Cycling for Fitness and Weight Loss
For most riders, cycling provides an environmentally friendly way to get around town, or a fun way to pass a sunny Saturday. Cycling is also a great way to get fit and lose weight, providing a fun, low impact cardio exercise that's much gentler to the joints than exercises like running. If you are a longtime runner who is starting to feel discomfort in your knees or other joints, consider switching to cycling. In addition, bike riding tones up and strengthens the legs, muscles and sculpts the calves, gluts, hamstrings and quadriceps. Cycling for fitness and weight loss also steadily burns calories and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improves your brain power and memory and helps provide a deeper sleep. If you’re new to cycling for fitness and weight loss, the following tips will help get you started off in the right direction.
Take an Early Bike Ride
If possible, start with a short bike ride in the morning before breakfast, riding at a moderate pace. Biking 20 minutes before breakfast on an empty stomach can burn over 1,100 calories a week if you do it every morning. Hitting the road early in the morning provides a rejuvenating warmup, the perfect start to your day. Depending on your schedule, this may only be possible during May, June and July, when sun rises early.
Change Your Route/Challenge Yourself
Make it a point to challenge yourself by taking on a few hills, which will burn more calories and build core strength. These may be a little difficult to find in Indianapolis, but you should be able to find one or two small ones if you look hard enough. Consider switching from sitting to standing while you cycle up hills. Standing as you ride increases the heart rate, naturally causing you to work harder thereby burning more calories. In addition, standing gives your shoulders and triceps a workout. Something else to keep in mind is that cycling off road can burn over 600 calories per hour. If you do decide to take on challenging terrain, you'll want to use a bicycle that has fatter tires. If it's in your budget, consider investing in a bike with suspension features.
It’s not necessary to keep up a fast pace during your ride in order to lose weight. As a matter of fact, it’s more effective to do interval cycling, riding hard for a few minutes then slowing down for the same amount of time. Riding hard during the whole ride will just tire you out; slowing down, lets you recover and then ride hard again. Riding in intervals actually ups weight loss potential.
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail
Bike Don't Drive
If you typically drive to work or other destinations, consider biking instead. Not only can you lose weight by cycling around town instead of driving, you can save money on gas and support the environment at the same time. This is a great way to fit in cycling if you don't have very much free time. Let's say you spend 20 minutes driving to work each day. With the return trip, that's 40 minutes you spend in the car each work day. If it takes you 35 minutes to get there on your bicycle, that's 70 minutes you'll spend on your bike. So you get to enjoy 70 minutes of cycling, but it only takes an extra 30 minutes out of your day. Indianapolis has added bike trails and bicycle lanes in recent years which makes bicycle commuting easier.
Healthy Diet Plan
Cycling for fitness and weight loss needs to be paired with eating nutrient rich foods to achieve optimum results. Besides being nutrient rich, the food you consume needs to be low in calorie density as well. Healthy food groups include vegetables, fruits, healthy, lean proteins, including lean meat, fish, seeds, nuts and whole grains. It's also important to include low fat dairy and essential, healthy omega3's, naturally found in fatty fish.
Anybody can ride a bike, a factor that makes it a great exercise choice. If you're new to cycling, contact us at Circle City Bicycles and we'll be glad to explain which bikes and accessories are best for you to consider based on your goals. We'll help you get started right. Our goal is to make sure you enjoy cycling so that you will continue to ride and patronize our shop.