Remember how exciting it was to take the training wheels off of your bike for the very first time? Believe it or not that fun childhood pass time is one of the best cardiovascular activities available. Not only will you scorch as many as 250 to 300 calories in as little as 30 minutes but your lower body; including your glutes and thighs, will get a great workout too. Riding a bike even helps to improve your balance, coordination, endurance and stamina!
Bicycling provides all the cardiovascular fitness benefits of running but is much easier on your joints, muscles and connective tissue, especially the knees and hips. A great alternative to the standard bike is the recumbent bike also known as “bents” in the cycling world. Recumbent bikes are perfect for seniors or people with back problems because the seat has a back. They are also very stable and low to the ground.
When riding outside; safety is key, be sure to follow the below guidelines:
- Always wear a helmet
- Obey traffic rules; stop at all red lights and stop signs
- Ride in the same direction as traffic
- Use hand signals before turning
- Wear bright or reflective clothing
- Check and maintain bike tires and brakes
- The National Safety Council recommends front, rear and spoke reflectors, pedal reflectors, a horn or bell and a rearview mirror
Whether you are spinning, mountain biking or out for a ride in the park always keep your bicycle properly adjusted and your body aligned. Adjust your seat so that when the peddle is at the top of its rotation your knee is just about hip height with your upper leg parallel to the ground. Always keep your knees facing forward and your upper body relaxed. If you find that you grip the handle bar tightly try this cycling secret; wiggle your fingers every few minutes! As with any fitness routine stay hydrated and stretch when you are finished.
I want to challenge you to go for a bike ride for your next cardio workout! Stay motivated and you’ll see and feel the results.