Pedal Your Way to Health and Wellness
PEDAL YOUR WAY TO HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Whether you are a novice or a die-hard athlete, you’ll enjoy the scenery as you tour the countryside on your bicycle- and your body is sure to enjoy the aerobic workout. What ever your fitness grade, these tips will help you get more out of the routine.
Acquiring the Gear
Cycling has enjoyed respective waves of interest through the years. One reason for its popularity is that it can be enjoyed by just about anyone, regardless of age or level of fitness.
Cycling can be enjoyed by groups or sole, on the roads or with a stationary bike. You can also vary your pace from leisurely touring or intense training. Incorporate bicycling into your schedule, to work or when running errands.
The beginning cyclist may need only a three-speed bike, but others prefer to have 10 to 12 speeds. This will make it easier for you to go over hills and allow you to increase the resistance on the straight ways or flat surface.
Biking at a fast speed is great for weight control. Pedaling one hour at 10 to 13 miles per hour – a brisk pace – will burn about 600 calories.
Cycling is especially good for building the quadriceps. The toe clips are useful if you have problems with your feet slipping off the pedals, but they also help you to work your calf and shin muscles.
The Cycling Routine
Beginners will do fine riding for 20 to 30 minutes at a moderate rate. Try the following routine for a more disciplined approach.
- First week: Work on getting comfortable with the bike and experimenting with gears. Try to ride 2 to 5 miles during weekdays and 10 miles at the weekend.
- Second week: Include short periods of faster pedaling in your routine. This is called interval training and will help you develop endurance and strength. Increase your mileage.
- Third week: Include 5 minutes of faster riding, separated by 5 minutes of easy riding increase your mileage to 5 miles.
- Fourth week: Try doing one day of 3 minutes intervals instead of 5 minutes intervals. Again, increase your mileage, now at 10 to 12 miles on weekdays and 20 miles on weekends.
Posture must be Right
Getting the right-size bike is very important. When you straddle your bike, with both feet touching the grounds, there must be one to two inches between the front tube and your crotch.
When you are seated, your leg must be slightly bent when it reaches the bottom of the pedaling movement.
Keep your back straight and your neck and shoulder muscles relaxed. Bend a little forward at the hips, not at the waist, when you ride.
When holding the grip of the handle bars, keep the elbows slightly bent, that will give you better leverage and shock absorption from rough road.
Change your hand position often to ease the stress of a long ride.
Dress up with Cycling Gear for Comfort and Safety
You can bike in just about any clothing, but serious riders prefer a pair of jersey shorts and shirts. These reduced chafing and pressure in the groin. A padded seat will also help you stay comfortable.
Cycling gloves are useful for reducing pressure on the palms that comes leaning on handle bars and protect your hands in case of accidents.
Bicycle helmets are good idea when you consider a life-long damage that one head injury can cause. You will see how important it is to wear helmet.
Wear a sturdy helmet every time you bike. Buy only helmets that are approved by your country standard. A properly fitting helmet should touch your head at the crown, sides, front and back. Choose the smallest size that fits comfortably and use the sizing pads included with most helmets to fine-tune the fit.
Put the helmet on and try to push to the sides, front and back. If it moves enough to create a gap between the head and the pads, use thicker pads and if it’s still loose get a smaller size helmet.
With your helmet level across your forehead just above your eyebrows, the front strap should be close to vertical. The back strap should lie straight, just like the ear, without any slack. The chain strap should feel tight when you open your mouth.
Your helmet is a one-shot purchase. Once it’s been damaged in an accident or in any other way, you’re better off replacing it – even when the damage is small.
Biking with Caution
- Inspect your bike, regularly before riding. Check the gears, tires and brakes.
- Practice sudden breaking techniques, like squeezing both brakes. Press both brakes, the front harder than the rear and let up on you’re the front break if you feel you’re skidding. Sliding back on the saddle will also help stabilize your bike.
- Do not ride at night unless it is necessary, but then use reflectors and blinkers to your front and back.
- A water bottle can come in handy against dehydration or to squirt at dogs that chase you.
- Wear proper eyeglasses or shades for protecting your eyes from dirt and strong winds.