Champneys Blog

The benefits of cycling for exercise

Not only can two wheels be the best way to travel, but there are plenty of health benefits behind cycling – some you may not even have thought of! Whether you are cycling outdoors in the amazing British countryside, or indoors in a spin class, there is a lot that can be achieved by jumping on the saddle.
In this article, we delve into the benefits of cycling and talk to some of the experts for their insights.
Cycling is social

Cycling is an incredibly social form an exercise. Whether you are attending weekly spin classes, cycling to work or you’re just a weekend rider, you’re sure to bump into other cyclists. It really is true that you never realise how many people are cycling until you get on a bike yourself and join them. Whether you encourage a group of friends to start with you and go for leisurely weekend rides or join a local riding club, you’re sure to meet people.

On the British Cycling website, you can search to find clubs in your area. Varying in levels of skill and experience, joining a club is a great way to learn from the best, and have a few laughs whilst you do so.

It’s a full body work out

Cycling is a great, full body workout. Although it does wonders for your legs and glutes, cycling can work out all of your muscles, and improve cardio at the same time. If you are looking for an exercise that can help with both fat burning and help improve your cardiovascular stamina then cycling is great for that, as you can target both of those goals at the same time.

Even if you aren’t a fan of the outdoors, you can still reap the rewards as there are many spin bike benefits. ‘Spinning’ is becoming more and more popular at gyms and leisure centres as it can be a quick workout that targets the whole body.

You can explore your area

No one knows the local area like a cyclist. If you are hitting the roads with your bike, you’ll find yourself exploring interesting routes, trying out old country lanes and cycling where you may have never been before. It’s a great way to explore the local area from a whole new perspective. The British countryside is a beautiful place and cycling is a fantastic way to experience that.

If you do ever get bored of the local sites however, you can think even broader and look overseas for a new cycling adventure. Cycle touring is becoming an increasingly popular holiday pastime as it means you get to experience places from street-level. There really is no limit to where you can ride.

It doesn’t cost a lot

After the initial cost of the bike and a helmet, you don’t need to pay much for cycling. And even if you don’t want to invest in a new bike right away, you could look at borrowing one from a friend or family member or look at second-hand options. Although you can spend a lot of money on fancy cycling gear and expensive equipment, you don’t need to, especially when starting out.  

Many employers are now part of the NHS bike to work scheme which can help you with the initial cost of a bike.

It’s practical

Cycling is an incredibly practical form of exercise. Once you are warmed up on your wheels, you’ll be able to jump on the bike and cycle anywhere. Change your crowded train commute or slow-moving car journeys to work for a leisurely bike ride instead. Save money on petrol, save time if travelling in a city centre and exercise whilst you do so.

Asking the experts

Melissa Power
Melissa Power is a London-based personal trainer who is an indoor cycling instructor at The Indoor Cycling Academy. So far in her career, Melissa has taught nearly 10,000 classes and loves to work with her clients to get the best results possible.

We asked Melissa why she thinks cycling is such a fantastic form of exercise: “Cycling (especially indoor cycling) is accessible for absolutely all levels from beginner to pro. It has huge benefits not only for the cardiovascular and circulatory systems but also strengthens muscles and bones. It puts less pressure on the knees than running or jumping and is sustainable for a much longer period, as the seated position and ability to choose how fast or hard to go means individuals can control their intensity. It's also great fun and the bonuses of training within a group mean the endorphin rush is increased which makes riders want to return!”

We then asked Melissa what advice she can give someone on the fence about starting cycling: “There are no disadvantages to this form of exercise. Take it at your own pace, make sure your bike is set up correctly and invest in a pair of cleated cycling shoes, it makes a huge difference. If you're in a class and you're worried about what others are thinking about you, trust me, no-one is looking! Everyone is too concerned about themselves. You'll see the benefits of cycling within just a couple of weeks from increased lung capacity and general fitness to muscle tone and weight loss. It's a no brainer!”

Lunges and Lycra
Lunges and Lycra is a blog run by Charlotte Thomas and Emma Lax. It’s a blog self-described as being for “women who like sweating, fitness and the odd nip of gin.” The blog looks at all forms of exercise, hoping to encourage ‘normal’ woman to have a go and see what they might like.

We asked Charlotte and Emma why cycling is a great form of exercise: “As well as strengthening your legs and glutes and being great cardiovascular exercise, cycling is fab because you can get out and explore. At weekends I like planning new destinations to visit with friends, cycling there and getting the train home – after a pub lunch of course. Studies show that exercising surrounded by nature has a positive effect on your mental health too, even more than working out in the gym, so you're winning on every front.”

They then offered some advice for those just starting: “Getting a bike can be expensive so, if you're not sure about starting, borrow one from a friend or hire one for a few days and go on some rides to see if it's something you can see yourself keeping up. Cycling is a social sport so make sure you rope in a few friends to go on a longer ride in the countryside as that's the most fun bit.”

After a long day of cycling, there is nothing better than unwinding in our relaxing London Day spa, after all, you would have deserved it! We can offer a range of treatments from massages to facial treatments, so once you get off the saddle, let yourself be pampered by our expertly trained staff.