Outdoor Cycling

Everything looks better from the seat of a bike. Outdoor cycling is a great way to get around and enjoy the fresh air along with beautiful scenery right in your own neighborhood. Boredom is not a factor as it can be with indoor cycling. But if you’re cycling for a great cardiovascular workout, you need to ride with sufficient frequency, duration and intensity.

One of the advantages of this workout is there is no pounding of the joints like there is with running. The disadvantages are basically the same as any outdoor activity including inclement weather, and unsafe streets (traffic) and darkness. Bike trails can be a safe alternative from the busy streets.

Here are some tips if you plan on choosing outdoor cycling as your exercise routine.

A bicycle should have at least ten speeds to adapt to changes in the terrain. Constant pedal speed will maximize blood flow to the legs to prevent fatigue. The height of your seat should be set high enough so that there is a slight bend in the knee at the down position.

Some people prefer to use toe clips, which can be metal or plastic pieces that help keep your foot attached to the pedal. They can help to improve pedaling efficiency by delivering more muscular power to pedal. A clipless system is also available and they are safer and more comfortable to use.

Cycling apparel should always include a helmet to protect your head. Helmets come in all different sizes and price ranges. Don’t skimp when it comes to quality here. Your helmet should fit snugly and cover the entire top of your head. Along with a good pair of bicycle shoes, padded shorts and gloves improve comfort when pedaling long distances. As gloves provide protection to hands against blisters, padded bike shorts prevent rubbing against the seat.

Glasses, which will protect your eyes from the elements, should be flexible and comfortable enough to wear for hours if need be.

Some other items you should carry are a water bottle, sunscreen and money. A spare tube can come in handy in case you get a flat along with way. Be sure to carry a tire lever, which is the tool used to push the tire away from the rim so you can access the tube.

Biking is a good alternative for people who do not like to run or who have limitations to weight-bearing exercise. It is also a good alternative for those who are easily bored. So, get out your map and chose your route. Don’t be surprised if you find new territory that you didn’t know existed. Enjoy!

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