What Are the Health Benefits of Unicycling?
The unicycle is a single-track, person-powered transportation device on one wheel. Unicycles are not as complex as bicycles, but they do require the rider to master a whole new skill set to balance and ride. Four main types of unicycling are practiced: muni, trail, freestyle and distance. They all offer numerous health benefits for those who ride at least three times per week.
Cardiovascular Health Benefits
Unicycling is a low-impact workout. It provides the same cardiovascular benefits as many workouts that are harsher on your joints. According to research by the Hilary Commission in New Zealand, unicycling is an aerobic exercise that lowers your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the type that is considered especially bad for you, when performed regularly. Although any type of aerobic workout may result in short-term fatigue, it ultimately results in increased stamina as your body adapts to a more active lifestyle.
Unicycling works the calf muscles. Defining your calf muscles is a big bonus when you are trying to gain strength and develop a buff body. As you strive and develop balance on the unicycle, it also tones your core muscles. Proper strengthening of the core muscles often improves overall wellness. The core muscles include the internal obliques, traverse abdominis and rectus abdominis.
Unicycling is a common part of the Japanese educational curriculum because it teaches and improves balance and motor skills. To maintain balance on the unicycle, you need to focus, and this act can free the mind and allow you to let go of stress as well.
Other Health Benefits
As reported by the Mayo Clinic, a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise that is performed thrice per week reduces cognitive decline in seniors. Also, aerobic exercise promotes longevity. Since unicycling strengthens the muscles, it promotes mobility as you grow older. It's a healthy habit to form for life. Remember to consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Precautions for Unicyclists
Reaping the health benefits of unicycle riding means taking care of yourself when riding, too. Always wear a helmet when riding a unicycle on the street. Use knee pads and shin protection pads for protection as well. Wrist guards and ankle guards are necessary. Wrist guards are especially important because unicycle riders most often fall forward and need to catch themselves with their hands. Low shoes with flat soles provide optimal comfort for riders.
Robin Raven was first published in 1998. She has contributed to newspapers, magazines and online publications, including "The Malibu Times," "Act'ionLine" for Friends of Animals, USA Today Travel Tips and the official Melissa Gilbert website. Raven specializes in travel, health, beauty, culture, vegan nutrition, joyful living, arts and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing.