Biking to lose weight
By Team Active's Alex Miller
Biking to lose weight is a long-term commitment like many other exercise routines. Biking doesn’t really benefit you by burning calories fast over a short workout (which it can depending on how you ride), but instead by raising your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. This is the factor that decides how many calories your body burns at all times, doing anything from lounging around on the sofa to sprinting uphill, full tilt. Biking, and many other forms of exercise, benefit you by raising your BMR for long after you’ve finished your workout, and gradually raising its minimum level over a long period of time by building leaner, more efficient muscle tissue. In fact, just 45 minutes of biking in the early to mid-morning (such as a commute to work) is likely to keep you at an elevated BMR all day, which will slowly trim fat over weeks and months, but also help you to keep it off as your metabolism changes.
To change your metabolism in this way by biking, especially over weeks, months, or even years, it’s important to ride in such a way that you can get your workout without putting too much strain on any part of your body. Biking is touted as a non-impact activity, meaning your joints don’t bear the weight of your body, the bike does. This is a huge benefit, since it means you can schedule biking exercise whenever possible, without having to worry about also scheduling down time or switching between different activities to give your body time to recuperate. That’s not to say that biking won’t make you sore or tired and your muscles won’t ache in new and interesting ways for the first few weeks, they most certainly will, but at the very least there shouldn’t be any obvious long-term health problems a few decades down the line.
When you think of cycling, you imagine the workout your legs will get. However, there is a group of muscles that is just as important, if not more important to your cycling: Your core muscles.
If you’ve ever been on a bike, you know that balance is key. That means keeping a strong core. Biking uses all those small stabilizing muscles that you take for granted.
To get the most core workout from your bike ride, make sure you maintain good form and posture. This means having a bike that is the proper size and fit for you; bikes are not one size fits all. Visit your local bike shop for a fitting if necessary.
Biking is one of best workouts you can do, that doesn’t feel like a workout! It’s a great way to get around town, and a lot of fun. Get out and ride so you can enjoy the nice weather while it lasts!
Biking with Mom
Mother’s Day is coming up! Have you thought about what you’re going to get your mother yet? How about a beautiful new bike!
Bikes are the perfect presents for mothers of all ages. They are not only great exercise, they don’t beat up your joints like many forms of exercise. Biking is an activity that is very healthy, but it’s so much fun that it doesn’t feel like exercise at all! When you are biking, time seems to fly by, a sentiment rarely expressed inside the gym. It’s the quickest, most fun way to stay in shape or drop pounds.
Biking is a great activity for families of all size and ages - or just you and your mom on a leisurely bike ride. This mother’s day, weather hopefully permitting, try treating your mom to a bike ride to the park. The best gift you can give is your time.
Summer Biking Safety
It’s officially summer! We hope you already have the bike out and going! The days are longer which makes biking much easier and safer. However, though it gets dark later, there are still plenty of safety issue to keep in mind while biking. Some summer safety biking tips include:
Hydration is important at all times in the year. However, the summer heat makes staying hydrated even more important. Take a water bottle with you and be sure to plan your route ahead well enough so that you know how much water you’ll need.
Lights are not just for the night. There are a variety of attachable lights you put on your bike. Make sure your light is at least 50 lumens so that it can be seen during the day.
Be sure to always wear bright, reflective clothes, especially at night. Dressing in light colors can also reduce your chance of becoming overheated. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen! Just because you are on the bike doesn’t mean those sun rays can’t catch you.
The Season Never Ends
“The season never ends.” Let that be your motto when it comes to biking. The days when you had to put away the bike in fall and take it back out in the spring are over.
The number one key to biking in the winter is dressing warm. The wind is often worse than the actual cold. Layers are best. Try a wicking base layer shirt followed by an insulating fleece top, then a windproof jacket. Keep in mind, biking will cause you body to create it’s own heat, so avoid overdressing so that you don’t overheat.
There are several different kinds of winter gear you can obtain to make biking easier. Some people will swap in their helmets for full face helmets. Ski goggles are also a great way to keep your eyes protected from the the wind. Switch out gloves for mittens or “lobster”-style handwear, which keep fingers close together and warmer. For your feet, you can wear winter boots or obtain warm shoe covers.
Your bike itself is also prone to the dangers of winter, specifically snow and ice. Your first option is to replace your tires with studded tire, giving you extra traction. You other option is to purchase a “fat” bike, which has been gaining popularity in the last few years. These fat bikes have very large tires that make maneuvering through ice and snow much easier.
Don’t let the snow slow you down, you have options. Don’t forget, the biking season never ends.