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Bicycling offers a safe and effective full body workout.
Your favorite childhood pastime now can become your new favorite workout. Whether you are pedaling a 10-speed on the road or a stationary bike in the gym, cycling is a fun and affordable way to get a full body workout. It can also be beneficial for those with joint pain, knee pain or back problems without putting a lot of stress on the joints.
Pedal Fast to Burn Fat
The American Council on Exercise says riding a bike is one of the best cardiovascular workouts, burning calories and unwanted fat by increasing your heart rate. If you want to lose weight, add intervals to your bike ride. Interval training involves short bursts of speed followed by recovery. Additionally, your metabolism stays higher for as long as 12 hours after a vigorous workout. Warm up for five to 10 minutes pedaling at a moderate intensity over flat terrain. Then ride at your maximum heart rate, about an 8.5 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, for 30 seconds, followed by two minutes of recovery time by riding at an easier pace. Repeat this series five to six times. Finish with a 10-minute cool-down. Work up to where you can ride faster longer with shorter recovery time. Add an interval ride once or twice a week.
Incline to Tone Your Legs
When you place the balls of your feet on the pedal, cycling strengthens your upper and lower leg muscles, especially when you ride uphill. If you are on a stationary bike, increase the resistance of your bike until you need to stand to pedal. If you're outdoors, ride up hills by shifting to a lower gear and standing up. Add three or four sets of hill intervals by riding up a hill for one minute, followed by easy riding, or coasting, for two minutes. Do five sets, once a week.
Sculpt to Tighten Your Arms
Cycling is not the best exercise to tone up your chest, shoulders and arms, so you should incorporate circuit training twice a week. Complete two or three sets of 10 reps each exercise. To begin the series of exercises, stand with your feet hip distance apart holding dumbbells. To do the shoulder press, hold dumbbells in each hand so that one end is touching the outside of each shoulder and your palms are facing forward. Press the weights up. Return to the starting position. After completing the recommended reps, perform bicep curls as you hold the dumbbells in each hand at your sides, close to your body and your palms facing forward. Slowly bring the dumbbells toward your shoulders. With control, lower the dumbbells back to start. For triceps, hold a heavy weight with both hands on each side of the weight. Lift the weight above your head. Bending at your elbows only, slowly lower it behind your head. With control, lift the weights back to start.
Ride to Strengthen Your Core
Your core can get a workout too. While you pedal, your hips and abdominals act as secondary muscles. To activate your core muscles, maintain a normal spinal curvature by pulling your navel into your spine and keeping hips in neutral position. Bicycling outdoors adds the bonus of using the core muscles even more when you climb hills and navigate tough terrain. Cycling also burns calories and fat around your waistline, creating a more toned core.