Riding a bike doesn’t just get you from A to B faster than walking – and sometimes driving. It also helps you get super fit, lose weight, and get into fantastic shape. If you want to be a more confident you than you are right now, perhaps it’s time to take your old bike out of the shed, pump up its tires, and add a little lubrication to the chain. Cycling is a terrific activity that is low impact, burns through massive amounts of calories, and supercharges your muscles – so let’s take a closer look.
FIrst of all, let’s take on a few of the myths and legends that surround cycling. If you think that starting biking will result in you getting bulky, muscular legs, you’re wrong – you will build lean muscle that burns fat fast. And the result will be incredibly toned legs, not a bulky physique. Another myth is that cycling can be bad for your knees – again, this is entirely untrue. As we discussed in the intro, cycling is a low impact activity, and you are less likely to damage your knees or any other joints on a bike than you are while out jogging.
The other benefits
Alongside weight loss, biking has many other advantages. It’s a sociable activity, for a start – you’ll find that you meet a lot of people, and it’s a great way to spend time with family and good friends in your spare time. It will also save you money. Imagine how much fuel you could save every week by cycling to work instead of driving.
The safety issues
Of course, there are a few safety issues with riding a bike, You should never get on two wheels without a helmet, of course, and some road bike insurance will end up saving you money if you are in a traffic accident that wasn’t your fault. You should also be wary of pushing yourself too hard when you first get started. Although it’s a low impact activity, cycling hard is tough on your cardiovascular system so you’ll need to bring yourself up to speed slowly.
Don’t like the thought of riding alongside cars on the road? Don’t worry – get yourself a mountain or all-terrain bike instead. Going off-road is a different type of experience, and you will find yourself working a lot harder than a road cyclist. Alternatively, you don’t have to go anywhere at all, other than to your local gym. Taking spinning classes is an excellent – and tough – way to push yourself to your limits, and the number of calories you can burn is incredible – and you won’t travel an inch! Once you are in reasonable shape, you can try introducing high-intensity interval training – or HIIT on your bike. In these types of exercise, you will go pedal fast over short bursts, with a short break in between, and your body will continue to burn off fat for a long time after you have finished.
Getting the most out of your biking for weight loss
OK, so now you know the basics, how are you going to fit more biking into your regular routine? As discussed earlier, the easiest way to get started is to start commuting to work instead of driving. It’s the perfect place to star as you will have an excellent idea of the time it takes you to get there and back. Another important thing to remember is that you need a training programme in place. Try to avoid putting weight loss as your priority, as it can be disheartening when you don’t see the pounds tumbling away on the scales. The fact is that when you start building your leg muscles while cycling, you may not see results straight away because muscle is denser than fat. Instead, focus your plan on distance and timing instead, or have a fitness-related target instead.
The next level
Why not plan to take part in a competitive event, or do something for a local charity or good cause? It’s a great way to take your cycling to the next level, and having that goal in front of you can ensure you keep on track and stay focused. Nothing is as good for the motivation as putting yourself out there and having others relying on you doing your best!
As you can see, as long as you are safe and sensible, the good old bike can be excellent for weight loss – and much more besides. Why not give it a go?