Cycling is rising in popularity among all age demographics, and it is even hailed as the ‘new golf’ as more people and professionals are exchanging their clubs for the two-wheeler. Bicycle riding is a fun way to stay outdoors and exercise offering many health benefits. It builds muscles, improves cardiovascular fitness, strengthens bones, and decreases stress levels. For many riders, becoming a better and fitter cyclist is a goal, and engaging in cross-training sports enhances endurance, reduces the risks of injury, and improves performance.

1. Swimming for Physical and Mental Benefits

Swimming is an important life skill that is both fun and safe to do, offering several health benefits. Moreover, learning to swim lowers the risk of early death by 28%, according to a study by Swim England. It is a low-impact activity with many advantages. Swimming requires every muscle to move which making it a complete body workout. Whether it’s a vigorous butterfly stroke or a leisurely breaststroke, swimming complements cycling perfectly.

The activity builds strength, tones muscles, and increases lung capacity. Hence, the next time you’re climbing up a hill, you will probably be in a better position to scale heights if you take up cross-training sports such as swimming that works up your lungs and builds stamina.

Cross-Training Sports for cyclists - swimming
Cross-Training Sports for cyclists: Swimming is an important life skill that is both fun and safe to do, offering several health benefits.: Photo by Serena Repice Lentini on Unsplash

2. Skiing Improves Fitness

Training during the winter months is a challenge not only because of the cold temperatures, but also the conditions of the road. A great alternative to stay fit is to go skiing. For example, going cross-country skiing will make you burn lots of calories, more than other forms of exercise. Skiing also tones up lower body muscles and enhances flexibility.

Being a weight-bearing exercise, it strengthens your knees and bones that will prevent or reduce serious injuries later in life. It is also a proprioceptive sport involving balance and coordination. The ability to feel the position of moving body parts requires brainpower something that is useful in cycling because a heightened awareness of body parts assists in balancing on the saddle.

3. Running Builds Strong Bones

Running and jogging are two activities that offer several gains. Like skiing, running is also a weight-bearing exercise and helps build strong bones. The stronger the bones and muscles, the fewer injuries you can sustain as you get older. Moreover, it helps strengthen muscles and improves cardiovascular fitness. This is beneficial for mountain bikers and cyclists who need aerobic strength and muscular endurance to climb steep hills, go through difficult terrain, and carry bikes. It is also a good workout if you have no access to a bike, but would like to stay fit.

Running cyclist
You may want to mix your cycling sessions with some high-impact exercises like running.

4. Hiking Relaxes and Boosts Health

When you walk or do long hikes, you improve endurance, reduce risks for heart diseases, enhance bone density, and maintain a healthy weight. It is also a relaxing activity to be in nature lowering stress levels. Cycling on roads can become a stressful undertaking requiring focus and concentration for your safety and that of others. Hiking can help you unwind making you fitter and calmer the next time you get on your bike and hit the road. Running or jogging assists in improving moods and in promoting well-being.

5. Gymnastics Refines Complex Motor Skills

The sport might not be for everyone, but if you ever want an activity that offers tremendous benefits, gymnastics is a good alternative. It improves endurance, tones muscles, and enhances flexibility. Furthermore, gymnastics sharpens cognitive functioning, promotes good bone health and coordination. It also instills discipline, a trait that can benefit you immensely when cycling or training.

Cycling is not only an enjoyable sport but also a very challenging activity from planning the best routes to keeping well while on the road. The good news is cross-training can offer several activities that help boost cycling performance and pleasure.

Jane Sandwood

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