Cycling has many physical benefits and reduces risk of illness resulting from a sedentary lifestyle. It’s an aerobic activity that burns calories and targets core muscle groups to develop tone without bulk. There is no exercise that can increase height, but regular cycling elongates muscles and improves posture to give riders that lean, chiseled physique, which creates the appearance of increased height.
Regular cycling improves muscle strength, mobility and coordination. It uses all major muscle groups – hamstrings, glutes, hips and quads – and tones the lower and upper body. When pedaling, quads and glutes are activated and this builds lean muscle tissue in the lower body. Cycling also strengthens the core region by using the abdomen and back muscles to stabilize the body on the moving bike. This improves balance and posture. Fixing your form gives the illusion of increased height when you straighten those slumping shoulders and stand tall.
With a regular routine, cycling increases the chance of long-term success with weight loss. It boosts the basal metabolic rate (BMR), which means your body is burning calories even after the ride. Studies show that exercising 30 to 40 minutes daily will increase your BMR and have it burning calories through the day. Biking Magazine says the most effective way to burn calories and slim down is with high-intensity rides. Cycling also eats through calories while working out – a recreational ride at 30 minutes each day, can burn 11 pounds of fat in one year. You're not gaining inches on your height but you're burning inches off your waist, and the leaner you get, the taller you appear.
Cycling gets your body moving and heart beating. Regular cycling improves lung capacity, strengthens the respiratory muscles, and allows more oxygen-rich blood to flow through the body, which enhances performance and energy levels. This reflects in an improved physical appearance with an increased level of confidence that has you walking taller. Reports show people who bike regularly are more likely to be leaner, live healthier and be more confident than those who are inactive. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine observed 2,400 adults and found those who biked to work were more fit and lean, and were healthier with better blood levels than their non-cycling counterparts.
There is always the risk of harming your stature with a bike that doesn’t fit. USA Cycling recommends you see a qualified fitter to avoid potential discomfort caused by improper positioning of the “feet, seat and hands.” Incorrect positioning of the handelbars can damage your posture and may force your spine to round or arch, as well cause a hyper-extended neck. Saddle position is equally critical, if misplaced it can cause equal problems to your back and shoulders and create a hunch. Foot pain or numbness can usually be corrected by proper footwear or pedaling technique.