Cycling is something most kids learn as children for fun. Learning how to ride your bike is a rite of passage as we experiment with training wheels and then two wheels. Most people gradually leave their bicycles behind as they approach the age where they can legally drive. However, bicycles are not just about transportation but also a great workout tool.
Not Just a Joy Ride
Cycling is key to helping with cardiovascular and muscular endurance. The main result of cycling is that it involves the heart and muscles, developing the endurance in both. Almost all of your muscles from head to toe are involved in helping you move on your bike. The abs, pectoral, arm, back, buttock, and leg muscles are all refined as they work together to keep you actively in motion. Biking is also a great way to work on your legs. Cyclists have legs worth admiring – their calves, glutes, and quads are what keep the bike moving, and while they do the work they are getting toned. Even your upper body will be putting in work as you navigate the handlebars and work on your balance, which can also benefit your core.
If you’re feeling depleted of energy, cycling is a great way to get some of that spring back in your step. Sure you have to expend energy into biking, but a study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics revealed that bike riding can decrease your fatigue by 65%. Not only that, but your energy levels will be improved by 20%. Even people who are cycling at moderate speeds see these benefits, because while riding your brain releases the energy-inducing chemical, dopamine.
Becoming A Serious Biker
People are really starting to jump on the bicycle bandwagon. Maybe this is because of the thousands of miles of new bicycle lanes in major cities, biking trails in national parks, or because people are seeing it as a healthy alternative for both themselves and the environment. If you live within five miles of your office, riding 20 minutes to work and then back every day is completely achievable. Even biking to work twice a week will help you burn up to 3,000 calories in a month. That’s about one pound of fat.
The rising popularity of cycling is great because it is one of the most effective workouts you can do. Of course, you can’t just ride from point A to point B and expect to build up your endurance. You have to maintain a steady pace as you ride for long periods of time, and adding intervals of high-speed into your workout will also help, more than pausing to rejuvenate would. Just make sure you pay attention to your body if it begins to feel sore – cycling can put stress on the joints in your knees, ankles, and spine. But as long as you keep your knees just slightly bent as you downpedal, you should be able to save yourself some stiffness. If you ever need to get your bike height or pedals adjusted, you can take it to a professional fitter to perfect the levels. You can then even add more of a challenge to your body by experimenting with different terrain like hills, or work on your endurance by implementing intervals of running.