It is true that the benefits of cycling outweigh the limitations, but it is also essential to enlighten people about the risks for them to take the necessary precautions. Most limitations are influenced by the cyclist’s physical state, how safe the trail is or poor weather conditions.
Benefits of Cycling
• Increases cardiovascular fitness – many people suffer from cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure which can all be prevented by cycling often. Cycling facilitates free circulation of blood to all the body parts and stimulates the organs reducing the risk of acquiring these cardiovascular diseases.
• Reduces stress, depression, and anxiety – cycling reduces mental illness because it cheers your mood and relaxes your mind as you enjoy the beautiful nature. It distracts your mind because riding a bike requires concentration to balance it as you try to stay on the trail.
• Improves muscle strength and flexibility – muscles tend to become stiff if there is minimal movement of limbs. Cycling relaxes the muscles and strengthens them.
• Decreases body fat levels – cycling increases the rate of your metabolism, burns body fat and builds muscles. Cycling and incorporating a healthy diet is the best way to go if you want to lose weight within a short period.
• Improves posture and coordination – it is always advisable to maintain an upright position when you are cycling to ensure that you are in full control of the bike’ weight and remain focused throughout. Therefore, cycling improves your posture over time and your coordination between the brain and your body organs as you try to navigate through the trail.
• Strengthens the bones – generally, exercise increases the bones because of the vigorous mobility of joints. Doctors also recommend cycling to people who are trying to recover from injuries acquired in accidents or other sports.
• Prevention and management of specific diseases – cycling is essential because it prevents and manages some diseases like obesity and heart-related illnesses. This is because it increases the metabolism rate; hence more fats are burnt.
• Improves sleep – it is scientifically proven that cycling improves sleep because it relaxes your body and mind; therefore you are at peace. Cycling frees your mind from mental illnesses like stress, depression, and anxiety that cause lack of sleep.
• Boosts your brain power – cycling improves circulation of blood to the brain cells; hence you feel more alert and aware of your surroundings. This enables you to make the right decisions and come up with solutions to solve your challenges.
• Grows your social circle – biking is an excellent way to increase your social circle because you get to interact with other cyclists that you are sharing the trail with. It is always advisable to be friendly and lend a hand if you meet a stranded person because you would also want someone to extend their kindness if you are in a similar situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or directions either, most people are more than happy to help, and that creates a bond that leads to friendship; hence cycling becomes even more enjoyable. Being lonely results in feeling bored and you don’t also get to cycle for a longer distance. Friends motivate you and make everything more interesting as you catch up and share your views on different topics.
• Boosts your confidence and self-esteem – cycling tones your body; hence you end up feeling good about yourself and your appearance. Confidence and self-esteem are essential because they determine how you relate with other people. Compliments from people will cheer you up and even motivate you to work hard to attain the body shape that you want.
Limitations of Cycling
Expenses – bikes are quite expensive especially mountain bikes. Apart from that, you have to invest in high-quality protective gear, a tool kit for repair and maintenance and a first aid kit to nurse minor injuries. They wear out with time; hence you will be forced to replace it or invest in a better one. You also have to buy a secure lock to prevent your bike from being stolen when you park it in public. All those expenses can be a burden to a regular cyclist who wants to have some fun.
Alters your eyesight – cycling exposes you to very many elements that could destroy your vision in the long run. These elements include bugs, sand, harmful UV rays, and the wind. Sunglasses help in reducing the impact of these elements, but some of them manage to get into your eyes somehow.
Saddle discomfort – bikes are majorly built for efficiency and speed, but the saddle is not comfortable to sit on especially if you are cycling for a long distance. Saddle sores, chaffing, and numbness, are some of the discomforts you experience when cycling because of friction and the saddle is too tiny to accommodate all the pressure exerted by your entire body.
Respiratory complications – many people don’t realize the amount of dust, carbon, and cold air that goes to your lungs when you are cycling. These pollutants result in respiratory complications that are either very costly to treat or impossible to treat because the respiratory system consists of vital organs. Wearing protective jackets and masks don’t guarantee you maximum protection.
Nerve damage – cycling can either lead to nerve damage in the ulnar (hands and wrists) or sexual organs. This results from the constant pressure exerted on these organs when you sit on the saddle for a long time. That’s why it is advisable to invest in the ergonomic seat that has a cutout so that you don’t sit on your groin. To avoid ulnar nerve damage, ensure that your bike fits you perfectly to prevent straining your arms.
Collisions – biking involves sharing the trails with other cyclists who might not be experienced in cycling. This causes collisions even with other hikers or animals. Bike accidents tend to be very severe because once you lose control, they are not fitted with belts to protect you. However, always ensure that you wear protective gear to minimize the intensity of the injuries and scratches.