Great for improving your fitness and losing weight, regular cycling can also help to relieve stress and tone that lower body
The warmer spring weather is the perfect excuse to get out and soak up the sun, while also enjoying the great outdoors – and cycling is a fun way to get fit, fast!
It’s low impact exercise, meaning it’s easier on the bones and joints than running or any other high impact aerobic activities. You can burn up to 600 calories on an hour’s ride, ideally while also taking in some lovely countryside views.
It takes anything between two and four hours a week in the saddle to see an improvement to your health. Major muscle groups get a great workout, with less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise. It’s also good for gaining extra strength and stamina and aerobic fitness.
CASH & CARRY
Alongside all of the health benefits, cycling is easy to fit into your daily routine because it is also a form of transport. It saves you money and is good for the environment – now who can argue with that? Cycling gives a great opportunity to exercise at the same time as a good natter when you ride along with friends.
If you were an avid cyclist and it’s been a while since you’ve ventured into the saddle don’t worry, the saying is true: “You never forget how to ride a bike.” Your body has a fantastic memory and you will be able to adapt really quickly to getting your balance and picking up some speed. However, it is always good to prepare yourself by making sure you stretch your main muscles and get your fitness levels up to speed.
The main muscles used while pedalling are the gluteal muscles (your bum), hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Hip flexors will also become tight if you begin cycling on a regular basis so it would be good practice to give these a good stretch before and after your ride.
Weight training can play a part to help you become bike-fit so focusing on your main muscles is a wise move. Exercises such as squats and lunges will target a big section of the lower body while also engaging the core muscles which are your main focus when working on your balance. With weights, try and stick with higher reps – this will boost your endurance allowing you to cycle for longer and further.
Just some of the benefits of cycling:
1. Burn calories: cycling is long known to decrease fat and help people drop pounds.
2. Improves cardio for a healthy heart.
3. Strengthen body and mind: enhances both your core and your mental strength.
4. Breathe properly: as you become more experienced, you’ll learn to work on controlled breathing. This can also help with anxiety and help lower the heart rate.
5. It’s for everyone: regardless of age, gender or experience there’s a level and class to suit.
6. Weather non-dependent: who cares if it’s raining outside? Pop down the gym and use static bike and maybe even join a spin class. If you’re unaffected by the climate it’s easy to set a schedule and stick to it.
7. Make friends: regardless of your fitness level, you’re in it together. You become part of a team and it’s a great way to meet people.
8. Increase muscle strength and flexibility and improves joint mobility.
9 Improve posture, co-ordination and strengthen bones.