Biking is a versatile exercise that works for both the very young and the very old. Many people find it to be an easy way to get in a workout because this calorie-burning activity can be done outdoors, in the gym and even in the home. As is the case with any exercise routine, it can also be easy to fall into a rut. The more we do one type of activity, the more our bodies adjust to those movements. While this can be a great thing, such as developing muscles and endurance, varying your workout is the best way to burn calories, develop well-balanced strength and stay interested. So to burn more calories, train more muscles and keep your motivation, try enhancing your bike routine with these four changes:
If you always ride your stationary bike in your living room while watching your favorite shows, consider hoping on a street bike to explore your neighbor on wheels. Better yet, find a nearby bike path. If you’re used to biking outdoors on those very same paths, move your workout into a gym for a day or two. Although the principles are the same, the different types of bikes will give you a different type of workout. People who are used to easily changing gears to get up and coast down hills will have a different experience on an exercise bike and vice versa.
If you’re already an avid biker, you already have both the leg muscles and the lung capacity to survive a spin class at your local gym. Spin bikes are different in that the wheels are weighted; so once you start pedaling, momentum keeps your legs pumping fast and your body torching calories. Spinning is one of the toughest workouts out there but because it burns so many calories it’s also a surefire way to get fit and drop pounds.
Interval training is a great way to build up leg muscles and improve cardiovascular fitness. To top it off it’s one of the most effective weight-loss strategies. Try the following 30 minute routine using the resistance on your exercise bike or gears on your street bike: On a scale of 1 to 5, Level 1 is the easiest and should feel almost effortless. Level 5 is the hardest workout and feels almost like a weight-lifting exercise. Repeat the following 15 minute routine twice and start sweating:
- Warm-up at Level 1
- Level 2: 3 minutes
- Level 4: 2 minutes
- Level 2: 3 minutes
- Level 5: 2 minutes
- Level 3: 3 minutes
- Level 2: 2 minutes
Adding weights to your biking routine means that you can burn more calories and even get in an upper body workout. For those riding exercise bikes, use dumbbells to do bicep curls, upward shoulder presses, lateral raises and even overhead tricep extensions. If you ride a street bike, this of course is not really any option. Instead invest in a set of ankle and wrist weights to get that extra burn and focus on keeping your core strong and your shoulders back and away from your ears.