Some folks think of biking as something fun for the kids to do. But there’s way more to this simple machine than just some way to keep the kids active. In fact, there are tons of studies that show the amazing benefits for the cyclist are plentiful, whether child or adult.

These benefits cover everything from stress reduction, improving the environment, avoiding traffic, getting healthier, and even boosting your mood.

20 health and environmental benefits of cycling

1. E-Biking & Biking Causes Zero Emissions

Despite being a powered transportation option, e-bikes are way different from the average vehicle. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other machines with engines run on gasoline, ethanol, or diesel and create nasty carbon emissions. But e-bikes don’t.

On average, a typical passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. E-bikes don’t emit anything at all.

2. You Save Money by Biking Everywhere

There are several ways that you save money if you rely upon a bicycle or e-bike for your commute and general transport. First, of course, buying a bike is way less expensive than buying a car. Hands down, no questions. 

But the long-term savings are crazy, as well. Cars require insurance and gasoline, along with expensive maintenance – like oil changes – and repairs, while bikes require only limited maintenance – new inner tubes, chain oil, et cetera – and much less expensive repairs.

According to AAA, owning a car costs you about $8,600 per year, whereas owning a bike is about $300 annually.

3. Biking Will Help You Fight Illness

If you’ve noticed yourself getting ill more often, you should take a look at your activity levels. Why? Because moderate exercise levels improve your overall immunity by making your immune system cells more active. This then enables them to fight off infections and illnesses much more easily.

According to research from the University of North Carolina, folks who bike for 30 minutes daily, five days a week, are sick only about half the number of days that less active people are.

4. Getting on a Bike Can Increase Your Brain Power for Folks Over 30

If you need to boost your thinking process and improve your overall brain power, cycling can help with that, too. Researchers at the University of Illinois discovered that cycling – even 5% more active than current levels – could improve mental health by 15%.

The reason? Cycling helps build up new brain cells in the hippocampus region where memory is formed. This region of the brain starts to deteriorate after age 30. Increasing your activity levels after hitting 30 will help boost thought and even may help ward off Alzheimer’s, according to Professor Arthur Kramer.

5. Lifestyle Exercise Improves Your Mood Overall

When the new year hits, the photos are seen after a friend’s wedding – and the dress doesn’t look as good as you thought – or you generally notice your clothes don’t fit quite as well, it’s easy to think of “diet and exercise” as the quick solution to improving your health.

But a meta-analysis of health studies has shown that lifestyle exercise, like biking to work and daily rides with the kids, also improves your overall mood and mental health. Those with normal, casual activity levels reported feeling better mood-wise and well-being than those who did not engage in such activities on the regular.

6. Physical Activity Can Help Improve Your Teenager’s Self-Esteem

While having improved self-esteem is an issue most of us non-narcissistic types need help with, teens and pre-teens especially tend to struggle with feeling good about themselves.

And studies have shown that regular physical activity can help boost self-esteem overall. Biking to and from school, work, and other social activities will improve the personal sense of self. And the feeling lasts past just the workout. In fact, an active lifestyle overall improves your view of self for a lifetime.

7. There’s No Gym Necessary When You Own a Bike

You can save some money and effort by biking to work, church, school, or anywhere else you usually commute to. Because, well, your bike is your gym. Plus, no one will be giving you that dirty look if you decide to pedal with your butt in the saddle.

And if you’re commuting, you’ll still have that motivation to exercise and push yourself each day because, well, you still have to go to work most days of the week. That’s a way better motivator for many than some weirdo in tight shorts shouting and being forced to listen to terrible music.

8. Biking to Work Lets You Whiz Past Traffic

For folks who live in the countryside, this isn’t too big of a deal. But for folks who live in urban and suburban areas where traffic jams take up hours of your day and scrape off years of your life due to stress and anger, this is a major benefit of biking to work.

Plus, there’s nothing quite like whizzing past the smug jerk who earlier tried to run you off the road. Beating him to work is even better.

9. Cycling is Inversely Associated with Obesity

Studies and specialists from around the world have shown that physical activity, and specifically cycling, is inversely associated with obesity. That means when you are getting that full-body aerobic workout on the bike – especially if you commute most days – you’re getting a fantastic workout that burns tons of calories and helps you lose weight

10. Commute Cycling Can Work as an Anti-Depressant

Some long-term studies have shown us that high levels of physical activity have led to a significant decrease in the risk of developing clinical depression in the later years of life. Socio-economic levels, health habits, and social support don’t impact this change across the board.

Other studies on the same subject have also found that young adults, teenagers, and others who suffer from depression will have decreased symptoms of depression if they up their physical activity levels. This psychotherapeutic use of cycling helps treat the disorder – clinical depression – without adverse side-effects, unlike medications and other common treatments so frequently prescribed.

11. Biking Can Help Improve Your Digestive Health

You’ve probably heard of runners having “easy movement” while out for distance runs. Well, guess what? Cycling can help bicyclists also improve their digestive movements, as well. More intense physical activity, whether running or cycling, helps decrease the time it takes for food to move through the system.

Aerobic exercise also increases the amount of water that’s absorbed back into your body – causing softer stools, which are easier to pass.

Along with this, the exertion of physical activity accelerates your breathing and heart rate which also helps your intestinal muscles contract more rhythmically and fluidly. This helps prevent bloating and helps fight and prevent bowel cancer, according to Harley Street gastroenterologist Dr. Ana Raimundo.

12. Cycling Commuters Statistically Live Longer

You might be surprised to learn that cycling – specifically commute cycling – helps people live longer. Studies have shown that cycling reduces the risk of death by any cause by about 41%, death by cancer by 40%, and death from cardiovascular conditions by a whopping 52%. You probably shouldn’t require anything more than that to get back on your bike.

13. Cycling Does Wonders for the Health of Pregnant Women and Unborn Children

If you’re pregnant or expecting to be pregnant, now is the time to get into distance cycling. Regular low-impact, non-loadbearing exercise is exceptionally good for mothers-to-be both before and during pregnancy.

Cycling helps pregnant women have an easier delivery with less likelihood of complications in childbirth, provides faster recovery, and generally boosts the mood during pregnancy and post-childbirth.

And, according to Patrick O’Brien, spokesperson of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, your new baby also has a 50% lower chance of becoming obese in the years to come and generally has better in-utero neurodevelopment. 

14. Biking Helps to Ward Off Cancer

As mentioned above, biking helps you live longer. One of those ways is specifically in helping your body ward off cancer of many types.

Exercise, in general, has been proven to do this but cycling specifically is good for keeping your cells in healthy, working order, which fights off those unhealthy cells. One long-term study by Finnish researchers even showed that men who exercise moderately – 30 minutes a day – are half as likely to develop cancer as their counterparts who don’t exercise.

Women who cycle consistently are 34% less likely to develop breast cancer.

15. Cycling Can Help Boost Creativity Levels

Writers, musicians, artists, developers, and others who need creative, critical thinking skills engaged for their work hours would benefit greatly from getting a minimum of 25 minutes of exercise in each day, especially low-impact aerobic exercise, like biking.

The reason? Studies have shown that this minimum amount will help boost at least one measure of creative thinking. “How?” you ask? Well, it’s because during low-impact exercise like cycling, the flow of oxygen to your brain is increased, which sparks the neurons.

It also kicks in low levels of endorphins and gives you breathing space away from the pressures of life, which both also free and encourage your mind to engage with creative problem solving and creation.

16. Regular Exercise Helps Your Body and Brain Purge Stress and Anxiety

Everyone has some anxiety at some point in their life. Everyone also deals with stress and emotional imbalances due to, well, life. But regular exercise – especially exercise that is easy to maintain and doesn’t cause joint damage, like cycling – can help reduce these levels of stress and anxiety for regular sufferers of the conditions, as well as those only occasionally hit with them.

Several studies have conducted on this and found that aerobic exercise on the regular reduces these two problems that all adults face, and specifically helps to reduce the generalized anxiety that affects those prone to anxiety and panic attacks.

High-intensity cycling is more impactful, of course, but low-intensity also reduces anxiety, and may well work as a “quick fix” to help you get rebalanced if you sense anxiety or panic kicking in.

17. Exercising Outdoors is Better for Your Overall Mental Health

Ever noticed how taking a long stroll outdoors, whether you’re in the city, the suburbs, or along a river, helps calm you down, clear your mind, and boost your mood overall? Well, there’s a reason for that, too.

Studies have shown that physical activities outdoors are associated with a greater sense of revitalization, reduction of tension and confusion, anger and depression, increased energy, and increased positive engagement with others and self.

So, while cycling indoors is great for your body, taking it outdoors – especially commuting several times a week – kicks it up to almost magical for your overall mental health.

18. Commuting By Bike Enhances Cardiovascular Health for Middle-Aged Adults and Seniors

Bicycling is one of the easier cardio exercises to pick up later in life. It’s much easier on the joints than running and doesn’t require a gym membership like doing the elliptical or stair climber does. So if you’re in the need of increasing your cardio levels, biking is the perfect way to do this.

But the best part is that studies have shown that commute cycling not only enhances the cardio health itself, but it helps control cholesterol levels and prevents elevated blood pressure levels – even if you pick up cycling after 43 years of age.

19. Regular Distance Cycling Can Improve Your Sleep and Help Fight Insomnia

Cycling more improves your overall health, but it also boosts the quality and length of your sleep. So, if you find yourself struggling with insomnia – whether it’s difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night – try getting on the bike more often.

The more you ride, the better chances you have of sleeping more deeply at night. Exercise can help calm anxiety, which is one of the key causes of insomnia. It can also physically wear out your body in small increments in a good way, which can help with the physical things that keep you awake at night as well.

20. E-Biking Is Specifically Better for Long-Distance Commuting

If you happen to live a fair distance from work – more than 10 miles one way – you’d not only receive all the other benefits from biking as mentioned above with any bike but with an e-bike, you can go much further and quicker. So, avoid traffic, skip the search for a parking spot, get some exercise, and get there faster with an e-bike than a standard one. Win-win-win-win.

Cycling, Whether E-Bike or Standard, Improves Your Life

There are so many benefits of biking, e-biking, and exercise in general. We’ve given you a snapshot of 20 of the most obvious and highest “paying” benefits. You honestly just need to get on a bike and get that commuter’s strength built up and soon you’ll realize they’re true, even if you can’t immediately see them.

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