17 Effects of Cycling On Body Shape

Are you looking for a fun and easy way to stay fit? Why not try cycling?

This low-impact exercise is not only great for burning calories and building muscle, but it also does wonders for your cardiovascular health.

It’s also a great way to explore the outdoors and enjoy the scenery while getting in a good workout.

Below, we’ll explore 17 effects of cycling on body shape and how it can help you achieve your fitness goals.

1. Stimulate Lower Body Muscle Development

The primary muscles involved in generating power while cycling are the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles.

The quads, located at the front of the thighs, are responsible for extending the knee and are heavily engaged during the downstroke of the pedal stroke.

The hamstrings, located at the back of the thigh, are responsible for flexing the knee and play a crucial role in propelling the pedal backward.

The glutes, located in the buttocks, are engaged during the upward pedal stroke and help to stabilize the hips.

Finally, the calf muscles, located at the back of the lower leg, are engaged during both the upward and downward pedal stroke and help to push the pedal down.

man cycling shot with closeup on leg pedaling utc

2. Strengthens and Tones the Leg

Your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes are all working hard to propel you forward. And the good news is that consistent cycling can actually increase the size and tone of these muscles over time, giving you legs to be proud of.

Of course, the more experience you have on the bike, the more defined and larger your leg muscles are likely to be.

But even if you’re just starting out, incorporating strength training exercises like squats and leg presses can help you build even more strength and size.

But here’s the thing: you don’t want to overdo it on the strength training. It’s important to strike a balance between building leg strength and building your aerobic base for overall cycling performance.

man pointing on leg after sun burning during cycli utc

And building leg strength can actually reduce your risk of knee pain and other injuries, so it’s definitely worth incorporating into your routine.

So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, a combination of consistent cycling and strength training, along with proper rest and recovery, can help you achieve the leg strength and shape you’re after.

3. Resistance Element

One of the coolest things about cycling: it’s not just about burning fat, it’s also about building muscle. How does it work?

Well, the resistance element of cycling allows you to adjust the tension on the pedals, which means you can make your workout more challenging.

By increasing the resistance, you’re working against a greater force, which leads to more muscle strength and development.

In other words, cycling is a killer way to transform your body and tone up.

4. Boost Cognitive Functions

Cycling regularly can actually enhance your cognitive abilities, making you sharper and more alert.

Studies have shown that aerobic exercise, like cycling, can improve your memory, attention, and overall cognitive function. (1, 2)

cycling legs

This is because exercise stimulates connections between existing neurons.

The increased blood circulation that comes with cycling can lead to better oxygen delivery to your brain, giving your mental faculties a much-needed boost.

5. Improve Fingers Grip Strength

I bet you didn’t know that cycling isn’t just about working your legs. Believe it or not, cycling can also help you strengthen your fingers, wrists, and forearms.

How, you ask? Well, when you’re gripping those handlebars, you’re actually using the muscles in your hands and arms. And as you ride, those muscles are constantly engaged, which means they’re getting stronger and more toned.

So not only will you have killer leg muscles, but you’ll also have some serious grip strength and dexterity.

cyclist hand bike handlebar brake and safety on t utc

Yup, every time you hit those brakes, you’re working the same muscles as those fancy spring clamps you see at the gym.

As you brake, the muscles in your hands and forearms are activated, and with repetition, they get stronger and more toned.

6. Exercise Core Muscles

As you constantly balance and steer on your bike, your abs, obliques, and back muscles are all engaged, leading to increased stability and endurance during your rides.

By simply riding your bike with proper form, you’re already contributing to the strengthening of your core muscles.

And if you really want to kick things up a notch, high-intensity cycling is the way to go.

By increasing the resistance, speed, and incline, you’ll be challenging your core muscles even more, resulting in greater strength and endurance levels.

working those core muscles shot of a young woman utc

Core muscles play a major role in making sure you’re comfortable during your cycling sessions. Neglecting them may even lead to lower back pain. So be sure to give them some love through cycling and other exercises.

Having strong abs and back muscles is super important when it comes to keeping your spine in check, staying balanced, and feeling cozy while pedaling away on your bike.

Trust me, your body will thank you for putting in the work to increase stability and support.

7. Minimum Impact on Your Joints

Are you someone who loves to exercise but struggles with joint pain? If so, cycling might just be the perfect workout for you. It’s low-impact, meaning it’s gentle on your joints and muscles.

And here’s a fun fact: a recent study compared runners and track cyclists and found that the runners actually experienced more muscle damage, inflammation, and delayed onset muscle soreness than the cyclists did. (3, 4)

That’s because cycling is a stress-free form of exercise that still gives you amazing physical benefits.

This is because cycling is a less stressful form of exercise that still provides excellent physical benefits.

8. Improve Posture and Make Your Body Shape More Attractive

If you’re looking to avoid injuries and stay physically fit, then you need to focus on improving your balance, posture, and coordination.

Lucky for you, cycling is an amazing way to do just that! By pedaling away on your bike, you activate a host of different muscle groups in your legs, core, and upper body, all of which are essential for maintaining balance and coordination.

image of young attractive woman stretching body be utc

Since cycling is also a low-impact exercise, it’s perfect for rehabilitating from injuries or surgeries. It helps to build muscle strength without putting too much stress on your body, making it an ideal choice for those looking to get back on their feet.

9. Improves Cardiovascular Health

Whether you prefer getting your ride on outdoors or indoors, cycling for just 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times per week can do wonders for your cardiovascular fitness.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), getting your sweat on can not only lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, but also reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure, dementia, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

10. Enhances Mental Health

One of the main benefits of cycling is the release of endorphins during exercise. Endorphins are the body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemicals which are released during physical activity.

This release of endorphins can help you to achieve “runners high” and relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, leaving you feeling happier and more relaxed.

It turns out that cycling can actually help you develop new thought patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being.

young beautiful woman on vintage bike with basket utc

It’s also a great way to disconnect and ‘zone out’, almost like a form of meditation.

Scientific studies found that outdoor exercise led to increased improvements in cognitive functioning and overall well-being in older adults. This indicates that cycling outdoors can be particularly beneficial for both physical and mental health. (5, 6)

So next time you’re feeling down or need a mental pick-me-up, why not hop on your bike and take a spin? Your mind (and body) will thank you!

11. Aid People Recovering From Cancer

Did you know that cycling can be a super beneficial form of exercise during and after cancer treatment?

Of course, it’s always important to check with your healthcare provider and listen to your body before starting or continuing any exercise routine.

Cancer treatment can leave those feeling completely drained, both physically and mentally, but regular exercise like cycling can actually help reduce the impact of fatigue.

Not to mention, cycling can help keep them looking and feeling lean and fit, which may even reduce the risk for certain types of cancer, like breast cancer. (7)

In fact, recent research from 2019 found that staying active, even just by cycling, can help reduce the side effects of cancer treatment and improve your overall quality of life if you have breast cancer. (8)

12. Body Shape Transformation

Body shape transformation is highly sought after by men and women, due to the health benefits as well as a more pleasing physical appearance.

Cycling is seen as an effective form of exercise for both genders, although it is known to take longer than other forms of exercise such as running.

For men, you can expect to see changes in fat loss, size, toning, and definition in about 12-16 weeks of consistent cycling.

women cycling in gym during fitness class

During the first twelve weeks, you’ll notice significant development in your triceps and biceps, as well as changes in your calf, hamstring, and quadriceps muscles.

Ladies, don’t be discouraged! While progress may be slower due to hormones like testosterone not being present, cycling can still help you achieve your desired body shape.

Naturally, women have more body fat so it takes a little longer to see physical changes than men. Don’t worry though, that just means you have to put in a little extra effort to build those muscles.

13. Help You Shed Pounds Without Extreme Diet

Did you know that cycling is a fantastic way to shed those stubborn pounds? Yup, you heard that right! If you hop on a bike for at least an hour, you can burn up to 1000 calories – depending on how hard you push yourself, of course.

But that’s not all – when you cycle uphill, both your lower and upper body get an incredible workout. This means your body needs to use up more energy and breathe in more oxygen, which in turn leads to weight loss.

Here’s the best part: a recent study shows that switching from driving to cycling for just 30 minutes a day can help you lose up to 7 kg in a year. That’s right, by making a simple change in your daily routine, you can achieve some pretty incredible results. (9, 10, 11)

The type of biking you can also impact your weight loss results. Road cycling can be especially effective since it involves hills and wind resistance, which require more effort and burn more calories.

But don’t discount mountain biking either – it works a wider range of muscles than road cycling and can definitely help you shed those extra pounds.

14. Flatten Your Stomach

When you cycle, you burn calories which leads to a reduction in belly fat. To get the best results, maintain a steady and moderate pace while cycling.

This helps you burn calories at a consistent rate, tone your muscles, and keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time. With time, you’ll start to see significant changes in your body shape, including a flatter stomach.

woman open shirt showing flat stomach and strong muscle

For even greater results, try incorporating interval training into your cycling routine. This means alternating between high-intensity periods of cycling and low-intensity recovery periods.

This technique has been proven to be highly effective in burning calories and promoting weight loss.

15. Comfortable Exercise With Recumbent Bike

Have you ever considered indoor cycling as a way to stay in shape? Well, if you have, you should definitely try out recumbent biking.

Unlike traditional bicycles, recumbent bikes allow you to sit in an upright position, which is much more comfortable.

Recumbent biking is amazing because it targets all the important muscle groups, like your quads, shins, hamstrings, and glutes.

Want to know the best part about getting fit? You can do it right from the comfort of your own home! And here’s the kicker – incorporating recumbent biking into your routine can lead to some incredible benefits.

A study found that older women who tried this form of exercise experienced improved muscle strength, body shape, and functional abilities.

16. Get Highly Motivated With Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling is another popular choice for those looking to lose weight as it allows you to burn up to 600-1000 calories per session.

Moreover, thanks to the different resistance levels available in most stationary bikes, you can really target certain muscle groups that you’d like to tone up and improve.

And don’t worry about getting bored, because your instructor will keep things interesting by switching up the resistance and intensity throughout the workout.

Having an instructor guide you through the class and push you to your limits can truly make a difference in your commitment to your fitness goals.

17. Easier Exercise while Commuting with Ebike

E-biking has become increasingly popular as a way to transform body shape through low-impact workouts.

Unlike traditional cycling, E-biking uses electric power to help you reach higher speeds and conquer challenging terrain.

This makes it an excellent option for anyone who wants the benefits of cycling without putting too much strain on their body.

a young woman uses an urban rented electric bike utc

E-biking is an amazing way to transform your body shape and achieve your fitness goals. The constant pedaling motion engages your calf muscles, thigh muscles, and glutes, leading to muscle toning and definition.

One of the best things about E-biking is that it saves time and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Use it to commute to work or run errands while enjoying an effective low-impact workout that eliminates the need for a separate gym session.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, cycling can improve body shape as it is a great form of cardiovascular exercise that burns calories and helps tone muscles in the legs and core. However, for optimal results, it should be combined with a healthy diet and other forms of exercise.

Cycling can help tone and strengthen muscles, leading to a more defined body shape. However, the overall impact on body shape will depend on factors such as frequency, duration, and intensity of cycling, as well as diet and other lifestyle factors.

Regular biking can help reduce overall body fat and tone abdominal muscles, leading to a smaller waistline over time. However, it’s important to combine biking with a healthy diet to see the best results.

While cycling can be a great form of cardio exercise and can help burn calories, it alone is not enough to give you a flat stomach. A well-rounded exercise routine that includes strength training and a healthy diet is necessary for achieving a toned midsection.

Yes, cycling can change leg shape by building muscle and reducing fat in the legs. However, the extent of the change will depend on the individual’s body composition and the intensity and frequency of their cycling routine. Consistency and proper nutrition are also important factors to consider for achieving desired results.

Yes, cycling has been shown to have a positive effect on brain function and mental health. Studies have found that regular cycling can improve cognitive performance, reduce stress and anxiety, and even help prevent age-related cognitive decline.

Using a stationary bicycle for exercise is generally safe and has numerous health benefits. However, improper use or overuse can lead to muscle strain, joint pain, or even injury. It’s important to use proper form and gradually increase the intensity to avoid any negative side effects.

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