As an endurance activity, cycling has a large number of enthusiasts signing up everyday. In this blog Nandini Reddy explores how you can stay fit with this new activity
Cycling is a fun way to get fit. It is a low impact exercise and suitable for most people and all ages. It is also an easy activity to fit into your daily routine. Apparently there are nearly a billion people who ride cycles every day across the world. From simple trips like running to the market on your cycle to taking up long distance events with a group, cycling offers are variety of adventurous ways in which you can build you endurance.
So how does cycling help you get fit?
- It is a low impact workout thus so it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise.
- It is a good muscle workout and you use all of the major muscle groups as you pedal.
- Unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skill.
- Cycling increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness.
- You can increase the intensity by cycling uphill
- It is a great outdoor physical activity and can be regularly followed without much preparation
Health and Cycling
Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. You will breathe deeper, perspire and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level. It can improve both physical and mental health, and can reduce the chances of experiencing many health problems.
Research suggests you should be burning about 2,000 calories a week through exercise and steady cycling burns about 300 calories/hour. If you’re trying to lose weight, cycling must be combined with a healthy eating plan. Cycling is a comfortable form of exercise and you can change the time and intensity – it can be built up slowly and varied to suit you.
Getting a Cycling workout
While you are riding there are several small changes that you can make to your cycling to increase the intensity and impact of your workout. You can add interval training formats, hit the hills or add extra resistance with weights to increase the impact of your cycling workout. Although this should be done only for short distances so as to get the maximum benefit without causing muscle fatigue.
Using Cycling to get fit
If you are using cycling as a way to get fit then you should consider riding vigorously enough to raise your heart rate to a level that builds cardiovascular fitness. When you start out, a heart rate of 40 percent to 50 percent of your maximum heart rate (MRH). Over time, you need to work up to a heart rate close to 70 percent of your MHR. Once you are in shape, ride fast enough to maintain that heart rate.
Cycling strengthens leg muscles and your cardiovascular system, but provides only limited exercise for your upper body. You can achieve better physical fitness and lower the chances of injury with upper body strength-training. It is also important to ride with your back arched and with good form. Your bike should be the proper size and adjusted to your height and body proportions. That way, you minimize stress and reduce the chances of an injury.
Riding a bicycle is not only fun, it’s an excellent form of aerobic exercise. A regular routine of cycling will get you in shape and keep you that way. You can achieve cardiovascular fitness, improved heart health and improved muscle strength and tone. Of course, once you do the work to get fit, you should cycle enough to stay in shape.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.