The benefits of biking

Bicycling is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Here are just a few ways that bicycling can be good for your health.

The benefits of biking

1. It gives you energy

Tired of feeling tired? Hop on a bike. A study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that bike riding improved energy levels by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent. Though scientists are still studying the energizing effects of exercise, they suspect that dopamine is behind the boost.

Cycling triggers your brain to release more of this energy-linked "feel-good" brain chemical. The best part: You do not need to push the pace to enjoy this perk. Those who pedalled at an easy pace reaped the biggest rewards.

2. It reduces your appetite

Riding a bike can make you eat less. The same dopamine that gives you a greater sense of energy also improves your mood, pushing aside the need for other mood boosters like ice cream and potato chips.

In addition, British researchers have reported that a mere 60 minutes of vigorous exercise — like brisk bicycling — lowers the release of ghrelin (a chemical that stimulates appetite) and increases the release of peptide YY (a hormone that suppresses appetite).

Tufts University researchers also published a review article that said exercise can create a "spontaneous reduction in hunger," which can pave the way for easy weight loss.

3. It improves your mood

Other researchers have found that blue moods make people eat more and more of the high-calorie, high-carbohydrate stuff that packs on kilograms (or pounds). Beat the blues — and the binges — with a bike. As little as 10 minutes of cycling can improve your mood, according to a study from Bowling Green State University.

Other research shows that just 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity, like cycling, three to five days a week can significantly improve depression symptoms.

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