Monday, June 20, 2011
I Want To Ride My Bicycle; I Want To Ride My Bike
Remember the song by the band Queen? I might be showing my age! The song is about riding your bicycle. I have always liked the song and it comes to mind when I'm thinking about taking a little bike ride.
Years ago, I had a stationary bike that I would ride every night for 30 minutes. It was a perfect way to get all the benefits of bicycle riding, no matter the weather. Then we moved and I had to sell that wonderful piece of machinery. What a difference it made with my weight (or make that weight gain) and muscle tone. I haven't been the same since. So with summer on the horizon it's time to dust off the road bike again. It feels so good to be able to ride again.
Now if you're looking for a way to lose weight and get in shape then consider riding your bike. Bicycling is a great way to raise the heart rate and see the world from another level.
Whether you choose an actual bicycle or a stationary one, cycling works the entire body. And, best of all, cycling is fun. You can do it any time of the day all year round (depending on where you live of course). You’ll change your clothing for comfort but bicycles are durable and can withstand being out in both cold and hot weather.
What specifically does cycling do for your body?
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. When you choose an exercise to perform, you want to know if it will actually help you. There’s nothing worse than spending your time and sweat with zero results.
1. Riding a bicycle is easy to stick with. When it comes to regular exercise, you want an activity that you can get behind for the long haul. Cycling does that. You can ride your bike around the neighborhood with family or in the park alone. If you work close to where you live, ride your bike to work in good weather. Because bike riding is versatile, riding one increases the amount of exercise you do on a daily or weekly basis.
2. Cycling builds leg muscle. We all have been told that muscle burns more calories than fat. Biking up a hill or choosing a harder gear on flat ground puts most of the work of moving the bike on your quadriceps and hamstring muscles. You will also feel a burn in the calf (gastrocnemius) muscles. That burning will be hard to handle at first but as you get into cycling, your muscles will adjust.
3. Cycling works the abdominal muscles. For exercise, any piece of equipment that has the potential to lead to a flat tummy is a jewel. Riding a bike is about balance. You realized that the first time you hopped on one. Maintaining your balance requires you to hold your stomach muscles tight. Also, bikes are designed with posture and alignment in mind. The longer you ride the stronger you will get.
4. It is a family activity. Obesity has become an epidemic in youth. Kids are notorious for starting and stopping something when they get bored. Bike riding can even stop their boredom. Take a ride after dinner or on the weekends. You can bike and talk at the same time to have a lively conversation while you burn calories.
Like walking, bike riding is another exercise that can be done alone or with a group. It is easy to begin and fun to continue as a long term exercise method. You may be singing the same song before long - "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!"