Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Cycling is a great way to lose weight and there are many positive factors for starting a bicycling workout. Biking can be a social experience if you ride with others, or quiet time if you prefer. Biking is good for everyone regardless of age or current fitness level and it’s an enjoyable way to burn mega calories as well as provide amazing health benefits. This article refers to stationary biking.
One of the nice things about cycling is that it is relatively easy to begin. Basically all you need is a bike or access to one. Many people have exercise bikes in their homes, which makes it a convenient activity. Gyms will have stationary exercise bikes also such as, straight up, recumbent, and spinning. Choose the bike that is the most comfortable, that way you are more likely to stick with it.
Your fitness level will help you determine how long to ride. For a complete beginner I would recommend 15-20 minutes with minimum incline and a comfortable yet working pace, 3-5 days per week. A good plan to follow is to increase your riding by 5 minutes per week until you reach 5 days per week and a duration you are satisfied with. Biking is very versatile; you can do long endurance rides, short fast rides, and high intensity interval rides. You can increase the intensity by using speed and incline.
So how can you lose weight cycling?
•Cycling strengthens your body’s largest muscles and helps to build lean muscle tissue. This is important because more muscle mass burns more fat.
•You will get fit and therefore increase the level of oxygen you use and therefore increase your level of fat burning.
•Cycling burns calories. You can burn up to 500-600 calories in an hour riding at a steady state pace of 13-15 mph.
•Cycling will increase your calorie burn even after you have completed your workout by raising your metabolism rate.
•Try biking for 20 minutes before breakfast. The "Journal of Applied Physiology" reported “you burn fat better riding in a fasted state rather than when you’re full.”
•Try sprinting and hills for high intensity interval training. HIIT burns fat fast. Combine an HIIT workout 2-3 times a week with endurance rides to balance out your 5 day program. Remember the 20 minute morning ride is separate.
•Example: a 135 pound woman pedaling 12-14 miles an hour burns a whopping 488 calories in 60 minutes.
Benefits of Cycling
•It doesn’t wear out the joints, there is no pounding. It is the perfect non-impact cardio training.
•Biking is great for toning the entire body. You will have lean toned legs and a stronger back and core.
•It gives you energy. Most exercise will increase your energy level but a study published in the journal of "Psychotherapy and Psychometrics", found that “bike riding improved energy level by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent”.
•Women hit the bikes. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in this country. Two of the top risk factors are high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol. One study showed that “women who rode at a moderate to high intensity, three times a week, for at least 30 minutes, lowered their blood pressure and LDL within one year.”
•Use your bike as a means of transportation. Not only are you exercising but you are protecting the environment.
•Most of us like to watch some TV. Put your bike where you can watch your favorite shows while you peddle.
•Listen to a book on CD. The time will fly by.
So let’s all go for a ride. Always check with a medical professional before starting this or any exercise routine. Be healthy, be happy!
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