With the Tour Down Under in full flight here in Adelaide, South Australia. I'm sure many of you have seen a lot more cyclist out and about. Cycling has become more and more popular over the last decade and many people are turning to it as their main form of exercise.
So why has cycling become so popular? Here are 5 benefits cycling has to offer!
1 - It is a relatively easy skill to pick up or get into
Riding a bike is often one of the first major skills we learn in our youth. So for most people, getting into cycling is relatively easy and there isn't any new skills that we need to learn to be able to do it. However, if you do want to take your cycling more seriously you can learn different techniques to improve your speed etc. However, if you are just wanting to go for short leisurely rides anyone who knows how to ride a bike can do it.
2 - Cycling is a great way to lose weight
Whilst your first few cycling sessions may feel difficult and strenuous. As your body gets familiar with what is required it will adapt quite quickly and then it will become much easier. Cycling burns a lot of calories and can help if you are wishing to lose weight.
3 - Cycling is low impact and the easiest exercise on your body
Besides swimming, cycling is the easiest exercise for your body. The bike takes the load of your body and therefore off your joints. If you're someone who experiences knee, hip or ankle pain whilst running or going to the gym, cycling can help to relieve these symptoms and still allow you to exercise.
4 - Cycling primarily improves your cardiovascular fitness
Cycling has many benefits, but the main benefit it has is that it improves your cardiovascular health. It will increase your metabolism and overall improve your general fitness.
5 - Cycling can help to improve your strength and muscle tone
Whilst cycling is predominantly a cardio-based exercise. Depending on what you are doing, you can get some significant gains in your muscle strength and muscle tone, particularly in your legs. If you are cycling on a stationary bike you can increase your resistance which makes it harder to pedal, thus working your muscles harder. If you are cycling uphills the resistance will also be harder, thus increasing your workload and making it harder on your muscles!
Cycling has many other benefits, not just the 5 listed here. It is a great exercise to get into if you are looking to improve your cardiovascular health.
So what would the recommendations be if you wanted to get into cycling? Whilst cycling is relatively easy and safe on the body, if you go to hard too early you can increase your chance of an overuse injury. Initially 2x 30 minute cycles a week would be perfect and then after 2-3 weeks you can begin to increase the cycle by 5-10 minutes or add in another session during the week. You should cycle at a pace where you can breathe comfortably. Many beginners will go to fast and can't complete a 30 minute session.
So give cycling a go if you're looking for an alternative to running or swimming to improve your cardiovascular fitness. If you are having any issues with cycling book into see one of our physio's and we can help guide you with your program.