Cycling has long been a great alternative for those looking to get fit without the joint pain that can come from higher-impact forms of cardio such as running or walking. Simply hop on a bike and watch the calories tick away, while your energy levels rise and your fatigue levels plummet. Depending on speed, cycling can be one of the fastest calorie-burning exercises, even at a relatively easy pace.
Because it is low-impact, cycling is a sport that can be enjoyed for decades. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure, and can ramp up the metabolism. Cycling in a natural setting not only provides you with great scenery, but provides natural hills which challenge and subsequently improve your fitness. Besides the obvious physical benefits, cycling can improve memory and cognitive efforts. Research also shows that regular cycling can lead to a longer lifespan.
Cycling primarily works the lower half of the body, specifically in the upper leg and the calf. In the infographic below, we’ve broken down exactly how each pedal stroke corresponds to lower body muscle use. Because the workout is mostly in your lower half, it’s a smart idea to combine your cycling workout with some upper-body strength training.