One of the risks of cycling is becoming addicted to it! And this is only half a joke. There are so many reasons why cycling is awesome and we all would like to have more spare time to ride our bikes. People start riding for very different reasons. Some ride for the sport of cycling, others just to commute to school/work, or as an easy way to move in cities and avoid traffic jams. Some love to travel and spend their holidays on a bike. Many starts cycling during injury rehab, when exercise is recommended but running is not possible. Whatever the reason, there is a good chance that once the first few rides are under the belt, riding becomes an enjoyable activity. Among other things, riding allows greater distances to be covered compared to walking and running with a lower perceived effort. This spares the monotony of always walking or running always the around the same local loops. But clearly there is much more to it.
There is a lot of scientific evidence demonstrating that riding (and exercising in general) stimulates the release of the body's “feel-good” chemicals, endorphins. Endorphins interact with the brain, reducing the perception of pain and effort. Being active can act as a stress reliever and distract from daily worries; researchers have recognised the positive effects of riding on mood states such as stress and anxiety. Exercise at moderate intensity can also help with suppressing inflammation in the body, assist with weight control, improve sleep quality, and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. With riding being a somehow repetitive motion/action (turning the pedals in circle) it’s possible to concentrate on the body’s movements in a way that resemble the narrow focus (for example on breathing) experienced during meditation. This focus on a single task is the reason some refer to cycling as “meditation in motion”.
Whatever the reason you ride for, ideally exercise is not just another thing on a to-do-list. Riding and exercising should be practiced in the most enjoyable way and become part of our regular routine.
This (link) article on WebMD summarises some of the benefits from exercise.