Bicycling and Other Endurance Sports Can Help Us With Our Physical, Mental, and Emotional Fitness
Riding a bicycle keeps me sane.
No, really. Ask my wife.
If I go more than a few days without pedaling a bicycle, I get a “little irritable.”
She’s being kind.
Cycling has always had a huge mental, physical, and emotional benefit for me.
And riding a bike helps keep my middle-aged belly fat at bay.
Cycling Can Help Your Weight Loss Goals
Cycling has helped many people lose a lot of weight – and keep it off.
…it’s my mission to inspire other moms that were in the same position as I was. When I started out, I recall looking to other moms who overcame similar obstacles to make a lifestyle change, and now I really enjoy seeing other moms do what I did. And I love when I can inspire other moms to get started cycling. I know that if I could do it, they can, too.Sheryl Jerzak
Cycling Can Help Your Weight Loss Goals Through Consistency
To improve your fitness, and keep your brain healthy, the key workout is any workout that you will do.
That means you don’t have to get on a bike (although the more people on bikes, the better!).
Nor do you have to run or lift weights.
Unless, of course, you want to. And that’s the key.
The right exercise is the one that you’ll do consistently.
If you can only get yourself to walk every day, then do it. Get yourself a dog or borrow one!
Riding a bike, running, lifting weights may be more beneficial for weight loss and fitness simple because those activities burn more calories due to increased intensity.
But if you’re not going to get on a bike, it doesn’t matter!
Cycling Also Helps Your Brain
Moreover, cycling, as well as other forms of exercise, can help people stave off dementia and other diseases that come from a reduced flow of blood to the brain.
Research has made a strong connection between a high BMI (body mass index) and a decreased blood flow to the brain, which has shown to possibly lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Reducing weight and at the same time being physically active reduces inflammation in your body and keeps your brain healthy.
The good news is that weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance can play a significant role in lowering inflammation, which helps brain healthRunner’s World
Endurance Sports Can Build Resilience
Emotionally and mentally, the pandemic has been tough on all of us.
Our stress levels due to illness, job loss, uncertainty, etc., have skyrocketed. Even if you weren’t dealing with anxiety before the pandemic, you likely are now.
This insightful piece from Pez Cycling News talks about this pandemic gives us the opportunity to take a step back and look at our coping skills.
Sometimes the bike ride is enough.
But other times, it keeps the monsters at bay just temporarily.
What do we do for coping skills?
I know I’ve been consuming more whiskey, and that certainly doesn’t help my fitness!
We can start with our strengths. What are we good at?
Through a series of steps, we can build resilience based on our strengths and use that to deal with current challenges.
… when stress stretches itself out across our work, family, and leisure, and days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, we all need more than a bike ride and a tear-jerking rom-com to cope. We need adaptive thinking and behaviors that can help us to persist. To maintain hope. To access our strengths in the face of long-term adversity.
What we do on the bike or on the trail can translate to our lives.
If you are persistent in pursing your training goals, you can apply that same energy to life off the bike.
Endurance sports give us an opportunity to not only practice our resiliency skills, but to use them to build resilience at home, at work, and anywhere else we feel stressed.
So what do I do when I’m riding a century, and I’ve hit mile 75 and I’m starting to hit a wall?
I get food and water in my system, and take a break.
I can apply the same “fix” to my stress about the pandemic. Eat good food, have a cup of coffee, and step back to take a breath.
Do some yoga. Focus on breathing.
That often helps to target the stress feelings. Especially when I can’t do so much about the causes of the stress!
Keeping Yourself Accountable is Necessary So Cycling Can Help Your Weight Loss Goals
Still, consistency is the key so cycling can help your weight loss goals.
Whether you’re training for an event, trying to lose some weight, be more healthy and fit, reduce your stress, it all comes down to consistency.
You’re not going to learn to improve your breathing just by doing it for a week.
These are habits that need practice and nurturing.
And sometimes, you need to be accountable to someone. Sometimes you need to know that someone is checking on your progress.
That’s what coaches and trainers are for. Even online programs help.
It might be weight loss, keeping or getting fit, or just keeping the monsters at bay.