Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: Benefits of Bicycling

Summer has unofficially started, and with it comes the availability of many healthy outdoor activities.  Though I’ve subbed the occasional spin class when necessary, I am by no means an avid cyclist.  In fact, I was once so intimidated by the other cyclists on the Chicago lakefront I left J in the dust miles behind me when his bike chain broke.  I was too afraid to slow down or turn my head and by the time I realized he was gone he had to hop a bus home….with his bike attached to the front.

As a fitness professional, I recognize that bicycling is a wonderful sport and do aspire to improve my skills one day.  The following are a few reasons why it’s on my to do list, and why you may consider adding it to yours:

-It’s Gentle On Your Joints: Biking a good option for those with joint pain or stiffness.  If you have sensitive hips or knees, it’s a great way to reap the benefits of exercising outdoors while keeping things low impact.  When temperatures climb and indoor exercise is more appealing, remember that most gyms have step-through upright and recumbent bikes that are very safe and accessible.

-It’s A Great Mood Booster: Cardiovascular exercise is known for it’s mood boosting properties.  Pair that with some sunshine and scenery and you are bound for some good vibrations.  Prefer to take it indoors?  Never underestimate the high you get from the combo of movement and your favorite tunes in spin class.

-It’s Superb Strength Training:  Pedaling away, especially up hill or with the resistance cranked up, builds all major muscles of the lower body.  Additionally, the core muscles work to keep you balanced and the upper body muscles help stabilize and control the handle bars.  Simultaneous cardio and strength training?  Yes please!

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Ridin’ dirty….