“’Is cycling healthy for me?’ I also asked myself this question at the beginning of my bike career. And I can answer with complete confidence: Yes, it is!,” said cycling expert and Race Across America participant Gerhard Gulewicz.
Learn about the 3 main health benefits of cycling and then go for a bike ride!
1. Cycling helps you lose weight
Cycling is probably the best exercise for improving your fitness in a healthy way while burning off fat. but riding a bike isn’t just ideal for those looking to lose weight – it is also perfect for people interested in getting physically active. “Cycling is simply fun to do… even if it is sometimes a bit strenuous at first,” admitted the cycling expert.
Fat burning on a bike:
The amount of calories you burn while cycling varies depending on your age, body composition, and the intensity/duration of the bike ride. The following example is a good guideline: if you ride for an hour at about 20 km/h, you can burn up to 450 calories.
2. Cycling is low impact
Cycling increases your stamina and boosts your metabolism. Apart from swimming, cycling is the easiest exercise on your skeletal system. The bike carries your weight and relieves the stress on your joints. This is why it is ideally suited for overweight people. If someone is having trouble with knee pain, cycling can help relieve this problem: the circular and continuous motion of pedaling strengthens your leg muscles without the impact of other sports like running. And since you too lose weight in the process, cycling is doubly beneficial for your joints.
3. Cycling strengthens the cardiovascular system
Another benefit of cycling is that it works your cardiovascular system and increases your metabolism. Provided, of course, that you pedal at the right intensity! “Newcomers to cycling often make the mistake of riding too fast. Hop in the saddle and full speed ahead – this is usually what people think. But this is the wrong approach if you want to improve your health in the long run. Choosing the right intensity and duration is very important.”
How often should you go cycling?
So, now you know it: cycling is healthy 🙂 You are dying to climb on your bicycle and go, but aren’t sure how often you should go cycling per week? The answer is simple: “There is no such thing as too much if you ride at the right intensity,” said Gerhard Gulewicz. In fact, the best thing would be to leave the car in the garage and get around by bike instead. For instance, if you cycle 20 minutes to work and back every day, then within just five days you will already have completed three hours and 20 minutes of cardio training and thus strengthened your cardiovascular system.
Cycling for Beginners
When you are starting out, try to go cycling for 30 minutes 2 times the first week. Then add a third 30-minute ride in the second week. In week 3, you can start to lengthen each ride by 5 to 10 minutes. You should wait a while before attempting any really long rides. And always remember the following rule: it’s not the distance that kills you, but the intensity.
For your first bike ride, you should select a flat route and cycle for no longer than 30 minutes. In terms of intensity, you should choose a pace where you can easily breathe through your nose.
“Many of you are probably thinking… 30 minutes? That’s nothing. But the fact is that cardio training is defined as at least 20 minutes of continuous physical activity, and 30 minutes on your first day is more than enough exercise,” said the Race Across America rider. “After your first ride, you want to feel like you could have easily kept going. This will make you even more excited about your next ride!”