“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
~ John F. Kennedy
Riding a bike is a lot of fun. The fact that it has even more health benefits take us beyond the joy of pedalling it. This World Bicycle Day 3rd June, lets endeavour to ditch those health and environment-damaging conveyances. Let’s pledge our way to fitness by riding a bicycle.
Cycling for Weight Loss
Obesity is like an epidemic spreading across the globe. In fact, as per the latest numbers, approximately 34% of adults and 15-20% kids and teenagers are obese in the U.S. These numbers are quite alarming.
The simplest way to counter the problem of obesity is to get on a bicycle and start pedalling. Cycling does not build a lot of muscle but surely burns fat and calories. Moreover, it tones your body by firming up the calves, buttocks, and thighs. You will be able to notice visible changes in a matter of a few weeks.
To begin with, take a slow but long ride once a week. Long rides (up to six hours) can burn great amounts of fat as well as build endurance and stamina.
If you are hard pressed for time, then 30 minutes of high-intensity interval spinning is ideal.
Cycling for Management of Diabetes
To keep the glucose levels in-check, Diabetics should opt for a moderate yet effective form of exercise and cycling simply fits the bill. It has been observed that the blood sugar levels are almost halved within a 24-hour period post-moderate-intensity hour-long spinning. Moreover, diabetics suffer from major health issues related to their lower limbs. Cycling helps relieve symptoms like water retention and increased pressure through the feet.
Monitoring blood sugar levels pre and post sessions is important. If undertaking cycling over long distances, then a consultation with the doctor is recommended.
Cycling For Beating Stress
We all know that stress is a precursor for several ailments like high blood pressure, heart disease, and low immunity. Studies have shown that exercise helps to reduce stress and improve psychological wellbeing. Cycling as a form of exercise can help overcome stress, anxiety, and depression. In fact, according to the Mental Health Foundation, cycling can be as good as medication and counselling.
Reminisce your time as a kid when you rode a bike to your friend’s place or to a meeting with your gang. Explore nature on your bicycle. Climb a peaceful hill or wheeze through a quiet neighbourhood. Let the bicycle whisk your stress away!
Cycling for Cardiovascular Fitness
Cycling is predominantly an aerobic exercise. This means that the heart, lungs as well as the blood vessels all are exercised. Moreover, cycling strengthens the lower body while improving the overall fitness levels. Cycling also facilitates deep breathing and sweating which increases body temperature for enhanced blood circulation. Cycling happens to be one of the safest methods for improving cardiovascular fitness. It is recommended for heart patients too. Seeking the advice of a certified health instructor is highly recommended.
For a focussed cardio workout, plan to ride your bike for 30-60 minutes for about 3-5 days per week. Start every spinning session with a warm-up. Ride at a slow pace for about 5-10 minutes. Gradually increase speed. At the end of your session, take an extra 5 minutes to cool down.
Cycling for Osteoarthritis
Cycling as a low-impact exercise is optimal for people with Osteoarthritis. A regular cycling workout can help strengthen muscles that stabilise the knees while enabling them to absorb shock effectively. Cycling also helps reduce rotational torque or twisting that can result in injury. Regular cycling can keep the knee joints lubricated, relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Patients can go for low-intensity workouts that can improve gait as well as help in reducing pain. It is advisable to carry a range of gears like Granny gears when taking up outdoor cycling.
From the above account, one can surmise that cycling can be easily incorporated and adapted as per the requirements and ease. This Bicycle Day, let’s climb on the wellness bandwagon and cycle our way to fitness.
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Disclaimer: Seek professional opinion of a certified health instructor before the commencement of workout and the consumption of any supplement.