Biking, whether on the road or in the gym, is a great way to burn calories and get fit. Plus, it’s an inexpensive way to exercise. Few people can afford at-home gyms, but with a road or mountain bike, everything you need is right at the tip of your toes. Not sure if this is the right exercise for you? Here are five great reasons to start biking:
Cycling is a great way to torch calories and speed up weight loss. Because biking uses large muscles, a 140-pound woman burns about 500 calories an hour when working out at a moderate pace. By coupling a biking routine with a healthy diet, exercisers can lose weight and burn off extra calories. Furthermore, because biking is low impact, meaning it doesn’t put added stress on your joints, people of all ages can enjoy this activity.
Exercising isn’t all about losing weight; it’s also about becoming healthy and fit. People who engage in regular cardiovascular exercise have a tendency to live longer. Having a set of healthy lungs means that you are less likely to suffer from asthma attacks and future respiratory problems. Pumping blood through your body helps your heart get some exercise of its own and reduces hypertension. Biking at a moderate or vigorous pace can raise your heart rate and can promote overall fitness.
Biking is a resistance exercise where cyclists use the power of their leg muscles to propel the bike (or wheel of a stationary bike) forward. When you use your legs to move your bike forward you build both major and minor muscles. When you develop large muscles, like the quadriceps and hamstrings, you are raising your metabolism. Muscles need calories to function and the more muscle you have the more calories your body burns. In addition, biking helps strengthen the small muscles around your knees and ankles—two injury-prone areas. Knee pain is one of the most common complaints among the general public, and the development of muscles around this joint can help protect the knee from twisting or overextending. Plus, the strong leg muscles developed through biking help make other activities, like hiking and climbing, easier.
When you use a bike to get from one place to another, you use your own body’s calories as fuel. This means that your gas costs fall to zero and parking is automatically free (bring your own bike lock)—no meters, attendants or validations required. Plus, every mile you ride on your bike is one less mile on your car’s odometer, which means you’ve prolonged its life and helped maintain its value.
Protect the Environment
To top off all the health and monetary benefits, taking your bike instead of your car reduces Green House gas emissions and reduces traffic. Biking is one of the most energy-efficient means of transportation available and is a favorite of citizens worldwide.