Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of Exercise Bikes Expert. He is interested not only in the mind-body relationship and how motivation shapes our bodies but also in how we draw energy just from one simple yet powerful thought.
It’s no secret that most people first and foremost aspire to lose weight when it comes to mapping out fitness goals. Gyms offer many classes in this direction to suit people of all genders, ages, shapes, and sizes, and there are plenty of other exercises you can do on your own as well. But by far one of the most suitable options is cycling, both indoors and outdoors.
People have loved biking ever since the very first bicycle was invented in Germany in 1817. And a big reason for that has to do with the fact that it keeps you in shape. There are many reasons why cycling is one of the best exercises to promote weight loss and maintain it as well. Here are the five most important ones.
1. Biking Can Be Done Anywhere
Cycling is perhaps the most versatile physical activity there is, at least as far as location is concerned. First, you have urban riders which use their trusty two-wheelers in lieu of polluting cars. Choosing to travel to work or to the shops during the weekend in this way not only helps save the environment, but it can also keep you in shape.
Furthermore, you can also take your trusty bike out on the trails for an extra boost of exercise to help you shed off those pesky extra pounds once and for all. Depending on the terrain of the area, you can enjoy several degrees of difficulty, which means that you will exert various levels of perceived effort.
And when the weather goes bad or you just don’t feel like going outside, you have the option to perform an equally engaging spinning workout. You can do this by either joining a class at your local gym or simply going out and buying your very own stationary bike. You might lose fewer calories at first, but once you get into the right pace, you will be able to sustain your goals.
2. It’s an Easy Way to Pursue HIIT
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, basically consists of cardio sessions with bouts of hard work sprinkled throughout. If this sounds like exactly the sort of thing you can do while on a bicycle, that’s because it really is. Burpees aren’t the only exercise that can be done in order to employ HIIT.
Cycling on a bit of an incline is the best way to go about this. Start off at a moderate pace, then suddenly increase intensity, then slow down again. Repeat this for about eight times during a total time of ten minutes and allow your body some time to recover for five minutes afterward. Then get back on it and do another set.
HIIT not only stimulates metabolism and increases your physical fitness, but it also promotes the human growth hormone. The combination of all these factors ultimately leads to burning more fat as an outcome of your routine.
3. It Can Be a Rewarding Passion
People quit exercising for all kinds of reasons: going to the gym is too expensive, they don’t have enough time for it or they want to pursue different activities. But by far the most disheartening one is the lack of motivation. Even though many of us still plan to work out more frequently at the beginning of each new year, we seldom stick to these promises.
But why is that? The answer is simpler than you could ever imagine: because we haven’t found the best routine for us. Not liking what you do can turn the whole thing into a drag, which makes you less likely to want to pursue it long-term. But because biking can also be a passion or a hobby, not just a sport, you will be far more likely to keep at it.
4. It Can Be a Social Activity
Although going out on a remote trail by yourself can be truly cathartic sometimes, this activity is a truly social one at its core. Riders usually gather in groups and set out together towards similar goals. Not only is this a great opportunity for bonding over shared interests and making interesting conversation, but it’s also a good way to stay focused.
According to Dian Griesel, Ph.D., working out in a group promotes consistency, enhances duration and boosts motivation at the same time. This is why gym classes are usually a lot more successful in keeping people on track. And in the case of cycling, don’t forget that you can do it there as well. This sport gives you opportunities, you just need to know how to reap them.
5. It’s Good for Your Heart
It’s no secret that pedaling is great for cardio. This type of exercise accelerates your heart rate just enough so that you burn off calories faster while strengthening your blood-pumping muscle at the same time. But did you know that, for this very same reason, it can go as far as to lower the risk of heart disease?
Although the rates of illness among men have decreased tremendously over the course of the last decade, heart attacks are still the number one cause of death among American women. Statistics published in 2015 by the American Heart Association reveal that they affect 34% of the white population and as much as 50% of the African-American demographic.
It goes without saying that you need a healthy heart to be able to pursue weight loss. The stronger yours is, the better you will build endurance and be able to withstand even the highest intensity. And it all starts with cycling.
To conclude, cycling is a great activity that promotes and sustains more than weight loss. It also builds endurance, strengthens your heart and increases the quality of your social bonds. And to top it all off, it makes for an amazing and enthralling pastime that can easily turn into a full-blown passion if you give it the chance.