Joint pains. When you sit on a bike, you put your weight on a pair of bones in the pelvis called the ischial tuberosities, unlike walking, when you put your weight on your legs. "That makes it good for anyone with joint pain or age-related stiffness," says Dr. David Middaugh.
Cycling provides an excellent aerobic workout for long periods of time. That's great for your heart, brain, and blood vessels. Aerobic exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's feel-good chemicals—which may make you feel younger.
Builds muscle. In the power phase of pedaling (the downstroke), you use the gluteus muscles in the buttocks, the quadriceps in the thighs, and the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the calves. In the recovery phase (backstroke, up-stroke, and overstroke), you use the hamstrings in the back of the thighs and the flexor muscles in the front of the hips.
Cycling balances other muscles, too. You use core muscles to balance and stay upright, and you use your arm and shoulder muscles to balance and hold the handlebars.
Improved activities. The benefits carry over to balance, running, standing, endurance, and stair climbing.
Strengthens bone. Resistance activities, such as pushing pedals, pull on the muscles, and then the muscles pull on the bone, which increases bone density.