Nutrition for Cyclists Explained: Reasons Cycling Is Good for Your Health

Cycling has always been a popular activity throughout the years and interest in this ‘sport’ isn’t waning yet.

If the monotony of a gym routine seems boring to you, or you hate being cooped up indoors, Cycling is the best form of exercise for you. It lets you connect with nature and alleviate stress, while also getting fitter in the process. It’ a win-win when cycling is also environment-friendly!

Being a moderate-intensity aerobic activity, cycling also improves cardiovascular fitness, joint mobility, decreased stress level, decreased body fat levels, improved posture and coordination.

Some may cycle for leisure while others may think of it as a means of transportation towards work, or even as a competitive sport. You can cycle as a mode of transport, for casual activity, or as an intense, competitive endeavour.

The benefits of cycling have always been known to many, but there are more than just health reasons.

Health benefits of regular cycling

• increased cardiovascular fitness

• increased muscle strength and flexibility

• improved joint mobility

• decreased stress levels

• improved posture and coordination

• strengthened bones

• decreased body fat levels

• prevention or management of disease

• reduced anxiety and depression

Cycling and Specific Health Issues

Cycling can improve both physical and mental health, and can reduce the chances of experiencing many health problems.

Obesity and weight control

If you’re trying to lose weight, cycling must be combined with a healthy eating plan.

Cycling is a good way to control or reduce weight, as it raises your metabolic rate, builds muscle and burns body fat. Cycling is a comfortable form of exercise and you can change the time and intensity – it can be built up slowly and varied to suit you.

Steady cycling burns about 1,200 kilojoules (about 300 calories) per hour. If you cycle twice a day, the kilojoules burnt soon add up. British research shows that a half-hour bike ride every day will burn nearly five kilograms of fat over a year.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular diseases include stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack. Regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels. Research also 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.


Many researchers have studied the relationship between exercise and cancer, especially colon and breast cancer. It has proved that if you cycle, the chance of bowel cancer is reduced. Some evidence suggests that regular cycling reduces the risk of breast cancer.


Lack of physical activity is thought to be a major reason why people develop type 2 diabetes. Large-scale research in Finland found that people who cycled for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes.

Bone injuries and arthritis

Cycling improves strength, balance and coordination. It may also help to prevent falls and fractures. Riding a bike is an ideal form of exercise if you have osteoarthritis because it is a low-impact exercise that places little stress on joints.

Cycling does not specifically help osteoporosis (bone-thinning disease) because it is not a weight-bearing exercise.

Mental illness

Cycling can ease feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. Focusing on the road while you’re cycling helps develop concentration and awareness of the present moment. This may help take your focus away from the mental chatter of your day.

If you find yourself feeling lethargic or listless, get yourself on your bike for at least 10 minutes. Exercise releases endorphins, which in turn help you feel better while lowering stress levels. You may feel more confident and content once you make cycling a regular part of your life.

Slowed Aging

Researchers found that high-intensity cycling (and other high-intensity interval training) can have major anti-ageing benefits down to the cellular level. The study

found that people who did high-intensity exercises had an increase in mitochondrial capacity.

A decline in mitochondria can lead to physical decline, so the better your mitochondria can function, the more rejuvenated you will be—all the way down to a cellular level.

You probably already know that cycling is good for you—any exercise is better than no exercise, right? But did you know that riding a bike offers a whole host of additional health benefits besides the physical perks?


Nutrition Guide for Cyclists

While proper nourishment is essential for any successful athlete, cyclists especially require high amounts of energy to power their bodies through long rides.  

Fueling and refuelling with the correct nutrition will help you bike harder, faster, stronger, and further!!

If you are keen on cycling, you’re probably interested in your diet, health and weight and as well — but if you find nutrition information dry, chewy and a real headache, it’s time to go back to basics.

Consume the right amount of calories

The first thing to celebrate if you’ve just taken upcycling is that it increases your calorie requirement. Before you run to the fridge to indulge in your favourite treat, however, be aware that many cyclists end up rewarding themselves above and beyond the calories burnt on a ride, so although you can eat a little more, try not to abandon healthy choices or to max out on portions.

Get these things right and the rest is just the icing on the cake. From the importance of carbohydrate and protein to when and what to eat and drink before, during and after a ride, we have the answers.

Carbohydrate: the body’s fuel supply

Eating enough protein

Good fats, Not bad fats

Eat the right vitamins and minerals

Make sure you drink enough to perform at your best

Get your pre-ride nutrition timing right

It can be pretty difficult working out what to eat prior to a ride and I think most cyclists will have experienced both cycling hungry and trying to pedal uphill with a stomach that feels like it has a lead weight in it!

Neither of these is a particularly pleasant experience. To avoid these situations, time your pre-ride meal for at least 90 minutes prior to hitting the road.

Oatmeal is an all-time favourite precycling meal.

Oats are nutrient-dense while being low on the GI. Oatmeal can be dressed up with a number of delicious and nutritious toppings.

Also read : The benefits of drinking oat milk

Recovery food

The first 20 minutes after a ride is known to be the optimal refuelling period where nutrients are taken up more efficiently and transported to the muscle stores. Taking on a carbohydrate-rich meal or drink in this period will improve the rate at which your energy stores refill, which will have a direct impact on how much stored energy you have available for your next ride.

For the best recovery results…eat a full, well-balanced meal within an hour of finishing any strenuous workout.

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: