If you want to lose weight and improve your health, you must engage in regular physical activity. Weight loss surgery is just one of several tools that can help you achieve your wellness and quality of life goals. Without exercise, you remain susceptible to health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and even cancer.
However, finding the right exercise for you can be difficult. Start by choosing an activity you love and incorporate it into your daily routine. Cycling is a low-impact activity you can do at home, at the gym or outdoors. Here are some of the reasons you may want to consider riding your bike in your quest to lose weight and improve your health.
Easy on the joints
Cycling puts less strain on your joints than many other forms of aerobic exercise. If you are overweight, joint problems resulting from strenuous exercise can be a real concern. Cycling is a great way to stay active while losing the weight and protecting your joints.
Full body workout
Riding your bike activates all of your body’s major muscle groups. In addition to using your leg muscles to pedal, you also use your arm and shoulder muscles to hold the handlebars and steer. Better yet, staying upright and maintaining balance on your bike allows you to strengthen your core muscles too.
Great for beginners
You don’t have to be a seasoned athlete to hop on a bike and go for a ride. Cycling doesn’t require a high level of skill. If you can balance on a bike while pedaling, you’re can enjoy the benefits of this form of exercise. And as the saying “it’s just like riding a bike” implies, once you learn to ride, it’s something you don’t forget. (Although you feel a bit rusty if it’s been a while.)
Increases endurance and stamina
Cycling may be simple in that it doesn’t require a great deal of skill, but it isn’t necessarily easy. Riding your bike at a good pace for any length of time will increase your stamina, boost your aerobic fitness and leave you feeling more energized.
Choose your intensity
You can easily adjust the intensity of your cycling workout to fit your needs and goals. If you’re a beginner or recovering from illness or injury, a lower intensity cycling workout may be ideal. You can increase intensity by riding faster, riding uphill or by turning up your bike’s drag to make pedaling more challenging.
Just to maintain your current weight, you should be burning about 2,000 calories per week through physical activity. One hour of steady cycling burns approximately 300 calories. Increase the intensity of your workout and you’ll burn even more.
Reduce risk of bone injuries
Cycling improves strength, coordination and balance. These improvements can help prevent falls and/or bone fractures. If you suffer from bone or joint problems such as arthritis, cycling is an ideal low-impact exercise. However, because it is not a weight-bearing activity, cycling may not improve osteoporosis.
If you’re ready to clip in and go for a ride, take a minute to review these important cycling safety tips.
You don’t have to be a professional cyclist to get moving on the path towards weight loss and better overall health. Make cycling a family activity (for example, one you do after dinner each evening) or join a spin class at your local gym for a heart-pumping, calorie-torching, low-impact workout.