Cycling for Weight Loss and Fitness


Cycling

Cycling is one of the fastest growing sports around, its popularity boosted by the global move towards a greener and more efficient way of travelling, but the health benefits should not be underestimated. Cycling is a low impact way of improving cardiovascular fitness that avoids some of the repetitive strain injuries associated with other sports. Cycling using a well chosen type of bike that is appropriate to your size and build can avoid putting excessive stress on joints, and help stimulate metabolism. Cycling can dramatically aid weight loss whilst at the same time providing a low stress way of travelling. Reduced blood pressure, improved muscle tone, and numerous cardiovascular benefits are all associated with this healthy travel alternative.

Starting a Cycling Programme

Many people are daunted by the potential costs involved, the clingy cycle clothing, and all the cycle jargon when faced with choosing a bike. Although this can certainly put some people off, persevere and you’ll soon realise that getting into cycling is not as challenging as it may first appear, and over time the health benefits (and even financial savings on your daily commute) soon become apparent. As your expertise grows so does the fun, and the need to challenge yourself gets ever stronger!

  • Visit a reputable bicycle store and get sized up correctly, a badly fitting bike can lead to injuries and negate any benefits from your riding dramatically.
  • Invest in some quality cycling gear and a cycling helmet. Comfort and safety should be paramount, the more you ride the more you will wish you had bought those padded cycling shorts in the first place!
  • Contact a local club; they can point you towards safe routes or to cycle friendly parks. Clubs are great place to learn more about the sport and many clubs have beginners groups catering for all levels of knowledge and fitness.
  • Start small, aim high. With the large number of mass participation cycling events taking place, why not set a date in the calendar as a goal event and aim to increase your training distances gradually before tackling it. By keeping a record of training days you can approach your events confidently.
  • Aim for 4-5 rides a week, 2 at the weekend and 2 during the week. Why not replace the car or train and start pedalling in to work?

Cycling for Weight Loss

Cycling is a great way to reduce weight but remember as you increase your metabolism your need to stay hydrated and keep energised increases. Try to stay away from the scales for a while as your body adapts to the new programme. Focus on increasing your fitness gradually - the goal should be to get all your muscles used to your new activity.

  • Cycling is great for working the glutes and renown for toning legs, calves in particular. But increase your workload steadily and remember the golden rule, stretch!
  • Cycling is a fabulous alternative to a gym day; it helps loosen tired muscles and increases your metabolic rate. Prolonged cycling within certain fat burning heart rate zones can be the basis for strong weight loss; choose a heart rate monitor which can be set to bleep when you reach your fat burning zone.
  • Enjoy being outdoors or equally challenging yourself to a spinning session at a local centre or gym. A spin class can be hugely rewarding as each session is done at your own pace and ability.
  • As well as weight loss, cycling also provides better muscle tone, fat burning, lower resting heart rates and a higher ability to sustain longer workout times.

There are many reasons why cycling is enjoying its rise in popularity. For some it may be as simple as the exhilaration of freewheeling down a steep hill or feeling the connection between cycle and road. Others may love the speeds they can reach and the distances they can cover. Whatever the reason, cycling opens up an exciting mixture of adrenaline and fun to keep you coming back for more!

So why not put foot to pedal and start exploring the world from a new vantage point?

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