If you haven’t caught on to the power of pedaling, you’re missing out. There is ample evidence highlighting how those who jump into the saddle are on to a winner of a workout.
- Cycling is ideal for kick-starting a fitness routine.
With pumping music, motivating instructors and tested programming, indoor cycling has proved to be a particularly effective way to get hooked on movement. An eight-week study of those new to fitness backed this up. The participants eased into exercise with three RPM indoor cycle classes a week—and the vast majority didn’t miss a single workout! Bryce Hastings, Les Mills’ head of research, says the 95 percent compliance rate is almost unheard of for a fitness trial: “It speaks volumes about the enjoyable nature of the workout and its positive effects.”
- Cycling gets you fit, fast.
Research shows that powering through just three cycle workouts a week can do wonders for your fitness. After just eight weeks of regular cycle workouts, participants enjoyed improved cardio fitness, reduced body fat, and decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Researchers believe the varying levels of intensity within each workout are an important factor in maximizing muscle adaptations and producing comprehensive health benefits. RPM is based on the science of Cardio Peak Training, which combines the cardio endurance of steady-state training and the transformative fat-burning benefits of high-intensity interval training.
- High-intensity interval cycling gets you even fitter.
There are plenty of studies highlighting how high-intensity interval training drives muscle activation and fat-burning capacity—even after you’ve stopped working out. But most of these studies are based on conventional weight-bearing HIIT moves such as burpees, squat jumps and lunges. A recent study has shown that high-intensity interval cycling can be a great low-impact way to enjoy the transformative results of HIIT. Study participants added just two 30-minute LES MILLS SPRINT workouts to their weekly routine and significantly improved cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal fitness. They also reduced body-fat mass and blood pressure while enhancing glucose tolerance and strength.
- Cycling will trim your tummy.
Regular cycling doesn’t just result in toned and shapely legs; research shows that cycling can be a great way to shrink your waistline, too. Participants who did RPM three times a week over an eight-week period managed to cut an average of 3 centimeters from their waistline—and they reduced their body fat by 13.6 percent.
- Cycling helps your mental health.
Jumping on a bike—whether inside or out—is shown to be one of the best ways to beat stress, depression and poor mental health. Over a three-year study, 1.2 million adults recorded their physical activity and how many days they experienced any stress, depression or other emotional issues. Researchers concluded that cycling was the second most beneficial when it came to emotional wellness. (It was team sports that came out on top.)
- Cycling can slow the aging process.
Forget pills and potions, new research indicates that pedal power could be the perfect youth elixir. In a study of 125 amateur cyclists, researchers found they maintained consistent levels of muscle mass and strength, and stable amounts of body fat and cholesterol, as they aged. The cyclists reduced the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and their production of disease-combating T cells was still functioning as well as much younger people.
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This post originally appeared on LesMills.com.
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Photo credit: Courtesy of Les Mills