Cycling: Health and Fitness Guide
By Joan Bishop Denizot
When it comes to convincing people to try cycling, some would usually ask, "Why go cycling when you can burn your calories in the gym?" While it is true that working out in the gym can help in losing weight and toning our muscles, outdoor cycling has its own merits.
Cycling is a low impact exercise meaning it does not put too much pressure that strains our joints unlike in running or high impact aerobic exercises and weight training in the gym. Our muscles can get a real good workout since cycling uses all the major muscle groups as we pedal our way through bike paths, roads and hills. Furthermore, as an aerobic exercise, cycling is an ideal cardiovascular workout since this activity makes us breathe deeper, experience increase in body temperature making us perspire, an indication of burning calories and a way of eliminating some toxins in the body like body fat. Cycling is an exercise that does not pressure us since we can do it at our own pace. It is also fun to do because we can do it with our friends or family and unlike in the gym where we are just confined training with various equipment within the walls, outdoor cycling gives us a sense of fun and adventure as we travel pedaling our bike.
According to research, steady cycling can burn as much as 1,200 kilojoules or about 300 calories per hour. Studies also show evidence that a half hour bike ride everyday will burn nearly five kilograms of fat over a year. Do the math and see how much fat can be burned when we ride our bikes for an hour or more every day. We use our bicycles not just as a form of leisure exercise, but we can also use them as our mode of transportation especially when we have gained that confidence on the road.
Of course, like any other exercise, we can get the most benefit from cycling when we pair this activity with proper diet and proper eating habits. It would be beneficial for us to come up with a meal plan so that the exercise would be complemented with the proper diet.
Experts suggest that we increase the protein in our diet, eat a nutritious breakfast at least an hour before the ride and have a protein-packed food for lunch or dinner. A healthy light snack can be taken in during long rides.
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