When most people get their license and a brand-new used car, their bicycles wind up in the garage collecting dust. As adults, bike riding is a childhood pastime; it serves a minimal purpose in the hustle and bustle of grown folks' business.
The simplistic attitude is somewhat fair when thinking of a bicycle as an effective mode of transportation, especially for the multitude of adult obligations. However, a bike is still fun, potentially relaxing, and a beneficial exercise machine.
1. Cardiovascular Health
Cycling, above all else, is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Whether you use a stationary indoor bike or a standard bicycle, cycling can improve your system's circulation and oxygen distribution, and it can increase your aerobic tolerance or capacity.
Depending on the form of cycling you do, the activity can also improve insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. Stationary cycling classes that incorporate high-intensity interval training seem to benefit these areas most.
Most people acknowledge the advantages of running for cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, running is hard on the knees, hips, and ankles. The amount of force on the joints, ligaments, and tendons can lead to long-term and compounding damage in runners.
Cycling reduces the shock on the system. Riding a bike is considered a low-impact form of exercise, meaning your body can still receive cardiovascular benefits without risking potential injuries or degradation of the joints.
Regardless of the style of cycling you gravitate towards, the activity requires significant coordination. However, beginners should not let the need for coordination stop them from enjoying riding.
The repetition of cycling will establish greater coordination over time. The more you ride over busy bike trails or participate in rhythm-based cycling classes, the more your abilities will start to rise to the challenge.
When you start cycling, you might only get around the block or last a portion of a class. Do not let assumed failure deter you. Many people set expectations beyond their current abilities, which is why setting smaller goals, to begin with, is best.
Set a goal for a single trip around the neighborhood or a shorter distance. The goal you set should be manageable and somewhat easy until you learn your limits. The beauty of riding a bike is the activity is compounding. You will build endurance and stamina the longer you train.
Many people do not consider posture when cycling. Then hop on the bike, grab the handlebars, and start pedaling. Unfortunately, the lackluster approach to riding can result in back pain.
Posture is a crucial aspect of cycling and riding comfortably. When you mount your bicycle, you want a neutral spine, meaning it is straight and relaxed, not arched and strained. Your shoulders should be down and back, not curved in a "whatever" position. Practicing an accurate riding position can improve your posture even off the bike.
6. Strength Training
Believe it or not, riding a bicycle is a form of strength training, primarily for the lower body and core muscles. Cycling requires balancing muscles, making it an excellent exercise for older individuals.
You can increase your workout by using the various gear settings or choosing more challenging terrain. An uphill ride will really challenge your leg and core muscles.
A bicycle might spark images of favorite childhood memories, but cycling is not a pastime; it is a current and effective form of exercise. If you haven't ridden in a while, maybe it's time to dust off the saddle.