Cycling for better health

11/08/2023

How cycling keeps your immune system strong

Cycling offers the opportunity to keep fit and help with weight management, but the health benefits extend further than that. It can also reduce your risk of a whole host of illnesses and diseases. In fact, regular cycling can cut your risk of death from all causes by more than 40%.

But you may not be aware that it can keep your immune system strong which protects you from germs, bacteria, and viruses that could make you ill in the first place. Helping you to live for longer and with less health issues.

That is why it is so important to keep your immune system working effectively and strong to reduce your risk of falling ill. But how does exercise help with that and more specifically cycling? We have broken down how cycling can keep your immune system strong, reduce your risk of an array of diseases, and even boost your wellbeing.

Why is exercise important for your immune system?

The science: Exercising enables blood to circulate around your body faster allowing white blood cells to enter your bloodstream more efficiently and help to protect against any threats such as germs, bacteria, and viruses. Preventing symptoms of infection for example by stopping any threats from getting bigger.

Strengthening your immune system: Essentially, the more regularly you exercise the more regularly the cells that fight infection and disease in your immune system are able to increase. The increased blood flow which comes from exercising contributes to the strengthening of antibodies and reduction of inflammation that all contribute to a strong immune system.

Reducing stress: Exercise can also help to reduce levels of stress, which in turns helps the immune system to effectively work; reducing the risk of being supressed by stress. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the massive mental health benefits. The endorphins, or those happy chemicals, that get released from exercising, which will boost your mood whilst stress hormones such as adrenaline are reduced.

What are the health benefits of cycling?

Physical inactivity is linked to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK which evidences the strong link between exercise enabling an array of health benefits both mental and physical.

The health benefits of cycling are vast, but we will give you a run down of some of the biggest.

happy-cyclists-2021-09-24-03-01-45-utc

Brain: blood flow to the brain is increased with cycling and this enables your brain to function properly both now and into the future. The national library of medicine published a study that concluded that blood flow to the brain increased by 28% for participants that cycled compared to those who were resting. There has also been links to exercise reducing the risk of dementia by up to 30% due to the increased blood flow to the brain.

Mental health: the opportunities for socialising are important when it comes to mental health. Cycling offers endless opportunities for meeting people and making and sustaining connections which will help to reduce risks of loneliness and depression as well as increase wellbeing. You will also benefit from improved sleep which will leave you feeling more alert, refreshed, and in a better mood.

Heart: regular cycling is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and generally improving heart health; helping you to live for longer. Don’t just take our word for it. A University of Glasgow study revealed that people who commuted to work by cycling were a staggering 45% less likely to develop heart disease and 52% lower risk of death from heart disease.

Weight management: cycling regularly will burn a good number of calories and keep you on track to sustain a healthy weight. Ultimately, it will reduce risk of weight gain from inactivity that could lead to health issues such as obesity. Cycling for just 30 minutes can help you burn up to an amazing 300 calories.

Strength: regularly cycling will enable you to build strength and tone muscles. Not just your legs but your arms and core too. This is really important as it will mean sustaining good levels of mobility and in turn sustaining independence in older age.

How much cycling is enough?

It is important to note first that the NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week for adults aged 19-64. Aiming for 150 minutes per week with just cycling would be an ideal target to reap all of those health benefits. If you are new to cycling or it has been while, then start off gradually with two short sessions a week and build up from there. The more you cycle in each session the better the blood flow and the stronger the immune system and general physical and mental health.

How do you make a start?

Knowing where to cycle, groups you can join, and how to stay motivated can be half the battle when it comes to making a start or sustaining regular weekly rides. To help with that, we have put together a guide to keep you on the right track.

Cycling trails: the national cycle network consists of safe, quiet routes, and traffic-free lanes covering over 14,700 miles. To find a route on the cycle network near you then enter your location into the find a route feature on their website. Check out the National Cycle route collections for inspiration for your next cycle from nature to coast to long distance rides; there’s something for everyone.

cycling-man-in-forest-phone-gps-and-map-direction-2022-12-14-23-23-10-utc

Cycling groups: Find a local club near you via the British Cycling website and start enjoying the benefits of group rides and making new connections. You can also register for free and start enjoying a wealth of free cycling resources and benefits. Lovetoride offer a cycle community that you can join for free online, compete against others, track journeys, and access lots of free resources on cycling.

Cycling apps: There are a plethora of free fitness apps out there to help with tacking your rides and motivation. A great one is Strava in which you can track the distance cycled and time taken for each ride. It even offers a feature where you can go head-to-head with other cyclists riding the same routes as you.

The more rides that you go on the lower the risk of developing illness and disease as your immune system will be fighting strong. If you are looking for more guidance on keeping your immune system strong, check out our blog, do we really need to take vitamins. For more information around self care tips to help with your immune system including healthy eating, give our, living well with psoriasis, blog a read.

Looking to purchase a bike?

Are you looking to purchase a bike but could use some help towards the costs? Top insurers that we are partnered with can help with that as there are plenty of amazing discounts on offer. We’ve rounded up some of the best below.

Vitality: with qualifying plans, you can earn Silver Vitality status through getting active. This will then make you eligible to access amazing discounts for bikes including 25% off a bike or 15% off a Turbo e-Bike.

Aviva: due to their partnership with Cycleplan, they are able to offer a 30% discount off Cycleplan bike insurance which covers your bike and any accessories.

*terms and conditions apply

Get a quote!

Compare the best health and life insurance policies on the market by filling in the short form below.

We will be in touch shortly to run through your free tailor-made quote from UK’s leading insurers. Our prices won’t be beaten with our best price guarantee.

At Usay we take your data security very seriously and we will not sell your data to third parties. By clicking search now you agree to allow us to contact you regarding your free, no obligation quotation by email or phone. Please see our Privacy Policy and general terms.