Bicycles are commonly used by people seeking to improve their
fitness and cardiovascular health. In this regard, bicycling is
especially helpful for those with arthritis of the lower limbs and who
are unable to pursue sports such as running that involve more impact to
joints such as the knees.
Cycling while seated is a relatively non-weight bearing exercise that, like swimming,
does little to promote leg bone strength. Cycling up and out of the
saddle, on the other hand, does a better job by transferring more of
the rider's body weight to the legs. This latter style of cycling is
considered less energy-efficient, and can cause damage to the knees.
Endurance cycling is an Aerobic exercise, Sprint Cycling is an Anaerobic exercise,
however both types involve both forms of exercise to some degree and
can improve cardiovascular health, a measure of cardiovascular health
is Vo2 max.
Cycling makes use of the largest muscles in the body (the Gluteus Maximus and Quadriceps)
so it is good for people who are trying to lose body fat. Exercising at
low intensity is better for people who want to lose weight as the body
doesn't have the chance to burn fat at high work rates and will burn
glycogen instead (although the body will replace the burnt glycogen by
metabolising body fat as soon as it can - see Krebs cycle).
It has been estimated that, on average, approximately 20 life-years
are gained from the health benefits of road bicycling for every
life-year lost through injury .
Injuries can be divided into 2 types:
- Physical trauma (extrinsic)
- overuse (intrinsic).
Acute physical trauma includes injuries to the head and extremities resulting from falls and collisions.
Overuse injuries, including chronic nerve damage at weight bearing
locations, can occur as a result of repeatedly riding a bicycle for
extended periods of time. Damage to the ulnar nerve in the palm, the genitourinary tract  or bicycle seat neuropathy  may result from overuse. In extreme cases, Pudendal Nerve Entrapment can be a source of intractable perineal pain .
Some bicyclists with induced pudendal nerve pressure neuropathy gained
relief from improvements in saddle position and riding techniques .