Have you considered adding cycling or bicycling into your fitness routine? Biking is a mode of exercise that boasts many benefits. It’s a non-impact, full body, functional and economical, as well as an adjustable intensity workout.
Non-impact exercise basically means there’s no jarring or impact on your bones and joints in the exercise. If you’ve experienced joint injuries, biking may be a good choice. Biking could also be considered a full body workout if you’re keeping your upper body and core under tension by maintaining proper posture and spinal alignment while cycling. If you’re planning to head to the trails on your bike, the terrain alone will have all your muscles working the entire time, while also testing your bike handling skills.
As a functional and economical exercise, biking to and from running errands, commuting to work or simply leaving the car at home on the weekends and heading out your bike, will ease finances from having to fill up your gas tank.
Cycling is also an adjustable exercise in regards to intensity, enter your bike gears. You can push a harder gear up a hill or shift to an easier gear and focus on increasing the turn-over of your legs. You can pedal fast, slow or even coast if you’re in need of a break. All in all, most would agree cycling is a workout to consider.
A few safety considerations:
Helmet: Helmets are a must. There are road biking helmets, mountain biking helmets, as well as general sport helmets. Choose one based on what type of riding you’ll be doing most. Prices range from $40.00 on up to $200.00 and more. According to the law, all helmets sold in the USA must be approved by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, so be sure to look for their seal of approval. Another quick safety note, any helmet that has been involved in any kind of impact should be replaced, regardless of the external appearance of the helmet.
Reflectors: If you’re riding at night, a clear/white light must be attached on the front to either the bicycle or the person, check your state requirements. Riders, by most state law, must be visible for up to 300 feet. Also often required for night riding is a red rear reflector, white or yellow reflectors on the front and back of each pedal, as well as clear/white reflectors on both sides of the front half and back half of your bicycle.
Road Rules: Cyclist and drivers follow the same rules of the road.
Emergency Contact: Always carry ID and emergency info with you.
As far as cycling gear goes, that’s up to you. If you’re riding for long distance, padded cycling shorts may be a good investment. If you’re interested in aerodynamics, consider a riding jersey with a rear pocket to hold your belongings such as your keys and phone. Biking shoes will also allow for an efficient pedal stroke, if you’re considering riding for fitness either on the paved road or dirt trail.