Cycling is a great way to stay fit, healthy and to see some of the great outdoors!
So theirs no need to be stuck inside on iPad, computer or phones (expect to read this article).
Dust the cobwebs off, and get on your bike!
Do you own a bike? If so when was the last time you used it?
Ok so obviously the main benefit to cycling is losing weight, cycling uses most of your body. This will result in an all over body toning and weight loss.
When have you ever seen a fat guy riding in tour de France?
How many calories will cycling burn?
Depending on your weight and exertion level cycling will burn off between 75-670 extra calories* in a half-hour cycle session.
30 min Cycling will burn:
- Recreational, 5mph: 75-155kcal
- Moderate, 10mph: 190-415kcal
- Vigorous, 15mph: 300-670kcal
If you are keen to use cycling to burn calories and so lose weight, think about it like this…
A half hour daily cycle trip could burn 11 pounds of extra fat in a year.
Because the activity is frequent, the weight is likely to stay off – combine it with a change to a healthier calorie-counted diet and weight loss will be even more effective.
Different Types of Training
When training, I try to have a specific purpose to the training. It tends to be:
- Recovery ride – take it easy and give chance to recover from previous ride. Don’t under-estimate importance of proper recovery. Your interval sessions and races will be much more effective if you can do them fully recovered. Remember the principle of stress and recovery.
- Steady endurance ride. At around 70-80% of heart rate. This is a good effort level to improve aerobic fitness and improve endurance. In winter, I tend to do many rides at this intensity
- Threshold Training. Training at around 85% of heart rate. ‘Comfortably hard’ – the level just before the accumulation of lactic acid. See: Threshold training. This can see big improvements in fitness without being overly stressful.
- High level intervals – training above threshold level 90-98% of heart rate. The aim is to increase tolerance to lactic acid, increase power and efficiency of VO2 max.
One mistake, people often make is just to do the same kind of training every week. When commuting it’s easy just to get into a slow gentle rhythm.
This is fine for base training, but, if commuting is your main form of training, you should try mix it up. On alternate days, try commuting home very fast.
Try different routes, which are a bit longer but give an opportunity to do some speed work. This can be a time trial to see how quickly you can cover a distance or it can be a series of intervals, finding some local hills.
If you have limited time, you will see most improvement in your cycling fitness from training at a high intensity. If you want to improve your fitness for a quicker 10 mile time trial. You need to be training at this race intensity.
Signs of Dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Being irritable or cranky
- Seeming bored or disinterested
- Excessive fatigue
- Slowing down
Extra Bike Hydration Tips
1. Watch each other for signs of dehydration – It is very easy to get carried away on a ride and forget to drink enough. Keep an eye out on your mates and actively remind people to drink. If you see signs of dehydration ask people if they are drinking enough.
3. Drink when you feel good not when you feel bad – Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Every time you feel good, admire a nice view or change onto a new road form a habit of taking a sip. Drink little and often to keep well hydrated.
For me the best thing you can carry when cycling is a water bottle and a camel pack. A camel pack can hold anything up to 5 liters of water so this is perfect for when your on a long distance bike ride or cycling in hot conditions.
Where to Cycle
Its you to you really you can cycle to work, cycle down the local canal or even try your hand at a cycle trails but for this i would suggest getting a decent bike!.
There are many different websites that will show you local cycling routes in your area. For me one of the best websites – Click here.
Where was the last place you cycled?
Health Benefits of Cycling
Cycling builds strength
Past the age of about 30, we lose up to 3-5% of our muscle strength with each passing decade unless we stay active.
Cycling is a great full body work out, building up muscle mass in your legs and glutes and improving strength with simultaneously improving cardiovascular endurance.
Cycling is kind to your joints
It is a non-weight bearing exercise so doesn’t cause any impact damage to your joints and you can cycle even in your later years.
If your main form of exercise is usually running or tennis, high impact activities, try alternating these with a cycle ride to give your joints time to recover.
The benefits of cycling for weight loss
The health benefits of cycling for weight loss are well documented.
If you’re planning on dropping a few kilos this year, even a leisurely, moderate ride will burn off around 400 calories while your body could torch as many as 1000 calories on a longer ride.
Short of time?
Even modest efforts will reap rewards: a US study of 18000 women over a period of 16 years showed that cycling for just 5 minutes per day was helpful in preventing weight gain.
Cycling reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer
A 5 -year study of 260,000 people by scientists at Glasgow University showed that the risk of heart disease and cancer was reduced by 50% in those who cycled to work regularly.
Cycling reduces stress
All forms of exercise are proven to be helpful in reducing stress levels and cycling is particularly effective.
You’re out in the fresh air with new sights around every corner, free to go exactly where you like and if you can cycle to work or school, it’s very easy to make it part of your daily routine.
Cycling is for Everyone
From tots to seniors, cycling really can be for everyone. As well as the health benefits of cycling, it’s a very flexible and environmentally friendly means of transport.
You can get off the beaten track with a mountain bike or beat your best times with a road bike. If you feel like you would appreciate a bit of assistance on the steep hills, consider an electric bike.
For shorter rides on paved surfaces, a hybrid bike is a good choice: perfect for commuting, these bikes combine some of the best features of mountain bikes and road bikes.
There’s nothing stopping you so get out there and give it a go!
The bottom line is its a great fun way to exercise you can do it with your friends, family and can even drag a willing girlfriend along, so enjoy!