The bad news? Sometimes, exercising is just plain awful.
Driving to the gym after a long day of work, waiting in line during the busy hour to run on a treadmill, pushing past the meatheads sipping on strange substances out of bottles. It’s not fun. And exercise should be fun.
Good news: Some types of exercise really are legitimately fun. And, if the title wasn’t enough of a tip off, biking is the perfect way to have a good time while getting in a good work out.
1. Extended Cardio Workout
Any exercise that gets the heart rate up does wonders for cardiovascular health. It makes your heart stronger, meaning it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your body.
Though everyone’s target heart rate is different depending on age and sometimes weight, biking offers a natural way to reach your target heart rate and sustain it for an extended period of time. Biking is also unique in that it organically allows your heart rate to rise and fall by either biking uphill or coasting downhill for a while. You can also adjust the resistance of a bicycle, allowing you to pedal with little effort more often, or pedal less often with more work behind each push.
Cardio helps slim the waste line, burn fat, boost energy and help you sleep soundly at the end of it all.
2. Build Muscle
It’s no secret that biking is an excellent way to build leg muscles and increase lower body strength, but, depending on your type of bike, you could be working more muslces than you think.
Though the quads, hamstrings, gluts and calves are the primary leg muscles used, you may also be giving your upper body a run for its money depending on the terrain and type of bike or handlebar. Your biceps can be used when standing to climb a hill or mountain, while you’re triceps are used to support your upper body on a road bike. Your core and back muscles are also used to provide further support and stabilization.
3. Save on Gas
Even if you’re not going the 40-50 miles per hour you’re used to in a motor vehicle, biking is still a viable means of transportation. Depending on your type of bike, you can exceed speeds of 20-25 miles per hour with the right terrain and wind combination, all without much effort. If you just live ten to fifteen miles from work, you’d be surprised how easily and quickly you can make it to the office and back on a bike. Biking is also a great way to save gas on short trips to the store or to run quick errands. Many cities and communities are building commuter trails, adding bike lanes to major roads and fixing up sidewalks.
What Type of Bike is Right For You?
There are different types of bikes depending on your riding needs, preferences and terrain. If you prefer a smooth, comfortable ride and plan to stick to flat, paved roads, you might consider a Cruiser-style bike.
If you plan to traverse smooth terrain, but anticipate small inclines or need something lighter and faster, you might consider a hybrid bike. Hybrid bikes offer the durability of a mountain bike with the speed of a road bike. The tires are thin, but stable and the frame is light but reliable.
If you plan to mostly ride roads, don’t mind being bent over the handlebars and want to go fast, the road bike is your best bet.
Whether you’re riding for leisure, commuting or exercising, biking offers an amazing cardiovascular and strength workout in the fresh air and without the daily drudge of the gym.