This article originally appeared on AndresManuelOlivaresMiranda.net on Jan. 30, 2018.
Bike riding is one of the healthiest exercises a person can do, as it’s a great way to work out multiple muscle groups at once while being fun and even productive. While there are plenty of things bike riding does for you that are widely known, such as improving your lung function and helping to strengthen your legs, there are just as many that are more obscure. Here are five health benefits of biking you might not know about.
1. Improves Joint Function
A 2012 study found evidence that, for elderly people suffering from knee pain and osteoporosis, cycling and other low-impact exercises helped improve knee and joint function. This is in addition to the various other positives of moderate exercise which are especially beneficial for those of advanced age in maintaining good health.
2. Living Longer
Cycling has been shown to increase the longevity of dedicated riders, with one study in particular claiming that, for every hour of bike riding you perform over the course of a lifetime, you will live an average of one hour longer. This is in addition to a study that found former Tour de France riders live an average of eight years longer than normal people, though their overall peak physical condition might contribute to that somewhat.
3. Improves Mental Health
Exercise is just as good for your brain as your body, as there are studies to support the idea regular cycling can help improve conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as lower stress. It can also improve brain activity and help stave off Alzheimer’s.
4. Reduces Risk of Diabetes
Several studies have found a link between a lowered risk for developing type 2 diabetes and regular exercises like biking, over 50% in some cases. Cycling can also be a good form of moderate exercise to help those with diabetes manage their disease in an effective and fun way.
5. Better Sleeping
According to a Stanford University School of Medicine performed on insomniacs, those that began cycling for about half an hour every other day found that the time at which it took for them to fall asleep was cut in half, with an extra hour of sleep added to their totals. In general, exercises like biking are great for helping facilitate deep, restful sleep.