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You’ll know full well that the health benefits to cycling are as plentiful as they are varied: for starters, it burns calories, which will help if you’re trying to lose weight, it can lower your risk of cancer, and can give your mental health just as much of a boost as your physical wellbeing.
But is cycling good for circulation, too? Does cycling increase blood flow at all? And why is good circulation so important to your body anyway? Let’s find out:
Why is Blood Circulation Important?
Circulation is key in helping your muscles perform to their maximum, and can go some way to alleviating muscle pains and facilitating your recovery.
Good blood circulation also means your body’s most important organs will be provided with the right amount of oxygen and nutrients required to function properly. Without this, you could potentially be risking various cardiovascular diseases, which could do great harm to your heart, kidneys, and brain, for instance.
Per the NHS, poor circulation makes the skin on your feet and legs more prone to injury, infection and ulceration. Injured skin may also take longer to heal and infection may spread, while your mobility may also decrease.
How to Improve Blood Circulation
- Take regular exercise. To that end, it’s worth mentioning that the NHS highly recommends cycling as one of the best and most beneficial forms of exercise. A healthy diet, including less/no drinking alcohol and smoking, will also help.
- Drink plenty of water. The more dehydrated you are, the thicker your blood becomes, and so the harder the circulation process around your body will be, and oxygen around the body. Energy drinks are a good substitute, while students show antioxidants in tea also help with circulation, but you can’t beat good, old-fashioned H2O.
- Try more therapeutic methods. A massage, warm bath or a trip to the sauna should relax you, and lower stress levels improve blood circulation, too.
Does Cycling Help Circulation in Legs?
Absolutely. Poor circulation in your legs can be avoided most simply through regular exercise – especially in the form of aerobic activities like cycling.
Pedalling will boost circulation in your legs, as well as working your muscles hard and burning calories all the while. You don’t have to go too hard at it either – high intensity training can make your legs swell and restrict circulation, so little and often is perfectly fine.
SUMMARY: Does Cycling Help Blood Circulation?
Of course. Cycling is a fantastic way of stimulating and improving your heart, and will greatly lower the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Plus, as noted by Better Health, research shows that people who cycle to work have two to three times less exposure to pollution than car commuters, so their lung function is improved. A 14-year Danish study consisting of 30,000 people aged 20 to 93 found that regular riding protected people from heart disease, too.
And in a 2018 study published in the ‘Circulation’ journal, it was found that people who cycled often suffered roughly 15 per cent fewer heart attacks than non-cyclists. Even small amounts of cycling time were discovered to be linked to lower heart disease rates.
So, if you’re looking for that extra bit of vitality without having to make too drastic a change to your lifestyle, regular cycling, even if in short bursts, is the ideal remedy. Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, when you may yourself with more free time, and when the strength of your immune system has arguably never been more important.