30 minutes, 300 calories burned, and 20% reduced risk of cancer—all through cycling

30 minutes of cycling helped older men burn 300 calories and prevent prostate cancer, according to research

older man in spin class
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you like cycling? Whether you enjoy wearing the classic lycra outfit for a long trip
outdoors on your favorite road-bike, you prefer a sweaty spin-class indoors, or you use cycling to spend time with your family, there's no denying it's a great form of exercise guaranteed to improve your health.

It's the reason the best exercise bikes are so popular: all the benefits of cycling and spin classes, and you can do it all at home while watching TV. But it's recently been found that cycling on indoor bikes, along with similar aerobic exercises, for just 30 minutes can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in older men. 

Researchers from Newcastle University (opens in new tab) in the UK examined 16 men aged 50 to 80. All the participants had lifestyle risk factors for bowel cancer, such as being overweight or obese and not physically active. 

Asked to cycle for 30 minutes and monitored over the next 48 hours, the researchers found an increase in a particular protein, interleukin-6 (IL-6), which helps repair damaged cells.

This protein contributes to the body's efforts to fight against cancer, particularly mitigating bowel cancer risk in men. 

Woman cycling on an exercise bike in spin class

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dr Sam Orange of Newcastle University wrote: "Previous scientific evidence suggests that more exercise is better for reducing bowel cancer risk as the more physical activity people do, the lower their chances of getting it. Our findings support this idea.

"When exercise is repeated multiple times each week over an extended period, cancer-fighting substances released into the bloodstream have the opportunity to interact with abnormal cells, repairing their DNA and reducing growth into cancer."

So, want to get active? The recommended 30 minutes of cycling also burns almost 300 calories, according to Harvard University (opens in new tab), as well as raising your metabolism to continue chewing through fat after your workout has finished. The best exercise bikes, spin classes, and outdoor cycling are all great options for doing so. 

However, that doesn't mean your choice is limited to cycling: to get cardiovascular exercise with optional added resistance, you might also go for one of the best rowing machines. Rowing machines also offer cardio benefits, but the resistance also works your grip strength, arms, back muscles, core and legs as you pull the cable back with your biceps and push against the machine with your legs. 

It's an incredibly versatile fitness tool, and many top rowers are collapsible too, taking up less space than an exercise bike in their upright position.  If you're looking to slim down, you can check out our rowing for weight loss 30-day plan to kick-start your new rowing regime. 

Matt Evans
News Editor

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.