Want a Workout for Mind and Body? Hop on Your Bike

Cycling benefits your heart, muscles, waistline and disposition, experts say

THURSDAY, June 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Riding a bike is good for your body -- and your mind.

So say health experts at Penn State, who add that biking provides superb heart conditioning.

"That helps prevent weight accumulation, decreases the risk of heart disease and risk for diabetes," said Dr. Alan Adelman. He made his comments in a news release from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where he practices family medicine.

Riding on varied terrain offers riders the type of interval training that gives the heart a good workout, another exercise expert said.

"Working hard to climb a hill -- even just a small one -- followed by the recovery of going down the other side is similar to high-intensity interval training, which is very popular, and we know that it is an effective way to do physical conditioning," said Deborah Tregea. She's a senior exercise physiologist and campus wellness coordinator at Penn State University Fitness Center.

Cycling is a low-to-no-impact activity, so it can be a good choice for people with osteoarthritis who want to minimize wear and tear on their joints, the experts said.

People with knee problems tied to leg strength also benefit, because cycling strengthens leg muscles, according to Tregea.

Plus, cycling is an activity that families and friends can do together, and the mental health benefits it brings can be as significant as the physical ones, the experts said.

"People get a high and feel better mentally from physical activity in general," Adelman said.

More information

Harvard Medical School outlines the benefits and offers safety tips for cycling.

SOURCE: Penn State, news release, June 1, 2017

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