Lets go ride a bike

Lets go ride a bike

Why wait until the New Year to kick-start your new fitness regime? Starting it now will not only help you get in shape for the party season, but will also allow you to reap huge health benefits. If you’re looking to get active, cycling is a great option, so here’s everything you need to know.

Why cycling?

Cycling is a low-impact exercise. While running, the force of your foot hitting the pavement over and over again places stress on your muscles and joints. However, with cycling, your weight is supported by the saddle, reducing the effect it has on your joints. This is why injuries are much less frequent in cycling than running.

While it may be low impact, you can burn a lot of calories while cycling. The amount burnt varies on your weight and how fast you are riding, but if you are cycling at 10mph for an hour, you could burn up to 500 calories.

Equipment

In order to start cycling, you will need to invest in a bike. A good-quality bike can be expensive, so why not check out sites like eBay and Gumtree? People list nearly-new bicycles at discounted prices on these sites, so you may be able to pick up a bargain.

When it comes to protective accessories, a helmet is a must. It is vital that this helmet fits your head properly in order to provide full protection for your skull. Halfords has a handy helmet buying guide that you can use before you make your purchase. It may also be worth buying some elbow pads if you are prone to accidents.

The clothing you wear is also important. If you are planning to ride in the winter, you will need to fully insulate yourself to keep the cold at bay. Piling on jumper after jumper will leave you sweltering once you start pedalling and the blood gets pumping. Instead, invest in some base layers that will help to regulate your body temperature. Check out the range of specialist triathlon clothing from Activinstinct: they have some great shorts and tops that are specially designed to aid temperature control.

Nutrition

In order to get the most from cycling, it is important that you manage your nutrition. Around 60 per cent of your diet should be made up of carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates, like apples, potatoes and rice, take longer to break down, providing you with a steady supply of energy. Have a meal rich in complex carbohydrates a few hours before you head out on a ride.

You should take some simple carbohydrates, like biscuits, fruit juice and boiled sweets, with you on your run, as these will provide you with an instant energy boost.

More nutritional advice can be found on the Cycle Route site, here.

 

 

About The Author

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I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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