Monday, May 21, 2007

Benefits of Riding a Bike

Everybody rode their bike as a kid. It was a means of transportation and just a good way to get from here to there. As we age, we realize that we need some steady form of exercise and bike riding can be just the ticket! Read on to see just how great riding a bike is for your health.

It's Great for the Heart!
Riding a bike is great cardiovascular exercise and increases the health of your heart. Everybody needs a minimum of thirty minutes of aerobic exercise at least three days a week. Purchasing a bike with several speeds will allow you to increase you fitness level as your cardiovascular function improves. Begin by riding at an easy speed over even ground. If a challenge is what you desire, change your terrain.

Bicycling is Kind to the Joints!
Women often experience joint pain especially in the knees as they get older. Osteoporosis causes joint problems to worsen because of the lack of proper calcium levels in the bones. Bike riding offers exercise without pain. The aerobic benefit is comparable to jogging or running without the strain. Make sure that the seat height on your bike is adjusted to allow your legs full range of motion with each revolution. Full range of motion also promotes better circulation to the lower extremities which do the majority of the work in moving the bicycle.

You Get Great Looking Legs!
Bicycling whips those leg muscles into shape. For muscular endurance, stick to a flat terrain, but adjust the speed of the bike as your strength improves. To avoid cramping, stretch thoroughly before and after each bike ride. If you are looking to increase muscle definition, vary your terrain. Off-road biking on dirt trails helps to flex leg muscles as you keep the bicycle under control even on uneven ground. Steep hills are great for working the quadriceps and hamstrings.

The Backside Gets a Little Boost Too!
The gluteus muscles also reap rewards from bike riding. For maximum power, raise your body about an inch off of the seat as you pedal. Squeeze your butt to control the pedaling motion. After a mile or so, those glutes should be on fire.

Increases Your Balance!
Learning to ride a bike is all about staying upright. To do that, you have to find a balance between your body and the bike. Maintaining that balance strengthens the core muscles of the abdominal region. Tightening the core muscles keeps you from falling off of the bike. The lower abdominals pull your legs back towards you body from the bottom of the cycling revolution. The lower back is also kept pain free by a strong balanced core.

Riding a bike is not just for kids. I am a great testament to this because I had not been on a bike for at least 15-20 years. The last bike I had was a 10-speed in high school. My husband just bought me a bike and we have started going out as a family. legs BURN like you wouldn't believe! Even though there's pain, the benefits are great and I know this too shall pass. This is something that the entire family can do together and have fun at the same time. Get on out there and try it!

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