Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise reduces your risk of health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and even some cancers. But staying active isn’t always easy.
If you have lived a primarily sedentary lifestyle and are ready to get active — or if you suffer from joint pain and find most forms of exercise too hard on your joints — try cycling. Cycling is a low-impact exercise that people of all ages, fitness levels and body types can enjoy.
Whether you take a bike ride around your neighborhood, along a local bike trail or to and from work or school, here are six reasons to hop on your bike every day.
As we mentioned previously, cycling is easy on your joints compared to most other forms of exercise. Low-impact exercises like cycling are a great choice for anyone who is overweight or who suffers from arthritis or another joint condition. Riding your bike regularly can help you lose excess weight that adds increased pressure on your joints, allowing you to enjoy exercise once again.
Cycling activates all the major muscle groups in your body. You’ll use the muscles in your legs to pedal, your core to maintain balance and stay upright and your arm and shoulder muscles to hold the handlebars and steer.
You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to get in a good workout. All you need is the ability to balance while pedaling, and once you know how to ride a bike, you won’t forget (even if you’re rusty and need to take it slow at first).
If you’re new to cycling or are recovering from illness or injury, start at a lower intensity and gradually build up the intensity and length of your workout to a more demanding level. You can increase intensity by upping your speed, riding uphill or adjusting the speed or drag of your bike. Riding your bike at a steady pace for any length of time builds stamina and increases aerobic fitness while burning fat.
To maintain your current weight, you need to burn about 2,000 calories per week with exercise. Just one hour of steady cycling burns about 300 calories. The higher the intensity, the more calories you’ll burn during your workout.
Anyone can enjoy bike riding, from kids to senior adults. Sure, you can cycle on a stationary bike indoors, but going to the gym isn’t always enjoyable. Get outside, enjoy the scenery and take in the fresh air of a bike ride around your neighborhood or check out a local bike trail for a more adventurous workout. Make family bike rides a habit and teach your children that exercise can be fun!
Ready to hop on your bike and go for a ride? Be sure to review these safety tips first:
Take your bike for a ride every day and you’ll thank yourself as you see an improvement in your health, how you feel and how you look! If you prefer to cycle indoors, consider joining a spin class at your gym for a fun, fat-blasting, low-impact workout.