With more and more bike trails and lanes popping up in cities around the country, cycling has been regaining popularity as a healthy and environmentally-conscious activity that any skill level can partake in.
It’s “National Bike Month” and there are some great reasons to add this exercise to your repertoire.
Cycling is an easy sport to get back into.
If you’ve learned to ride a bike, you’ll pick it back up quickly. It’s low impact and uses all of the major muscles groups to pedal, unless you’re looking to ramp it up. You can increase strength and stamina while building your intensity up as you continue to ride.
As more trails and pathways pop up, the amount of bike commuters has grown. Starting your day outdoors in the fresh air over sitting in traffic is a great endorphin boost. And riding around town on a bike puts gas money back in your pocket, not to mention the cost of downtown parking.
As an aerobic activity your heart, blood vessels and lungs are all working to improve the level of fitness. You’ll breathe deeper and sweat more as you raise your metabolic rate to build muscle and burn body fat. Studies have shown a daily, half-hour of cycling can burn more than 11 pounds of fat a year.
All the pedaling improves your heart, lungs and circulation reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Cycling actually strengthens your heart muscles and commuters have two to three time less exposure to pollution improving their lung function.
If you don’t live in a bike-friendly community you can usually pick up a Spin class at your local 24/7 gym. Spinning is based on outdoor cycling and replicates scenarios faced outside. It’s an intense workout that burns a lot of calories.
As you build your cycling skills, take your bike off-road and try mountain biking.
Mountain biking has the same heart healthy and decreased disease benefits of regular cycling, but taking your bike into the woods has some magical mental benefits too.
Mastering techniques like going over your first log or taking on your first rock garden will boost your self-confidence, and the scenery is other worldly which decreases anxiety and stress.
Bicycling is a great exercise for the body and the brain. It’s easy to pick up and it’s great for all ages and levels.
Celebrate national bike month and go for a ride.