Spring is in the air, and the warm weather is calling many people to the outdoors. Biking is a great way to enjoy the spring weather and get fit at the same time. May is National Bike Month, so take advantage of the opportunity to get on a bike and get some exercise.
Riding a bike is a rite of passage during childhood, but the fun doesn’t have to stop after grade school. From the benefits of bicycling to some tips for staying safe, read on to learn more about riding a bike.
Bike for your heart
Riding a bike gets your blood pumping and provides a lot of benefits for your heart. It has been shown to improve heart and blood vessel fitness and can lower the risk of getting high blood pressure. The aerobic exercise helps support heart health as well as lung function. It can also lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. After you go for a nice long bike ride, you may find yourself sleeping better at night as well.
Take it easy on your joints
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Many kinds of exercises will provide a variety of health benefits, but some exercises can be harder to do. Biking can be a good way to see the benefits of aerobic exercise while putting less strain on the joints. While riding a bike, the pressure is taken off the legs, which is easier on your joints. Pushing the pedals can also help build leg muscles and bone density over time.
Buy a bike, save some cash
It’s a no-brainer that riding a bike to work or school is a lot cheaper than driving. You don’t need gas, and replacing bike tires is a lot cheaper than a set of tires for your car. But aside from savings on upkeep, you may find your medical bills decreasing as well. A recent study commissioned by several groups in Utah found that people could save hundreds of dollars every year in healthcare costs by taking up walking or biking. You may find your bike pays for itself in more ways than one.
Do it right to get the most benefits
You don’t have to be an expert cyclist to get health benefits out of riding a bike. However, a few changes to your routine could help you get the most out of your bike ride. If you want your bike ride to be a good workout, step up the intensity a bit to work your muscles and get your heart rate up. Start out slow to warm up before picking up the pace for the bulk of your ride. Then, take it back to a slow speed for your cooldown. You can ride your bike anywhere, but your body will see different benefits. Mountain biking will work your whole body while riding on the street will mainly work your lower body.
Protect your head
All the benefits of a bike ride won’t matter much if you don’t take proper safety precautions and get hurt. Always wear appropriate protective gear such as a helmet, as well as other padding as needed. Make sure you are visible to cars on the street by wearing bright, reflective clothing and follow all traffic laws.
It’s time to pull that bike out of the shed, brush the dust off and pump up the tires. Biking is easy to pick up, and it is perfect for any age or fitness level. Riding a bike is one of the best exercises you can do to work your whole body, and there’s no better time to start a new biking habit than National Bike Month.
This article was originally published by the Daily Herald.