Cycling is a fun fitness option at every age. It's easier on your joints than some other forms of cardio, yet it's just as efficient.
And you don't have to limit yourself to the stationary bike in your basement or at your gym. Getting outdoors on two-wheels can be energising and entertaining – so much so that it may not even feel like a workout.
Great for weight loss
For those who want to lose weight, cycling is also a great kilojoule-burner. A 70kg person riding at about 18km an hour can burn about 1 674 kilojoules in 60 minutes. You'll also tone and strengthen your leg muscles, especially the thighs. Riding up hills or off-road will help work the upper body as well.
There are health benefits as well
According to two studies, regular cycling may also lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack. Cycling also has a low risk of injury, as it is a low-impact cardiovascular activity. This makes cycling an excellent sport for overall joint health.
How to get the most out of your bicycle
- If you're a beginner, start with 15–20-minute rides to get used to the bike, especially the saddle, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. To get the most out of your workout, keep pedalling and resist the urge to coast. Ramp up time and distance as you get more comfortable and build stamina.
- While cycling is a great weekend activity, you might try to fit it into your daily routine. Two-wheel it to work or to visit a friend, instead of taking the car.
- To stay safe on the road, cycle on the left with the flow of traffic and always obey traffic signals.
- Don't forget to protect your head. A properly fitted bike helmet can reduce your risk of a head injury by as much as 85%. Always wear it, whether you're commuting or just touring your neighbourhood.
Choosing the right bicycle for you
Looking to start cycling? Your new two-wheel-friend may be an expensive investment. There are so many options, which makes choosing daunting. And if your bike is not the right fit for you, you may be more prone to injuries. Here are some tips on how to choose a bicycle:
- Get your bike fitted properly by a professional and get your posture assessed.
- Choose a bike which is suitable for the conditions under which you would normally cycle, whether dirt tracks or tar.
- A helmet is important; get your helmet professionally fitted as well.
What are you waiting for? Get your bicycle out of the garage and go for a ride.