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The Unexpected Benefits of Winter Cycling

(Reading time: 11 - 22 minutes)
Tuesday, 16 January 2024 04:20; Read 126 times

Hello friends, this is the Podcast "30 km/h with the Downshifter Blog of Lupo".winter bicycling 03

My name is Lyubo, my friends call me Lupo and I am the host of this podcast.

Winter is coming!

Yesterday I rode my bike on the plateau at a full 9 degrees Celsius, which, however, felt like no more than 1 / 2 degrees Celsius due to the huge humidity from the rains the day before.

Winter is coming, yes.

Looking at Strava in the morning while drinking my coffee, seeing where everyone has ridden, and more and more virtual rides in Zwift are coming up.

Ooo, no!winter bicycling 01

I stop looking at Strava with my coffee in the morning!

Definitely. :)

I personally love riding my bike 365 days a year outdoors.

Do you avoid riding a bike outside in winter?

Maybe because you're afraid of the COLD, worried that cycling in the Cold winter might bring you illness or injury?

If so... now is exactly the time to rethink all that!winter bicycling 03

Recent scientific research over the past few years reveals a surprising truth:

The courage to cycle in the winter COLD is not only a "Mission Possible", but it turns out that winter cycling is "An Exceptionally Beneficial Mission!".

Imagine transforming those dark, cold mornings into a source of health and vitality.

Winter cycling is not just another workout in the gym or yet another pointless ride in Zwift!

Cycling outdoors in the winter largely changes the rules of the game.

Pedaling in the cold offers a unique combination of physical and psychological benefits.winter bicycling 04

Benefits that far outweigh the limitations and tedium of indoor training in front of yet another screen.

In winter, the cold, the short days, the temptation to stay cozily at home – all of this makes us one way or another less active, which in turn inevitably leads to more isolation and a decrease in mood.

But here's the interesting part: winter cycling is not only one of the super effective types of sports, but also ATTENTION (a surprising fact): there is a much lower chance of injuries in winter cycling compared to popular winter sports like cross-country skiing and alpine skiing disciplines.

But, of course, let's not forget that the icy embrace of winter requires a great deal of experience, attention, and most importantly, respect!

Suitable equipment and adequate safety measures are mandatory for both you and your faithful steed.winter bicycling 05

In one of the upcoming episodes of "Downshifter Podcast with Lupo" we will dive deep, very deep into the topic: "Equipment for Riding in the COLD. HOT Tips for your next Cold Weather Bike Trek".

Today, however, we will turn our attention to something much more exciting: “The Unexpected and Undiscovered Benefits of Winter Bicycling”.

Today we will reveal COLD secrets that will HOTLY motivate you to enjoy the COLD and get out more for riding and adventures on two wheels this winter.

I. Starting with ...

The Surprising Power of Winter Cycling: Turbocharging and Fat Burning!

Ever wondered if there's some secret weapon that can fill your fitness arsenal with magical power?winter bicycling 06

Yes! Such magical power exists!

This magical power lies unused within you, stored on your thighs and back, sitting in storage unused in a place a few centimeters behind the navel.

No, no. We're not talking about another unknown Chi Kung technique. No!

It's about using the COLD as an ally. The cold working in your favor.

Imagine this:

As you pedal through the fresh winter air, your body kicks into high gear not only as it fights the cold, but actually transforms into a powerful furnace, a nuclear power plant for burning... fat.winter bicycling 07

That's right – winter cycling is not just an endurance test, it is a scientifically based method for supercharging metabolism and quickly and effectively burning off excess pounds.

Unleashing the Metabolic Miracle.

Recent medical research reveals the following dependency and unsuspected fact: the courage to ride a bike outside in the Cold does more than just make the heart beat faster.

Active sports in the Cold turn your body into a metabolic giant, effectively burning body fat, strengthening the cardiovascular and respiratory system, and simultaneously significantly boosting your mood.

Pay attention to this significant or ?insignificant? detail: Cycling in the cold requires much more from your body than the same cycling in warm weather.

This means burning more calories, building significantly greater endurance in the body, and as a result, we get a leaner and much more prepared body for challenges.winter bicycling 08

The secret of brown fat...

Brown fat...? What?

There is actually something extremely important in these modern scientific studies on the topic of cycling outdoors in the Cold!

Have you ever heard of brown fat???

Perhaps this is the first time for you, as it was for me, hearing this term!

Keep in mind that brown fat will fundamentally change the way you look at training in the Cold.winter bicycling 9

Brown fat, unlike the most commonly found white fat in the body, is your personal heater.

Brown fat is your personal stash of highly enriched uranium for the atomic power plant hidden just a few fingers behind the navel in each of us.

Extremely mitochondria-rich brown fat, these little brown cellular power plants turn cold into heat,

Brown fat creates heat that keeps you warm while burning huge amounts of those super annoying white fat cells for each of us.

The duel between brown and white fat.

So, what's the ajiba difference between brown and white fat?winter bicycling 10

In short, simply put, white fat stores energy, while brown fat burns energy...

White fat is also called subcutaneous fatty tissue.

Subcutaneous fatty tissue is found mainly in the abdomen in men, and in women in the buttocks, thighs, breasts, and also in the abdomen.

The second type of fat in the human body is called brown fat.

It is called Brown because in this special type of fat cells, there are exceptionally many mitochondria.

Mitochondria are those mysterious parts / organelles in our cells that generate energy.winter bicycling 11

The body has much less brown fat compared to white fat in terms of percentage.

Brown fat is mainly located in the upper part of the back between the shoulder blades, situated among the muscles in the upper back, under the skin.


When you ride a bike outside in the cold, you not only activate brown fat, brown fat becomes your faithful ally.

Yes, an ally, and together you declare war on white fat.

The purpose of this alliance and duel with white fat is not only in the search and creation of heat! winter bicycling 12

No, it transforms the approach of your body to fats as a whole by 180 degrees.

The more and the more regularly you ride outside in the Cold, the more efficient your body becomes in burning white fat, thanks to your alliance with brown fat.

To manifest the miracle and effect of brown fat, you need to activate it by adding a magical spice.

Hmmm... What is this magical spice?

The magical spice is called: OUTDOOR CYCLING IN THE COLD.

Here, the skeptic in us murmurs: winter bicycling 13

Are there long-term health benefits to all this?

Of course, there are! Yes!

Okay, but will there be a long-term effect?

There will be a long-term effect! Yes!

The long-term effect is no less remarkable.

Regularly dealing with the Cold on two wheels will lead to sustainable weight management and significantly reduce the risk of problems that come as uninvited guests with overweight.

This process of adapting to cold conditions, combined with the physical effort of winter cycling, will lead to lasting improvements in body fat management and improve overall metabolic health.winter bicycling 14

And there, the effect is there! Yes!

Winter cycling not only increases your endurance to the cold, but here we are actually talking about how to take advantage of the Cold.

Cycling in the Cold is the magic herb in this journey to transform the body into a much more efficient, fat-burning machine.

So friends, are you ready to embrace the Cold?

Get rid of that Zwift finally and let's go out and ride!

In the meantime, you can put your expensive fancy home bike trainer in one of the Facebook groups for sale.

Hurry up though, before the other cyclists haven't heard about what we are going to talk about in the next few minutes until the end of this Podcast! :)winter bicycling 15

II. The next winter topic we will clarify today is:

Winter Cycling as a Shield for the Immune System!

Have you ever thought of winter cycling in the cold as a powerful, secret weapon against colds and flu?

Yes, you heard right!

Winter cycling is not just an exciting challenge!

Cycling in winter is a blessing for the Immune system.winter bicycling 16

The Miracle of Adaptation to the Cold

As you pedal against the fresh winter breeze, your body not only warms up, but it undergoes an exceptional metamorphosis and deep transformation.

This adaptation to the Cold is not just adaptation and endurance to the Cold, but here we are talking about strengthening your Immune defense.

Regular walks in the cold train the body to be much more resistant to viruses and bacteria, building a stronger shield against colds and viruses.

The essence of the matter is Improved circulation.

When cycling in cold weather, your heart works much harder, stimulating blood circulation and not just the circulation of blood.winter bicycling 17

Cycling in the Cold is not just another cardio workout, it is the secret to the revival of the immune system.

As a result of improved blood circulation, your immune cells can travel much faster and more effectively throughout the body, defending it against invaders, enemies.

Metabolic Heat Wave for Boosting Immunity.

When the surrounding temperature significantly drops, your metabolic rate increases proportionally.

This is your body's way of generating heat, but it also gives an advantage to your immune system.

A higher metabolism means stronger production of immune cells, bringing you even more brave warriors in the fight against infections.

Inflammation: The Lurking Enemy from the Shadows.winter bicycling 18

Cycling, with its rhythmic, moderate intensity, is known for its positive effect in reducing inflammation.

Although inflammation is actually part of the body's immune response, too much inflammation can become an unexpected enemy from the shadows.

By reducing and keeping inflammation under control, cycling 365 days a year keeps your immune system from exhausting itself in battles against false alarms.

The Connection Between Stress and Immunity.

Here's another fact and unexpected long-term effect – cycling in the COLD is a relentless destroyer of stress.

Less stress means a happier immune system.winter bicycling 19

When you are relaxed and worry-free, your immune system functions without the heavy chains of stress hormones.

And Rayko Shines Even in the Cold of Winter!

Even in winter, the Magician Rayko - the Sun is your most true and faithful ally.

Outdoor cycling under the rays of the Sun leads to the production of more vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a critical player, playing first violin in the choir performing this winter's Immune Symphony.

Since many of us do not get enough of this sunny vitamin during the winter, outdoor cycling offers a completely natural way to discover more golden, shining in the COLD deposits of vitamin D.

The Connection Between Immunity and Sleep.winter bicycling 20

Good sleep is another essential advantage in the daily life of a cyclist.

Well, keep in mind that when you sleep well, your immune system gets the necessary time to rest, recover, and recharge, preparing for the next day.

Hormonal harmony.

Cycling outside in the Cold helps to maintain a harmonious balance of hormones, especially cortisol - the stress hormone.

In the right amounts, cortisol is a friend, but in excess, it can dangerously reduce the body's immune response.

Cycling provides this so important balance for our body.winter bicycling 21

Hormonal balance, which keeps the immune system in fighting shape.

But after all the good things, there comes a warning:

Don't forget that although cycling in the cold can strengthen the immune system, there is a very fine line.

Too cold weather or excessive exertion can turn out to be harmful.

Appropriate clothing and attention to your body's signals are crucial factors for fully leveraging the benefits of outdoor cycling in the COLD.

So, gear up well!

It's time to turn the cold trails into roads of health and resilience.winter bicycling 22

Winter cycling is not just a challenge – it's the best friend of the immune system.

After we've thoroughly explored the Immune System and the effect of cycling in the Cold, it's time for:

III. The Wonders of Winter Cycling.

Unleashing your inner strength.

Have you ever thought of the cold, challenging winter as your personal gym for building Unsurpassed Endurance and Strength?

Unsurpassed Endurance and STRENGTH!winter bicycling 23


That's exactly what winter cycling offers.

Endurance Benefits?

Think about it – the cold in the air, the paths covered with frozen dewdrops.

These are not dangers and obstacles, they are your allies in training.

Winter cycling tests your body, elevating physical and mental endurance to new heights.winter bicycling 24

  1. Resistance Factor:

Imagine riding against a wall of denser, cold air or navigating through an endless labyrinth of slippery roads.

Your muscles will work overtime, your heart will beat much harder.

This is not just another bike ride!

This is a masterclass in endurance!

  1. Core Muscle Strength and Balance:

Winter roads are the balancing cross obstacles and beams before us.winter bicycling 25

They require more interaction with your core, thus teaching your body to find stability amidst instability.

Cycling on winter roads is a workout and test for the abdominal muscles, disguised as another bike ride.

Endurance and More Muscle Strength:

Winter cycling is not just a test that strengthens endurance.

Here it is about growth and fortification.

Every pedal turned in the cold is a step towards even stronger muscles.

You are not only fighting the cold, you are becoming a sculptor like Michelangelo, shaping not only your legs, but also your abdomen, chest, and back.winter bicycling 26

Adaptation to resistance:

As you continue to ride regularly during the winter, your muscles adapt, becoming stronger, more resilient.

This is a slow and gradual, but extremely powerful transformation.

The mental marathon:

The cold is as much a mental challenge as it is physical.

What do I mean?

One of the mental challenges is Overcoming discomfort.winter bicycling 27

Accepting and working in the cold requires mental endurance that goes beyond the limits of ordinary cycling.

Here we talk about developing a new mindset that accepts and deals with even more challenges.

An important mental challenge is Sharper focus.

The need to be vigilant on icy roads sharpens and polishes your focus and concentration like a sunlit diamond!

Focus and concentration are invaluable both on and off the bike.

The next important mental challenge is Adaptation to the cold:

As you continue with regular winter cycling, your body learns the art of heat management, physical adaptation, and endurance.winter bicycling 28

All of this is evidence of your growing day-by-day Endurance and Strength.

Every winter ride is a victory, a step towards even better psychological resilience.

Psychological resilience becomes a reality through building a positive approach where you see new opportunities in every new challenge.

Winter cycling means there are no bad or good seasons.

By building a cycling routine 365 days a year, you ensure that your endurance and strength will not just survive the winter - they will far exceed it..

And as you ride On The Road forward, don't forget: winter bicycling 29

Preparation and caution are key factors when cycling in the winter.

Ensure you have the right equipment and listen carefully and respectfully to your body's signals.

Winter cycling is about overcoming limits, not destroying them.

Embrace winter - it's not just a season; it's an opportunity to reveal your true maximum potential!

 So friends, are you ready to embrace the Cold?

Get rid of that Zwift already and come on, I'm waiting for you outside to ride together!winter bicycling 30

IV. Journey to Mental Health, Happiness, and Well-being

Imagine turning the dark and cold gloomy winter days into an artistic canvas of bright watercolors improving your positive mental status.

This is the power of winter cycling.

Winter cycling is a natural antidote to seasonal depression.

It's our faithful and optimistic joker friend - a mood booster.

The Dark Shadow of SADwinter bicycling 31

Winter in the big city brings with it the dark burden of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Seasonal Affective Disorder (abbreviated as SAD) is a type of depression related to the changing seasons around us.

As the leaves fall and the days shorten, SAD often casts a dark shadow, lingering long in our daily lives.

Gloomy and long SAD periods during winter.

While preparing for this Winter podcast, like many of you, I learned about SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder for the first time.

Initially, I wondered if this was indeed the correct name and translation from the English term SAD into the Bulgarian language.winter bicycling 32

It sounded to me like some dark form of depression or addiction.

Yes, SAD, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is precisely a type of depression that appears during certain seasons of the year, usually in autumn and winter.

This disorder is characterized by symptoms such as reduced mood, lack of interest or pleasure in activities that are usually enjoyable, changes in appetite and sleep, fatigue, and a feeling of anxiety or even despair.

Light therapy, as well as increased exposure to natural light through activities such as outdoor cycling, are some of the most commonly used effective methods for treating SAD.

Your bicycle just became your personal winter Beacon of Hope.

Riding under the winter sky exposes you much more directly to natural daylight, resetting your internal clock and reducing the gloomy grip of SAD.winter bicycling 33

Let's not forget the effect of Vitamin D.

While pedaling in the cold, you are not just moving along the roads, with every cell of your skin you are absorbing the winter Sun.

This sunlight assists in the production of vitamin D, and vitamin D is a critical element in warding off depressive symptoms, especially symptoms of SAD.

The winter bike workout is a magical elixir of happiness.

Endorphins - Nature's Natural Happiness Pills.

Every turn of the ice-covered pedals releases waterfalls of endorphins in your body. 

Endorphins are nature's natural antidepressants.winter bicycling 34

They bring waves of happiness, a welcome diversion and variety from the oppressive grey of the big city in winter.

Cycling is not just rhythmic fitness.

Cycling is a rhythmic escape from the clutches of stress.

The repetitive motion, focus on the road, all of this subconsciously harmonizes us, calming the mind, reducing both stress and anxiety.

Brain Super Power on Two Wheels.

Yes! While cycling, your heart pumps more oxygen to your brain, creating conditions for a massive improvement in the brain's cognitive functions.

Regular cycling is not just a workout for the body!winter bicycling 35

Biking is a direct stimulus for the brain that improves focus and concentration.

The Social Wheel. Group Rides. Social Connections.

For those who love group rides, winter cycling provides even more valuable social connections, saving us from self-isolation.

Unfortunately, self-isolation is most often associated with the winter season.

The Song and Rhythm of Routine.

Regular cycling creates a sense of routine and structure, which is essential for our mental health.

Regular cycling is the daily dose of normality and an extremely important goal to follow, especially during the long winter months.winter bicycling 36

Love for the Love of Winter Nature.

Riding through winter landscapes is not just exercise, it's an intimate dance with nature.

This is a completely natural form of psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy that alleviates symptoms and heals depression, heals anxiety while you seamlessly blend with the beauty of the world around you.

Every ride outside in the cold is a Victory.

Every ride outside in the cold is a testament to your resilience.winter bicycling 37

It's not just proof of endurance against the cold, no.

Cycling in the cold is a celebration of strength, boosting your self-esteem and mood.

And yet, time for a psycho reminder:

Although winter cycling is a BEACON guiding us to mental well-being in the storm of the night, don't forget that cycling is not a standalone cure for serious mental problems and illnesses.

While you train and learn to embrace the Cold, don't forget to dress appropriately beforehand.

Winter is the season when you need to pay twice as much attention to the needs of your steed.winter bicycling 38

To clean it, lubricate it, and take care of it.

Only in this way can you guarantee safe and pleasant riding.

At the end of this Podcast, let's also talk about The Battle with the Elements - A Test of Endurance

Imagine yourself on one of the many winter brevets from the calendar of Audax Bulgaria's velomarathoners.

Imagine standing on two wheels against the piercing wind and the icy cold air at times.

This winter brevet is not just another long bike ride.winter bicycling 39

No, this winter brevet is a test of your mental and physical capacity.

This winter brevet is a serious challenge that helps you explore and know yourself at an unexpected depth.

With the changing winter landscape, the conditions of riding also change.

This constant adaptability sharpens our mental flexibility, preparing us to face life's unexpected turns with grace, strength, and finesse.

Choosing to ride in the cold is the way to deal with and even come to love discomfort, to accept it as a companion and ally.

Such a journey turns discomfort into a catalyst for physical and mental growth.

Every moment you endure the Cold, you rewrite your mental script.winter bicycling 40

Challenges become steps, discomfort becomes growth, creating a mindset that sees potential in every difficulty.

To remain true to your winter riding routine is a testament to self-discipline.

This teaches you to respect commitments to yourself.

Focus on Two Wheels:

Winter cycling requires your utmost attention - an invaluable practice in focusing.

This heightened state of focus and present awareness is a skill that thus spreads beyond life on two wheels and enriches all aspects of our lives.winter bicycling 41

Not every ride is smooth. Yes!

Riding outside in the Cold is a dance of emotion with endurance.

So, it's time for the Conclusion of today's Podcast topic:

Winter cycling not only sculpts your physical form, but it also builds and shapes your mental strength.

The lessons learned through the love of winter reach far beyond riding.

They form a resilient mindset, which helps us cope with life's challenges.

Therefore, love and regularly practice winter cycling.winter bicycling 42

 Cycling in the Cold is not just fitness, NO!

Winter cycling is a journey to inner strength.

As we conclude today's journey through the peculiarities of winter cycling, let's summarize the benefits for us from this Cold adventure.

Winter cycling is a journey that goes beyond mere physical exertion.

It's the season of unexpected gifts - a time of the year to build resilience, both mental and physical.

A time to improve our health and connect with the quiet beauty of nature.winter bicycling 43

A time to effectively recalibrate our bodies to handle the Cold by burning excess fat.

A time to tackle those especially winter-sticky extra pounds.

The challenges of winter - the cold, sometimes dangerous roads - are not fatal obstacles.

They are rather good friends on our path to balance and resilience.

They shape us, they fortify us, and at the same time reveal to us the joys and benefits hidden out there in the Cold.

When we embrace winter, mounted on our whirlwind steeds, we do much more than simply move on two wheels through frozen landscapes.

We move on two wheels towards a much better version of ourselves.winter bicycling 44

Unnoticed, we fight seasonal depression, bathe in the gentle rays of the Sun.

We breathe the rejuvenating cold air and connect with the quiet beauty of nature.

When we talk about winter cycling, it's not just about pedaling through the cold!

In fact, it's all about rediscovering the warmth and beauty in the simple joys of life, hidden behind a thin crust of ice and frozen air.

Winter is an invitation to a journey that cares for our body, mind, and spirit in an unsuspected and most unexpected way.

 In conclusion, winter cycling is not just a sporting activity!winter bicycling 45

Winter cycling is a complete and challenging way to enjoy the beauty of nature, to improve your physical and mental health.

An effective way to deal with seasonal challenges in a very positive and constructive way.

Friends, we hope you enjoyed the topic of this Podcast!

We look forward to your comments and shared personal experiences and, of course, jokes in the comments under the Podcast, under the blog post, and under the link on Facebook!

 What's your attitude towards the maybe wrongly accused by me Zwift?

I would be very grateful if you share the advantages and interesting aspects of Zwift... if of course, you think there are any.

:)winter bicycling 46

Thanks to everyone who took the time for this Podcast review in the Downshifter Blog!

I am Lupo and I wish you Good Luck!