental option for travel, it is also the most modern way of getting around a city. Yes, you heard us right. Yes, we know the bike was invented in 1817. Hear us out.
The 15 minute city is a concept that has gained popularity in recent years. It suggests that everything you need access to should be within a 15 minute walk or cycle radius of your home.
While this has yet to become a reality for most, it is an aspirational idea. This lifestyle encourages reduced driving, air and noise pollution in your area. You can understand why it has become so popular!
Perhaps use your 15 minutes to go to the shops, using your basket or pannier to carry your groceries. That way, you can pretend you're in the Lazzaretto neighbourhood of Milan, where the 15 minute city exists in practice.
10. It prevents cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease covers a range of illnesses. This includes coronary heart disease, strokes, peripheral arterial disease, and aortic disease. Many factors cause them; but, one controllable reason for the illnesses is inactivity.
Cycling can reduce your chances of cardiovascular disease. This is because exercise improves your heart health, blood pressure, and cholesterol. As your fitness increases your heart rate will reduce, a sign of a healthy heart.
People who spend 150 minutes per week exercising have a 14% reduced risk of coronary heart disease than those who do not. A short leisure bike ride each day could help you redefine your life in a healthier way.
11. To spend time with your loved ones (or not...)
It is easy to let our days fill up without spending time with those we care about with so many distractions. That's why it's essential for your mental well-being to block out time when you can see your friends and family.
A bike ride is a perfect activity for catching up on your lives, whether on the bikes or at the final destination. Scheduling a bike ride can help you stay in touch and motivated as you hold each other accountable.
Equally, it's essential to take time for yourself. Some time alone can be just what you need, and having those minutes with your thoughts each day can help you unwind.
Either way, cycling can benefit your mental health. Whether that is through meaningful social interaction or some necessary time alone.
12. To improve your immune system.
Sadly, your immune system doesn't keep up with you as you age.
Remember the never-ending conveyor belt of colds developed and overcome as a child? Knowing that makes it hard to accept that from your age 20, your immune system declines at a rate of 2-3% each year.
Once matured, your immune system is only functioning at 15% of its maximum capacity.
Fear not! Adults who spend time cycling have significantly more recent thymic activity than inactive ones. Thymic activity refers to the making of T-cells, which attack dangerous antigens. These are what diminish as you age and your immune system fails.
The study concludes that inactivity with age, and not age alone, prompted the immune system to become less effective. So, if you commit to cycling you may be better equipped to deal with a cold.
On top of this, cycling helps your immune system by clearing bacteria out of your airways, raising your body temperature to stop pathogens from duplicating, and strengthening your antibodies.
So, taking time out of each day to cycle can limit how much of the winter you spend bunged up - worth the effort if you ask us.
13. Helping with weight loss.
Exercise combined with a balanced diet is the easiest way to combat weight gain. Achieving a body weight you are happy with can be integral to your confidence. And, cycling is an ideal form of exercise to make it happen.
By cycling consistently, you can reduce your body fat levels. Not only that, exercising will increase your metabolism, which can mean you lose weight even when resting.
Of course, you must not get fixated on weight loss itself. Cycling builds muscle. This may prevent you from achieving weight loss goals but will make your body stronger and more resilient.
14. To treat diabetes.
Physical exercise is an established part of diabetes therapy. It encourages muscles to consume glucose, helping to keep blood sugar at a standard level.
Riding a bike activates 70% of your muscle mass, allowing for glucose to be consumed. As a non-traumatic form of exercise, cycling can be repeated frequently without causing damage. This makes it the perfect exercise for the condition.
One study found that the benefits weren't only for people who were already diagnosed with diabetes. It also helped others from developing diabetes.
Equally impressive is that even the cyclists who did not cycle before the study has a reduced risk of diabetes.
This proves it's never too late to start cycling and still benefit!
15. It's relatively easy (and fun!)
As they say, once you learn to ride a bike, you never forget. And, if you never did learn, it's not too late!
There are supportive groups that would welcome a newcomer. Or you can get official adult lessons to build your confidence. Or go out with a friend. We're sure you'll get the hang of it.
Cycling is a therapeutic and exciting way of getting some exercise. It prompts a release of endorphins, elevating your mood during and after the cycle.
We hope you're now as excited as us about the potential cycling has to improve your well-being!
Feeling inspired? Check out our range of adults bikes today.