Cycling your way to fitness
Do you want to burn calories, build muscles or improve your overall cardiovascular fitness? Cycling could be one form of exercise you’ve been looking for. Cycling is a great way to burn calories, tone your muscles, build stamina and have fun!
It is a highly effective exercise that you can add to your daily commute, enjoy on the weekends or do at the gym. Whether you choose to ride a stationary bike or hit the road, here are some tips and tricks to refine your workout and achieve your goals.
Duration versus Intensity
The duration and intensity of your workout will help to determine how many calories you burn. Ride at an intensity that suits your current fitness level, but pushes you out of your comfort zone, at a time that you can commit to. Listen to your body, become your own coach and cycle your way to a leaner and fitter you.
Keep It Slow and Steady for Low Impact
Riding a bike is a low-impact activity and an ideal choice for days when you want to give your joints a rest. But don’t let the term ‘low-impact’ trick you into thinking cycling is easy!
If you’re a beginner or are starting again after a long time, it’s important to take it slow. It’s better to ease your body back into exercise with a low-to-moderate intensity level than shocking it with an intense ride. Start with a nice, steady ride at a moderate intensity level for about 45-60 minutes.
Speed It Up to Shed More Calories
Increase your intensity level by adjusting your speed. The faster you go, the harder your body has to work and the more energy you’ll expend. Why not challenge yourself and cycle at a higher intensity level?
Mix It Up for a Challenge
Interval training on a bike is great for burning calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness level! If you’re pressed for time, try to alternate between periods of high and low intensity for a more challenging session! You can make your workout even more intense with shorter rest periods.
Add Resistance to Build Muscle
Strengthen your muscles by adding some resistance to your workout! If you’re outdoors, look for hills or roads with a steep incline, so your muscles will exert more effort. If you’re on a stationary bike, experiment with the resistance adjustment until you find a level that’s difficult but lets you keep moving at a good pace.
Remember: if you push too hard, you risk putting too much pressure on your knees and riding with poor form is never a good idea! If you’re on a stationary bike, imagine you’re on the road and ask yourself: ‘Would I be able to cycle up a hill without falling off?’ If the answer is no, reduce the resistance. You should try to make indoor cycling as close to road biking as possible.
Ride for Endurance
Improve your endurance, by cycling for longer periods of time. Your duration should be relative to your current fitness level. Ninety minutes or more is an endurance ride, but if you’re new to cycling, 60 minutes is a good starting point.