This article originally appeared in Shape.
With countless indoor cycling studios closed across the nation and nearly everyone avoiding their local gyms due to COVID-19 concerns, it's only natural that so many new at-home stationary bikes have been staking their claim on the market. From Peloton's new Bike+ to SoulCycle's launch of an at-home bike, interest in cycling has seen a major spike since the start of the pandemic. (Psst, here are more exercise bikes to deliver a killer workout at home.)
But, as any dedicated cyclist knows, there's a lot more to the sport than flashy indoor bikes with on-demand, interactive workouts. Cycling is one of the best forms of cardio you can do, especially long-term. "Cycling is non-weight-bearing, so it reduces the risk of injuries due to wear and tear on your joints, particularly your knees," says Robert Mazzeo, Ph.D., associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Knees are commonly the first joints in the body to show signs of aging, so it's important to take care of them over your lifetime with healthy, gentle forms of cardio, such as cycling, he explains. (Related: How to Run Faster and Reduce Knee Pain All at Once)
With that in mind, if you're jumping on the bike for the first time, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor first. That way, you can implement any specific recommendations. Once you get the all-clear, here are a few ways you can expect your body and mind to change when you start cycling.