Biking is an incredibly effective and healthy way to get your exercise. It burns calories and builds your muscles at the same time, while also being fun to do. If you’re new to biking, I’m glad you’re taking the time to acquaint yourself with it instead of just hopping on your bike and going. Using your bicycle to exercise is different from riding it around the block with your kids. Here’s what you need to know.
Just like with anything else, you will need to have a plan when it comes to biking. You’ll need to decide which days you’ll be able to fit in a ride, how long you want to go for and how often you think you can make it work. Use your calendar and schedule your rides so they don’t take a backseat to other things. This simple step makes it much more likely that you’ll stick with it.
As with any form of exercise, you don’t want to jump in too quickly. Instead, start biking at a slow pace so that you can build your strength and endurance. If you start cycling at top speed for miles at a time, you increase your risk of injury and you might decide you hate it because it’s really difficult. Start slow and build on your routine so that you can continue to enjoy biking as exercise.
A leisurely bike ride through the park in your sweatpants is fine, but if you’re serious about biking as a form of exercise, it pays to invest in the right clothing. Look for biking specific shorts and shirts. They typically fit snug against your body so that you don’t have to worry about them getting caught on handlebars or pedals. Padded biking shorts are especially awesome as they take some of the impact away from your nether regions. These items are also made from moisture wicking materials so you don’t get all hot and uncomfortable.
It might seem like barefoot riding makes sense as your feet aren’t coming into contact with the ground. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You need a good pair of biking shoes so that you have some traction on the pedals. Many avid bikers buy shoes that clip to the pedals so you don’t have to worry about slippage. Riding barefoot is a recipe for disaster.
Your best bet as a newbie biker is to stick to flat, straight trails. This makes it easier to see what’s up ahead and helps ensure that you don’t go flying off the bike. Wait until you gain some leg strength before tackling hilly terrain or you will definitely pay for it the next day. That is if you even have the strength to get up those hills. The bottom line is to start small and get more advanced as you go.
You might be surprised at just how tired you get riding your bike. It might not feel as strenuous as jogging or Zumba, but it will wind you. You’ll need to fill up on fluids to stay hydrated, especially on longer rides. Invest in a water bottle clip for your bike so that you can drink when needed without having to hold your bottle while you ride.
I know that as kids we rode without helmets and arm and leg pads, but the experts say that is no longer a good idea. You should always strap on a helmet when you ride your bike. You might be able to control yourself, but you never know when someone else could run into you or cause you to swerve and crash. A helmet really can save your life.
Are you thinking of starting a biking routine? What makes it so appealing to you?
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