It's abundantly clear that cycling is excellent exercise- easy on your joints and great for muscle elasticity and strength. Cycling outdoors provides unmatched mental stimulation, reduces stress and gives us time to allow our minds to focus and release our daily concerns. This month, being February, is a great time for us to consider our heart health. Cycling is one of the best exercises for heart heath because it provides extended periods of optimal heart rates. Studies have shown that just 150 min a week of moderate physical exercise at 55-85% of your max heart rate can prevent 1 in 12 deaths and 1 in 20 cases of cardiovascular disease. This amount of exercise was found to reduce the risk of heart-related death by 28% and the risk of heart disease by 20%.. 150 min of exercise translates to about 20-30 min per day- easily achieved with even a short bike ride. It was also found that the extended levels of increased heart rate achieved during cycling, provided greater heart muscle and blood vessel elasticity. Regular cycling strengthens your heart muscle, stimulates circulation, and improves lung function. Studies also found that people who began cycling before the age of 60, could reverse many symptoms of early heart disease and the heart and blood vessel rigidity that often occurs in old age.
Heart monitors help us understand our own heart rate patterns and allow us to modify our exercise routines and intensity in order to best utilize the time we have for exercise. Heart monitors also give us feedback on max heart rate changes we see over time with exercise and give us feedback on recovery times. With attention to our exercise routines, we should see a longer ability to function at a optimal exercise heart rate (calculated as 220 minus your age) and should see faster recovery times.
Enjoy cycling, and live longer to enjoy all life has to offer. Have a great February- if you can't cycle outside, take advantage of indoor opportunities or take time to enjoy winter in other ways- with a hike, skiing or even shoveling snow.