Cycling is a fun and exciting activity for all types of individuals. Whether you are a beginner or a sports enthusiast, cycling always brings something exhilarating. The moment you step on the pedal and cycle your way to places you do not go often, you will be hooked with the enjoyment of this activity. However, cycling is more than just simple pedaling, it is also a way to lose weight steadily and improve your fitness level. If you have been seeking ways to shed a few pounds, cycling for weight loss might be the best activity for you.
Why Cycling For Weight Loss?
Cycling is one of the easiest types of exercise that you can incorporate in your daily routine. Even if you do not have time to work out, you can pedal your way out from your house and experience the cardiovascular benefits from this activity. According to Lisa Callahan, MD of Women’s Sports Medical Center, cycling gives the same cardiovascular benefits like dancing, walking or jogging. Cycling can work your muscles and give them a boost because it strengthens the glutes, quads, hamstrings and hips.
If your cycling route includes hills, your upper body and arms will benefit the most. What’s more advantageous is that this activity is gentle on the joints and it also preserves cartilage. Individuals who suffer from knee troubles, muscle strain, back pain, foot problems and impact-related injuries caused by walking, jogging or running can opt for cycling for weight loss to improve circulation. Daily biking can help prevent incremental weight gain, especially to individuals who are in their midlife.
Safety Tips To Remember Before Cycling
While cycling is both fun and good for your health, it is important to take wise precautions to make every ride as safe as possible. Thousands of individuals suffer from injuries and even deaths due to cycling. Every year, more than 500,000 people in the United States go to the hospital for bicycle-related injuries, with more than 700 of these numbers die. So before you start hitting the road to cycle for weight loss, make sure to follow these safety tips:
- Always wear a bicycle helmet. No matter how short the cycle is, it is vital to wear a helmet to protect the head against concussion. Head injuries are very common among bicyclists, especially when cycling on rough and hilly terrains. Even if you are expert in maneuvering your bike, there is always a chance of getting into an accident. That is why wearing a bicycle helmet should never be forgotten and must be a top priority when cycling.
- Wear bright clothing to make you visible. The best time to cycle is during the day when everybody can see you. But, if it is unavoidable to cycle at night, always wear reflective clothing to make you visible among drivers along the road. Use rear lights and headlights on your bicycle and equip it with front, rear and spoke reflectors, a rearview mirror, pedal reflectors and a horn or a bell.
- Follow traffic rules. Bikes have the same road rules as other vehicles. Make sure to ride in accordance to the traffic flow, obey signal lights use hand signals before turning and yield right of way. Stay alert and watch for debris on the road, turning vehicles and opening car doors. Be careful in crossing intersections so you will not encounter an accident.
- Follow other safety tips. Always wear comfortable shoes to protect the feet and avoid using sandals. Have a repair gear with you and a cellular phone to seek help if needed Stay away from riding on sidewalks because drivers cannot see you clearly at intersections, and avoid getting drunk when you are cycling. For the same reason, alcohol intoxication can lead to fatal injuries and death when you drive, and this is also applicable to anyone who cycles for weight loss.
When you are cycling for weight loss, you have to make a few decisions and consider these questions. Losing weight is not an easy goal to achieve, that is why you have to have a clear vision of what you want to make this achievable.
- Do you prefer to cycle alone or with a buddy? Whether you choose to cycle alone or with another individual, these methods can work for you. Some people feel comfortable cycling alone, while others find it easier to join in groups or with a buddy. Just choose which strategy motivates you to cycle on a regular basis so that you can achieve your targeted weight loss goal.
- What time of the day will you cycle? For working individuals, it is quite difficult to decide the time to cycle. However, if you can use your bike to and from work, that would be better. The easiest way to cycle daily is to use the bike in commuting. If this seems impossible, you have to decide what time of the day can you cycle; probably before going to work, or you can take a ride in the evening.
- Would you prefer to cycle outdoors or indoors? Generally speaking, outdoor cycling provides one of the best experiences, but if you do not feel comfortable, you can purchase a bike trainer stand to use your bike inside and increase your fitness levels even if you do not have to go out. Take your time to cycle indoors and consider doing it outdoors sooner or later, so you can experience the terrains and impact of the wind, which adds pressure and challenge to your cycling routine.
- Do you need a trainer? Getting a trainer is the best way to ensure that you stick with your exercise program no matter how unprepared you are, but this option can be expensive. If you think you can cycle without the guidance of a trainer, make a training schedule and keep on your progress. The more you stick to the cycle program, the greater the chances of losing weight.
Cycling Slowly and Surely
It is quite hard to stick to a cycling program if you do not enjoy this kind of activity. Consistency is very important in order to achieve the desired weight, but if you are a bit impatient and tardy, this goal is unachievable.
So if you want to try cycling for weight loss and experience great results, do not be disheartened with the little achievement you might get. Even if you lost one or two pounds a week, it is already a big difference. You should also work out how many calories you will burn roughly when doing your cycles so that you know where you stand in regards to your diet.
Keep in mind that losing weight takes time and a lot of effort. Use cycling as an opportunity to improve your fitness level and eventually shed excess fats in your body. This kind of activity is safe and fun, especially if you meet new friends or discover great places that you have never visited. Do not forget that it takes a lot of perseverance to improve your physique. As long as you cycle every day, you can always get the goal you set for yourself.
Sticking To The Right Diet
Of course, when you are cycling for weight loss, you have to make some changes to your food choices. No matter how consistent you are in riding a bike, you cannot lose weight if you do not follow a healthy and balanced diet. Fad diets and crash diets are not the answer to weight loss, as it can cause long term negative effects on your body. The best diet is something that nourishes the cells and sheds off excess fats.
Introduce more protein to your diet to jumpstart your metabolism. Do not forget to drink at least 8 glasses of water or more, in order to stay hydrated. A hearty and nutritious meal includes a balanced intake of fats, protein and carbohydrates, so planning is essential to make weight loss possible. Remember, cutting sugary snacks, carbonated beverages and junk foods should also be done to achieve your cycling goals. If creating a healthy meal is something that you find challenging to do, consult a nutritionist or a dietician to help you in the process. On the other hand, if you have an existing medical condition, do not forget to consult your doctor before you start cycling for weight loss.
Cycling is one of the safest and easiest workout routine. It is a low impact activity, so it does not strain your joints and the lower muscles of your body. However, before committing to cycle for weight loss, it is necessary to equip yourself with the right gear and consider some factors that can affect your desire to start cycling for weight loss. Make sure also to have the right attitude, as consistency and perseverance will help you become successful. Lastly, you always have to have the right diet to complement your cycling program. Your efforts to step on the pedal and ride the bicycle will definitely not be wasted if you choose to eat healthy and balanced meals.