Thursday, April 5, 2012

Want A Great Fun Workout? Ride A Bike!

I loved riding my bike as a kid. We would ride all around town, through the woods, and even sometimes back and forth to school. Bike riding kept us lean and healthy. As an adult, bike riding offers many benefits for the body, as well. Purchase a bike today and feel like a kid again!

Enjoying in Papuk riding bikeEnjoying in Papuk riding bike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)1. Bicycling is good cardiovascular exercise, building strong muscles and a strong heart. Every body needs between thirty and 60 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three days a week. Purchasing a bike with several speeds will allow you to increase your fitness level as your cardiovascular function improves. Begin by riding at an easy speed over even ground. If a challenge is what you desire, simply change your terrain.

2. Bicycling is kind to the joints. Women often experience joint pain especially in the knees as they get older. Bike riding offers exercise without the stress of impact on the joints. The aerobic benefit is comparable to jogging or running without the strain. Make sure that the seat height on your bike is adjusted to allow your legs full range of motion with each revolution. Full range of motion also promotes better circulation to the lower extremities which do the majority of the work in moving the bicycle.

3. Bicycling whips those leg muscles into shape. For muscular endurance, stick to a flat terrain, but adjust the speed of the bike as your strength improves. To avoid cramping, stretch thoroughly before and after each bike ride.

If you are looking to increase muscle definition, vary your terrain. Off-road biking on dirt trails helps to flex leg muscles as you keep the bicycle under control even on uneven ground. Steep hills are great for working the quadriceps and hamstrings.

CyclingCycling (Photo credit: tejvanphotos)4. How’s your bicycle seat? I don’t mean the one on the bike. :-)  The gluteus muscles also reap rewards from bike riding. For maximum power, raise your body about an inch off of the seat as you pedal. Squeeze your butt to control the pedaling motion. After a mile or so, those glutes should be on fire.

5. Bicycling also increases your balance. Learning to ride a bike is all about staying upright. To do that, you have to find a balance between your body and the bike. Maintaining that balance strengthens the core muscles of the abdominal region. Tightening the core muscles keeps you from falling off of the bike. The lower abdominals pull your legs back towards your body from the bottom of the cycling revolution. The lower back is also kept pain-free by a strong balanced core.

Riding a bike is not just for kids. The physical benefits only increase as you get older. Besides, bike riding is just plain fun. Especially in this gorgeous spring weather we're having. So, grab a bike and get moving!
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