Guest Post: 10 Benefits Cycling Can Offer Women Posted on November 21, 2017 | by Physique 57 Sophie Elise is a passionate cyclist, author and blogger. She is very passionate about writing on different types of women’s bikes, accessories, health, fitness and more and regularly writes on women’s health blogs. Being fit and maintaining an active lifestyle has been an important aspect of my life since childhood. Growing up, my passion was playing soccer. (It was at a time when the majority of girl’s teams would travel to compete against other teams because the sport’s popularity was still growing and girl’s teams were limited.) Today, I work in a bicycle shop and, thusly, still in an environment that’s mostly dominated by men. As I work, I’m able to speak with other women about the benefits cycling can have on our health. As a female athlete and mechanic, here are my ten reasons why including cycling in your workout can be beneficial: 1 – Good For Your Heart Riding a bike is an excellent way to strengthen your heart. The fact of the matter is that heart disease is the number one killer of women; In 2015, The American Heart Association concluded that “every minute in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). More than one in three women is living with CVD, including nearly half of all African-American women and 34 percent of white women. Although heart disease death rates among men have declined steadily over the last 25 years, rates among women have fallen at a slower rate.” Structured cycling as part of a formal workout routine is known to guard against cardiovascular illness. 2 – Can Protect Against Breast Cancer The National Cancer Institute reports that “many studies show that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women; in a 2013 meta-analysis of 31 prospective studies, the average breast cancer risk reduction associated with physical activity was 12%. Physical activity has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women; however, the evidence for an association is stronger for postmenopausal breast cancer. Women who increase their physical activity after menopause may also have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who do not.” 3 – Gives You Vitamin D Okay so getting Vitamin D into your system is not a direct result of bike riding, but bike riding outside can be! To elaborate on this point, let’s talk about Vitamin D. Healthline.com says that “perhaps the most vital [functions of Vitamin D] are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.” 4 – Low Stress On Your Joints Are you recovering from an injury? Are you timid about getting hurt in the first place? Trusted Natural Health reported that Andy Clarke, the president of the League of American Bicyclists says, “Whether you’re recovering from an injury, looking for a cross-training option or hoping to preserve your knees to run the New York Marathon when you are 85, cycling gets your legs moving and your heart pumping without pounding your joints.” In other words, bicycling offers the best of both worlds: you can exercise your body without, subsequently, punishing it. 5 – Cycling Builds Endurance After traveling to work and back home on her bike for rehearsals and (later) performances of a three hour play in Central Park, Kevin Kline finally asked her why she was getting on a bike after such a long and exhausting day. Meryl Streep replied, “I have to build up my stamina.” Like most other exercises, bicycling has sport specific endurance requirements. The lovely part of this point is you gain endurance without needing to train like an Olympic athlete. Sometimes, moving the bike is enough for you to increase your lung power. Additionally, you can take this machine and be more deliberate in your workout (if a high level of endurance is what you seek); Selene Yeager of bicycling.com writes a great, intentional workout to use if you’re training to increase your endurance: https://www.bicycling.com/training/the-fastest-way-to-build-cycling-endurance 6 – Strengthens Your Muscles As you ride, you will be using nearly all the muscles in your body. The two most obvious muscles are your heart and your thighs. Other muscles include calves, core, shoulders, forearms, neck, and back (not to mention hamstrings). 7 – Can Help You Sleep Better Keeping track of bills, giving your time and energy to your office and your personal life, fixing problems that arise in all of these areas is why there are so many avenues for women to find ways to give themselves a break. The staff at oopsmark.com reports that “Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found that cycling for 20-30 minutes daily helped people with sedentary insomnia fall asleep twice as fast, and increase their sleeping by nearly an hour”. 8 – Can Boost Self-Confidence As children, my friends and I would ride our bicycles miles from home to the local drugstore where we would purchase travel board games and bubble gum. It was our accomplishment. Today, as you ride, you will encounter a few hazards: hills, potholes, pine straw, ice, debris, stray animals, and maybe stray children (I’m being facetious on this last point). But bike riding can be painful. When your thighs are feeling sore, you’ll feel comforted afterward knowing you’ve achieved something difficult. 9 – Great for Your Immunity The physical benefits for women riding bikes are many. One of them is the increase in her body’s ability to stave off germs. Did you know that, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (the body’s immune system cells that fight disease)? Well, during and after exercise, there is a brief rise in body temperature, which may prevent bad bacteria from growing. Riding a bike and getting sweaty will help fight infection more effectively. 10 – Fun Often, those who ride describe the sensation of riding to flying. Bike riding is not just a versatile exercise, it’s fun. Among us, some riders prefer the rugged terrain of mountains to newly paved roads and do so on some of the best women’s mountain bikes money can buy. The Federal Highway Administration conducted a survey in 2009 which showed that women comprised of only 24% of bicycle trips taken in the U.S. that year. Meanwhile, in America, women are doing most of the shopping. Bicycle companies know this and want more women to shop in their stores. The availability of women’s bike products will increase and allow you to have an enjoyable time riding.