Bicycling is a terrific, low impact activity and adaptable to a wide range of fitness levels and individual preferences. Indoors or outdoors, solo or in a group, cycling is easy on the joints and and an easy hobby to start.
You can start with just a bike and safety gear, or a stationary bike at home or at your gym. While indoor and outdoor cycling provide you with different workouts (for instance, you use different muscles and must balance yourself when biking outdoors, but may rely on the bike to “coast” down inclines, which can lower overall calorie burn), both are great additions to your fitness routine.
If you’re looking to cycle outdoors, start at your local bike shop where you can either have a bike you already own tuned up or get fitted for a new bike. Be sure to share your level of fitness, budget and the type of terrain you plan on cycling on with the staff so they can suggest an appropriate bicycle and safety gear.
Your local bike shop may even be able to connect you with riding groups in your area or suggest a few trails to start.
If you’d like to take your cycling indoors, talk to the staff at your gym to learn the ins and outs of the cycles they provide. Learn how to properly adjust the seat, resistance and other settings on the bike’s screen. Indoor cycling is a great option in inclement weather, but can also be easier to fit into your day. Indoor cycling classes offer another fun opportunity to get in a good workout.
Go for a spin (class)
Spin classes are popping up in trendy cycling studios and community centers, and can torch calories in a fun, high-energy group setting. By varying the resistance on the spin bike (usually a simple knob mechanism) and stance (seated or standing on the pedals), you can get a challenging and dynamic workout. Whether you hit up a dedicated spin studio, your gym, or local community center, start with a beginner’s class or talk to the instructor before hand about ways to modify the workout to your fitness level.
Hit the trails (or streets)
Check out local trails and, if possible, start with paved trails closed to motor vehicle traffic. Forest and nature preserves are a great place to start to get used to sharing a trail with other cyclists, joggers and walkers. As you progress to trails that may cross roads or take to the streets, be sure to look into your area’s cycling rules of the road and understand how cyclists can safely share the road with drivers. Wear appropriate protective and reflective gear at all times, and always remain aware of your surroundings.
If you’re into outdoors and adventurous hobbies, you may want to progress to mountain biking. Once again, a visit to your local bike shop can provide you with the right equipment as well as some guidance for starting in on the hobby. If you’re looking to start mountain biking, be sure to to take a course or a few lessons in bike maintenance should you run into any issues with your bike.
If you think you don’t like to bike, take your ride outdoors or join a class and see if you find it more enjoyable. Whether you’re up for an adventure, working up a sweat in a high-energy class, or just want to knock out your workout while catching up on your favorite TV shows, biking is an excellent option.
Sara Vallejo is a self-confessed happiness, health and self-development junkie from Chicago. She writes professionally in a business development and marketing capacity, and as a volunteer for a digital nonprofit. Miss Vallejo is a passionate mental and holistic health advocate who believes that good health is an ongoing journey best undertaken with supportive peers. Sara’s areas of expertise include nutrition, weight loss, women’s health, mental health and disability issues. She is returning to weight loss and fitness following orthopedic surgery and is excited to encourage and inspire fellow Azumio community members and readers to achieve the best health they can.
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