Regular cycling is one of the best ways to get proper exercise because all you need is a good bike and the appropriate repair and protective equipment and then you can make use of all the routes you like.
Cycling helps beginners to stay healthy because there are plenty of smooth, even road surfaces to ride on, and it does the same for experienced cyclists who want more challenging, off-road terrain to try.
Whatever your preferences, regular cycling will benefit you in both mind and body.
Whether you make it your sole form of exercise or just a casual hobby, you’ll notice the effects of cycling on your body shape and your general mood.
Contrary to popular belief, cycling affects your body in a more different ways than just toning your leg muscles or building stamina.
In this article we will discuss how regular cycling affects our body and leads to body shape transformation.
Table of Contents
- Biological Difference – Cycling and Body Shape
- Effects of Cycling on Body Shape
- Wrapping Things Up
Biological Difference – Cycling and Body Shape
Though cycling is accessible to all those who are able to pedal, there are biological differences that naturally affect your cycling body transformation. One of these biological differences is sex.
Male and female cyclists get the same workout from cycling, but differences in endurance, prior to cycling, and initial strength affect how their bodies are shaped by the workout.
Men have more muscle mass, so they will face fewer challenges making developed muscles visible, for example.
Natural body types also affect how your body will transform.
Understanding your body type is important in developing a workout that maximizes your biological type so you can focus on the areas you need to while capitalizing on the areas that make you a good cyclist.
For instance, someone with more strength in their arms will have greater control of the bike, and a person with longer legs will likely find it easier to put their weight into pedaling because they can adjust the saddle to a good height.
A longer torso will also make cycling more challenging because the rider will have to hunch more over the handlebars, which makes the back stiff and sore.
The more difficult a rider finds using a bike, the less likely they are to transform their body because they won’t be able to ride as long or as often.
Then there is the three natural body types that determines the speed at which we can transform. Ectomorphs are naturally thin. This may seem ideal, but it can be more challenging for them to gain muscle.
So the transformation is slower for them then normal. Endomorph have more fat, but are a built similar to mesomorphs in muscle distribution.
Focusing on calorie intake and increasing high intensity exercises that build your cardiovascular for longer endurance rides will gives you faster results.
Mesomorph have the more athletic build and will have some of the endurance abilities of the ectomorph and the muscle distribution of the endomorph.
For the mesomorph, you will want to maintain that muscle and the cardio system. Balance is key and avoiding complacency for best results.
Effects of Cycling on Body Shape
Tones Your Arms – Triceps and Biceps
Though your legs do most of the work to keep the bike moving, you’ll notice the effects of cycling in your arms too. They don’t just need to keep a grip on the handlebars, after all.
The work your arms do to maneuver and navigate as you turn corners, ride uphill, and tackle uneven surfaces will have them feeling sore afterwards.
They also do plenty of work just supporting your body because the proper riding position does put some pressure on them.
You’ll notice toned biceps and triceps the more you cycle because you are consistently putting those muscles to work and relying on them to be your biggest supports to hold up your body.
Your legs are able to pedal hard because of the support of your arms.
Strengthens Your Shoulders
In order for the arms to remain straight and supportive during a ride, you also need to properly hold your shoulders in position. Sometimes, it is tempting to slump your shoulders forward while riding a bike because it takes a lot of focus to hold upright posture without a break. However, doing that will cause stiffness.
By keeping your shoulders back and your handlebars adjusted to a comfortable height, you’ll be able to exercise your shoulders while you ride.
The more you execute this posture, the stronger your shoulders will become.
You can tell that cycling has strengthened your shoulders when you don’t feel that urge to slump as much and retaining upright posture feels easier.
Helps Burn Belly Fat
The best way to burn belly fat is to focus on a full-body workout because you cannot reduce fat solely in specific areas. Luckily, cycling is a great way to help burn belly fat because it burns fat throughout your body.
You won’t notice a decrease in belly fat immediately because you need to be persistent and regularly exercise, but an aerobic exercise like cycling will continue to burn calories.
Cycling allows your body to keep burning calories after you get off the bike too, as well as improving your digestion, so you’ll remain on the path to decreasing belly fat for hours after dismounting.
The production of fat-burning hormones during cycling works with an increased metabolism to take on belly fat, so long as you keep up your commitment.
Your stomach muscles don’t work as hard as your calves, glutes and biceps, but good cycling posture helps to put you in the right position for a core workout.
Having your back straight, shoulders back, and arms firm on the handlebars puts pressure on your core to maintain this posture and strengthens your stomach muscles.
You can couple this abdomen strengthening with other core exercises once you’re off your bike, such as sit-ups, crunches, and the plank.
The stronger the muscles become, the longer you’ll be able to ride and the more of a core workout you will get.
A healthy diet will make the effects of your core exercises more obvious, especially since cycling also works to burn belly fat that would otherwise conceal your abs.
Lower Body Muscles Development
A lower body workout is expected with cycling because of the sheer amount of work that the legs and feet do. After all, there’s a reason why people buy exercise bikes to use inside the house.
The repeated pedaling motion works your calves, thighs and glutes, toning and strengthening them. Cycling uphill or over more arduous terrain will boost the workout because the muscles need to push even harder.
Your legs and feet will doubtless feel sore after a bike ride, so you should take time to stretch them out and rest them.
You need the strength in your lower body muscles to make pedaling easier as time goes on, but allowing them time to rest is also important.
You’ll see your lower body muscles looking more pronounced, and with regular cycling, this strengthening will only continue.
Good For Your Mental Health
Exercise has long since been recommended as good for your mental health, and cycling is no different. It allows you to get out into the world and focus on nothing but navigating the route and exploring on your bike.
After a long bike ride, you’ll feel worn out physically, but the exercise will have got your blood pumping, allowing for a faster spread of endorphins around the body.
Being able to spend time on calming routes, such as quieter roads and those with countryside views, is also beneficial for your mental health because you won’t feel overwhelmed by a busy or noisy environment.
Aerobic exercise, such as cycling, reduces the level of cortisol (the “stress hormone”) in your body, and a strong workout will leave you feeling satisfied.
This one might sound like a myth, but there are actually some anti-aging benefits to regular cycling.
Muscle mass typically depletes as we age, so completing regular exercise to strengthen and tone muscles keeps them healthy, keeping up your fitness abilities as you age.
Cycling also keeps your bones healthy, and having the capability for physical fitness stops aging getting in the way of a workout.
The improvement to your mental state also has anti-aging benefits because, while being physically fit will aid your health as you age, being mentally well works wonders too.
Getting plenty of fresh air and maintaining a good mood will show in your face, your sleep schedule, and how you approach life.
Though cycling can become a very intense workout depending on how experienced you are, it is a relatively low-impact workout.
This means that, though it works out your body, cycling doesn’t put too much weight or strain on your joints or muscles. So, you’ll notice them starting to develop and get stronger without being too worn out.
Starting a new form of exercise that required participation from your whole body will lead to some aches and pains, but you’ll be able to power through them by cycling regularly and maintaining a low-impact but consistent workout.
You can spend more time on a low-impact workout too because it takes longer to burn calories, but you’ll have the stamina to do more.
One of the main health benefits of cycling is that it boosts your immune system. Your thymus produces T-cells, which are a type of immune cell, but this typically starts to shrink from your twenties onwards.
Regular cycling improves the body’s cellular functions, so it will encourage your thymus to keep producing those valuable T-cells.
Studies have actually found that older adults who cycled regularly were producing a similar number of T-cells as adults in their early twenties.
Another health benefit of a cycling routine is improved quality of sleep.
If you are somebody who struggles to get good rest, cycling will help to relieve both your brain and body of burdens that make proper sleep difficult.
Aerobic exercise gets red blood cells pumped around the body and works out your muscles to get them relaxed. Cycling also aids digestion, so you’ll notice that benefit when you are awake as well as when you go to sleep.
Body Shape – Men and Women
All of this work to tone, pronounce, and strengthen different parts of the body will alter your overall body shape, though this may be different for men and women’s bodies.
Both can get abs, strong biceps, and pronounced muscles on the legs, but there are some factors that may make the body shapes appear different.
As previously stated, men typically have more muscle mass than women, so the look of their abs will be visible more quickly than women’s will.
There are also general differences in where men and women generally hold weight on their bodies.
For example, men usually have broader shoulders and narrow hips, whereas women have broader hips with narrow shoulders.
Though men have the advantage of their shoulders already looking bigger, it may actually be more noticeable when a woman strengthens her shoulders through cycling because the muscles will stand out more.
But body shape is also developed and maintained by a cyclist’s diet, and both men and women face the same challenges of eating healthily and staying well-hydrated to keep up with the body shape developed through regular cycling.
Increases Energy and Positive Engagement
Though a cycling workout may make your body feel achy or worn out, it actually increases energy.
This is because your stamina will go up the more you cycle, which will give you the energy to do more exercise on your next ride. It may only be five minutes more at first, but you’ll notice that you feel more energetic and less worn out when your body is used to regular cycling.
The more energy you have, the more you’ll be motivated in other aspects of your life.
For example, your mood will improve, resulting in more positive engagement with other people, more enthusiasm at work and with other tasks, and general feelings of satisfaction when you complete things.
Wrapping Things Up
Your body shape will change and improve the more you cycle, but regular cycling is about more than just that.
Adding an exercise routine to your daily life will improve your mood, your mental health, your physical health, and your outlook on life.
Cycling is by no means a miracle cure, but it is a lifestyle change that benefits countless people.
You don’t need to be a pro cyclist to make the most of the benefits either because it is an accessible form of exercise for beginners and casual riders as well.