Bike Your Way to Cardio Health

by Heather Duchan | August 1st, 2011 | Biking

Who needs a gym when you can purchase one piece of equipment for under $100 that will improve your cardio fitness, build muscle tone, and get you where you need to go? Although a gym has its advantages, air-conditioning being one, a bike is an awesome way to get and stay fit, especially if you’re new to exercising or low on funds or motivation. If you’re in the market for a new cardio routine, take a minute to look over the advantages of cycling to see if it might be right for you.

1. A bike is good for your heart. This form of exercise uses your largest muscle group, the legs, which naturally leads to a raised heart rate and a healthy heart. Studies have shown that those who ride bikes regularly improve their cardiovascular fitness by 3-7%. A British Medical Association study confirmed that riding a bike just 20 miles per week helps reduce coronary heart disease risk by a whopping 50%.

2. Biking burns calories without much effort. A leisurely ride at under ten miles per hour will burn 250-500 calories, depending on your weight. That’s comparable to low-impact aerobics, water aerobics, and weight-lifting. If you want to burn more calories, just step it up, riding faster and taking advantage of hills in your neighborhood.

3. Bicycling is a simple way to build stamina for exercise beginners and anyone who lacks motivation. If you are just using a treadmill at home or at the gym, you can easily quit anytime you begin to feel tired and your motivation wanes. With biking, things are different. If you’re biking across town and get worn out half way through your planned route, you’re still stuck riding back to your starting point, whether you like it or not. This might not be enjoyable, but it will guarantee that you get a full workout.

4. Cycling is gentle on the body. Biking regularly gradually builds the muscles of your legs without posing risks of strain or over-exercise. It’s also low-impact, so your joints are much less likely to be damaged than with other cardio workouts like running.

5. Riding a bike saves money. With gas prices continually on the rise, anything you can do to reduce your automobile usage is helpful. A bike can improve your health significantly while simultaneously getting you from point A to B without costing you a dime. There are no energy costs other than what you need to eat, nor do you need to buy expensive insurance or pay registration, taxes, or parking fees to use your bike as transportation. Even more, if you’re commuting in an area with heavy traffic, a bike may get you where you need to go faster than a car.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.