"Health Benefits of Bike Riding for your Body and Mind"
Article from nmhealth March 2008
Who didn’t love the feeling of riding their bike as a kid? It was totally freeing. Suddenly you had wheels and could zip around the neighborhood! We would ride all around town and back and forth to school. Bike riding kept us lean and healthy. As an adult, bike riding offers many benefits for the body, as well. Get back on your bike today along with your own kids, and feel like a kid again.
It goes without saying that bicycling is a great cardiovascular exercise. Bike riding is very beneficial for the health of your heart. Every body needs between thirty minutes of aerobic exercise at least three days a week. Purchasing a bike with several speeds will allow you to increase you fitness level as your cardiovascular function improves. Begin by riding at an easy speed over even ground. If a challenge is what you desire, change your terrain.
Bicycling is kind to the joints. Women often experience joint pain especially in the knees as they get older. Osteoporosis causes joint problems to worsen because of the lack of proper calcium levels in the bones and other factors. Bike riding can offer exercise without pain. The aerobic benefit is comparable to jogging or running yet without as much strain. Be sure to adjust the seat height on your bike so that your legs have full range of motion with each turn of the wheels. This promotes better circulation to the lower extremities which do the majority of the work in moving the bicycle.
Bicycling whips those leg muscles into shape! If you’re going for endurance, stick to a flat terrain, but adjust the speed of the bike as your strength improves. To avoid cramping, stretch thoroughly before and after each bike ride.
If you are looking to increase muscle definition, vary your terrain. Off-road biking on dirt trails helps to flex leg muscles as you keep the bicycle under control on uneven ground. Steep hills are great for working the quadriceps and hamstrings.
How’s your seat looking? I don’t mean the one on the bike. The glutes also reap rewards from bike riding. For maximum effect, raise your body about an inch off of the seat as you pedal. Squeeze your butt to control the pedaling motion. After a mile or so, those glutes should be on fire.
Bicycling increases your balance. Learning to ride a bike is all about staying upright. To do that, you have to find a balance between your body and the bike. Maintaining that strengthens the core muscles of the abdominal region. Tightening the core muscles keeps you from falling off of the bike. The lower abdominals pull your legs back towards you body from the bottom of the cycling revolution. The lower back is also kept pain free by a strong balanced core.image from snippet & ink