Cycling: Guide to Health and Fitness
When it comes to convincing people to try cycling, some would typically ask, “Why cycle when you can burn off your calories at the gym?” While it’s true that working out in the gym can help you lose weight and build muscle, outdoor cycling has its own benefits.
Cycling is a low-impact exercise, which means it doesn’t put too much pressure on our joints, unlike running or high-impact aerobic exercise and strength training at the gym. Our muscles can be exercised really well as cycling engages all major muscle groups as we pedal our way through bike lanes, roads and hills. In addition, cycling as an aerobic exercise is an ideal cardiovascular workout because this activity makes us breathe more deeply, experiences a rise in body temperature that makes us sweat, an indication of calorie burning and a way of eliminating some toxins in the body such as eliminate body fat. Cycling is an exercise that doesn’t put us under any pressure as we can do it at our own pace. It’s also fun because we can do it with our friends or family, and unlike the gym where we only train with different machines inside the walls, outdoor cycling gives us a sense of fun and adventure when we’re with are on our bike.
According to research, steady cycling can burn up to 1,200 kilojoules, or about 300 calories per hour. Studies also show that riding a bike for half an hour burns almost five kilograms of fat over the course of a year. Do the math and see how much fat can be burned if we ride a bike for an hour or more every day. Not only do we use our bikes as a pastime, we can also use them as a means of transportation, especially once we’ve gained that confidence on the road.
Of course, like any other exercise, we can get the most benefit from cycling when we combine this activity with proper diet and eating habits. It would be beneficial for us to create a nutritional plan so that exercise is complemented by proper nutrition.
Experts suggest that we increase the protein content of our diet, eat a nutritious breakfast at least an hour before driving, and eat high-protein foods for lunch or dinner. A healthy light snack can be enjoyed on long journeys.