The great thing about cycling is that it’s suitable for people of all fitness levels, whether you’re very unfit, just starting out or have been exercising for years, you can hop on a bike and get a good workout from it. If you want to build up your fitness or are looking to switch up your routine, here are a few reasons you should hop on your bike!
1. Great for Beginners and Gym Bunnies Alike
Even if you suffer with back issues or for any reason running or walking isn’t suitable- biking is often a good choice. If you’re very overweight for example, exercising upright may put too much pressure on your back, knees and shins whereas with biking you’re seated so it’s low impact. It might not be quite as intuitive as walking, but it’s something most of us learn in childhood and never forget. And if you’re using a stationary bike, it’s simpler still! Most gyms will have spin bikes, upright bikes and recumbent bikes, each provide similar health benefits so just pick whichever one you prefer. If you want to get out and about and see the sites while getting some exercise, mountain biking is a great option. They give you the opportunity to get up and down hills, over rougher terrain such as through woods and fields. Biking can easily slot into your routine too since it’s a good form of transport, instead of going to the shop, post box or to work in your car just bike it instead. Just make sure you invest in mtb insurance and some good locks. That way you have peace of mind when you have to leave it anywhere.
2. Builds Cardiovascular Health
A strong heart and lungs allow your body to perform at it’s best potential, and means you feel fit. You will be able to go about your daily tasks (and more) without feeling tired or breathless. You don’t have to be held back or embarrassed due to your fitness, how many times have you climbed a few flights of stairs and tried hiding the fact that you’re huffing and puffing when you reach the top? Biking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, even if you’re very unfit, you can start slow and build your way up from there. Gradually increase time and resistance, and before you know it you’ll be able to push yourself, and your heart and lungs will be functioning far more efficiently.
3. Builds Strong Muscles, Joints, and Bones
When you have strong muscles, joints and bones in your body, it prevents you from injury and keeps you feeling fit and well. Usually repetitive motion on joints can cause them to wear and become painful, however, with cycling, this actually strengthens the joints in the knees. This is particularly useful as many of us experience knee pain as we age. Cycling isn’t a weight bearing activity so won’t directly strengthen bones, but strong muscles will help to strengthen them which is great for prevention against osteoporosis later in life. And of course, cycling builds muscle. Not bulky ‘body builder’ muscle but lean muscle that makes you look toned and defined. It will help to sculpt your legs, glutes and hips and even works your shoulders and core too. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you will burn at rest since muscle needs calories to maintain itself. This essentially boosts your metabolism as it means you can eat more without gaining weight. Ideal for those looking to stay trim.
4. Things to Remember
If you’ve always put off cycling because you find the seat uncomfortable, it’s easy to switch these out to wider varieties. This will help to support your pelvis keeping you far more comfortable and mean you don’t have to hop off after a few minutes. If you’re going to be biking out in public, be sure to stay safe. Always wear a helmet and reflective clothing at night, and follow the highway code- even if it’s just a short route. Many bikers are killed every day on the roads, you don’t want to take up the exercise to improve your health just to be killed or injured. Take precautions, don’t do anything silly and stick to routes off the roads as much as you can. You wouldn’t get into a car without putting a seatbelt on, on a bike you’re even more vulnerable so it’s worth remembering this each time you hop onto your bicycle.