Similar to participating in any other sport, it is essential to maintain strong bicycling health as you hit the trails, prepare for a race, or simply start biking for fun. Considering the many cycling health benefits, it comes as little surprise when more newcomers are attracted to this invigorating activity.
Whether you cycle to work everyday, or if you are interested in riding competitively, cycling for just an hour can allow you to burn roughly 500 calories, boost your energy levels, work every muscle in your body, elevate your mood, and improve your heart health. It provides many of the same benefits as running, but without being stressful on your joints.
Cycling Tips To Support Your Health
While cycling is a great way to stay in shape, it is a very demanding activity and can place a significant amount of stress on nearly every major system in the body. Whether you are just getting started or you are interested in increasing your time in the seat, it is important that you do not push your body past its limits.
You can follow the following tips for maintaining strong bicycling health to allow yourself to have fun, stay safe, and get the most out of your rides.
- Speak with Your Physician – Any time you plan to make significant changes to your diet or exercise regiment, it is wise to first consult with your primary care provider. Your doctor is familiar with your medical history and any other factors that may have an impact on the amount of new physical activity you can undertake safely.
- Always Warm Up First – You can reduce your risk of injury by warming up and stretching your muscles before cycling.
- Consider Your Heart Health – As you cycle, you will likely notice your heart rate elevating. You do not want to push your heart too hard, too fast. Especially as you are just getting started, stick primarily to more even terrains and slower, steady speeds. You can then gradually increase the difficulty as your bicycling health and skills improve.
- Change Your Hand and Arm Positions Periodically – To keep your arms and hands from becoming numb and stiff, regularly change your hand positioning and occasionally shake your hands down by your sides. This will increase blood flow to these areas.
- Have a Comfortable Seat – Having a comfortable bike seat is one of the smartest investments you can make, especially if you go on long rides. A small, rigid seat can cause pain or possibly even biking impotence.
- Take Breaks – Every 30 minutes or so, get off your bike, walk around, and do a few light stretches to keep blood circulating to all parts of your body.
- Be Considerate of Your Joints – Cycling shouldn’t be, and generally isn’t, hard on your joints. If your knees, or any other joints, begin to hurt, take a break. If you are feeling joint pain, you may need to adjust the height of your seat.
- Cool Down – Just as you need to warm up before your ride, you also need to allow for a cool down session of stretching and rehydrating. This can reduce the risk of muscle soreness.
Cycling Tips: A healthier body is a better-looking body
If all these great health benefits aren't enough incentive to get you started on a rigorous cycling regimen, think about the aesthetic benefits of cycling.
You'll look more ripped and have larger, more toned muscles. You'll also get a glowing tan from all the time spent outdoors.
Choosing the Right Type of Biking For You
Before you become intimidated, remember that improving your bicycling health does not mean that you have to pedal through dozens of painful miles everyday. You can see many of the benefits of cycling by simply biking to work or school, or around town.
If you want to get started with something less taxing and more scenic, you might see if your town offers cycling tours. If so, there will likely be tours available for riders of different experience levels.
For more of an adventure, and perhaps challenge, consider looking into mountain biking. There are mountain biking trails that are suitable for beginners, or you can challenge yourself by traversing higher elevations and coasting down ravines. Be sure to pick a trail that suits your abilities.
Fitting Cycling Into Your Regular Routine
Biking does not have to be reserved for special trips or tours. You can improve your bicycling health and overall quality of life by incorporating cycling into your daily routine. You will soon find yourself feeling more fit, and you get to have fun and enjoy great scenery along your journey.
A great place to start is by cycling about 30 minutes, a few times each week. After just three or four weeks, you will likely see noticeable changes in your strength and stamina. As you feel more comfortable and confident, you can extend your trips and go cycling more often, biking for up to an hour, four or five times each week.
As the health benefits of cycling become more apparent, you will likely not want to take your feet off the pedals!
Seeing the Results of Cycling in Your Body
Not only will you feel the effects of bicycling in your energy levels, but you will also see the fruits of your labor. The truth is that bicyclists simply look great. Biking allows for larger, toned muscles, and a lean body. Thanks to all the time you’ll be spending outside, you will also have glowing, sun-kissed skin.
Final Cycling Tips
I wrote these cycling tips before I embarked on a Rhine River tour. This tour only reinforced how important healthy cycling practices are, especially when completing long, rigorous trips.
By keeping your health in mind as you cycle, you can remain a strong and healthy biker for years to come.