So, you’ve decided it’s time to lose weight and get in shape while at the same time having some fun. Have you thought about cycling for exercise?
Take a moment to consider how you feel when you ride your bike. Cycling is a wonderful way to raise the heart rate, get things done, and see the world from a much more intimate level. No matter which type of bike you choose, cycling will work your entire body. Plus, cycling is fun. You can do it at any time of the day, at almost any time of the year. You may want to wear different types of clothing at different times of the year, but bicycles are durable machines and, when set up properly, can endure any type of weather.
Why should you choose cycling for exercise?
When you choose a type of exercise, you want to know if it will actually benefit you in reaching your long-term health goals. There’s nothing worse than spending your time and sweat without positive results. Cycling is a great way to get exercise, with low-impact on the joints, which prompts you to be more consistent than in other forms of exercise.
How, specifically, does cycling benefit you and your body?
- Cycling is exercise with a purpose. Cycling for exercise and weight loss is all well and good and can be very successful. However, the question now becomes, how will the new or returning cyclist be able to maintain the exercise regimen this time, when he or she has never been able to do so in the past? Exercise with a purpose, i.e., cycling with a purpose, is the answer. If you force yourself to use your new bike to ride to work, to make a quick run to the convenience store for that candy bar you crave, to the bank or the post office or the PTA meeting, you will be cycling and exercising with a purpose. Maintaining that level of commitment and focus becomes much easier when there is a purpose involved, rather than simply “Trying to lose 10 pounds.”
- Cycling is easy to maintain. When it comes to regular exercise, you want to choose an activity that you can continue for the long haul; cycling is just such an activity. You can a simply ride around the neighborhood with family or friends; you can ride bike trails or on the streets alone; you can join “group rides” with fellow cycling enthusiasts. If your work is near enough to where you live, you can ride your bike to work in all sorts of weather. You can also ride your bike to perform chores and to make small shopping trips. Because bike riding is versatile, cycling will help you to increase the amount of exercise you do on a regular basis, and can be much more enjoyable than simply “working out.” (Exercise with a purpose tends to be more enjoyable, so we do it more consistently.)
- Cycling builds lean muscle. We have all been told that working muscle will burn more calories than fat. Biking uphill and staying on the cranks on a downhill, or riding in a higher gear on flat ground, will put most of the work of driving the bike forward on your quadriceps and hamstrings. You should also get a great workout for your calf muscles. Plus, cycling to work will give you two workouts a day, or two chances to “get aerobic,” which is better for you than one long workout anyway.
- Cycling works your core. For exercise, finding a piece of equipment that has the potential to help you flatten your tummy is gold. Riding a bike is about balance. Maintaining your balance requires you to hold your abdominal muscles tight, using your core. Also, bikes are designed with proper posture and body alignment in mind. The more you ride your bike the stronger and leaner your body will get, and the flatter your tummy will become.
- Cycling is inexpensive. While the initial investment in a bike can be substantial, the cost of maintaining and using your bike is minimal. Unlike so many investments you might make to improve your fitness, a bike becomes cheaper the more it’s used. Every mile, every hour you use your bike reduces the cost per use. You certainly can’t say that about your unused gym membership, or about the car that takes you there (often to ride a stationary bike!).
- Cycling reduces stress. Like all exercise, cycling is a great stress reducer. Plus, getting outside and seeing the world you live in up-close-and-personal brings a sense of peace and joy. Do you remember the sense of freedom you experienced as a kid on your bike? You can experience it again as an adult, if you choose to ride again.
- Cycling is a family activity. Obesity has become epidemic in children. Kids are notorious for stopping any activity when they get bored. Cycling can prevent even a child’s boredom. It did for you when you were a kid, didn’t it? Take a ride with your family in the evening or on the weekend. You can ride and chat at the same time, allowing for lively conversation while you and your family burn calories.
Just like walking or jogging, cycling is also an exercise that can be done solo or with a group. It’s easy to begin, productive, and fun to stick with. Now that you’ve been given 7 reasons to choose cycling for exercise, there is no excuse for you not to get out there and ride your bike.
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