Whilst the weather is warm it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the fresh air and enjoy some outdoor activities, why not re-engage with a childhood memory and get on your bike.
Cycling is a great fitness option and if you are unsure where to start, British Cycling is the national governing body for cycling in Great Britain. Their website is extremely comprehensive and will not only give you information about the 2012 Olympics but will also help you find a local cycling club, as well showing commuter and recreational routes.
Cycling offers a quick and easy way to improve your fitness, burn some calories and get you to work. A number of businesses now offer and encourage employees to save between 40 – 50% on a brand new bike and accessories through the government’s Cycle to Work scheme. If you don’t want to purchase a new brand bike there are plenty of other options. Look for nearly new, second hand bikes or if you live in a big town or city you will find bike hire shops.
Whether you are looking for a family activity or something to take part in where you can relax and forget the day’s troubles, cycling offers something for all ages and fitness abilities. Cycling can be especially beneficial for people who are carrying a lot of weight as the body’s weight is supported by the bike, and this helps to relieve any pressure that physical activities such as running would inflict on the joints. It’s also a great way to help tone the thighs and buttocks as well as strengthening the stomach and back muscles as these are the larger muscle groups used whilst cycling.
If the weather does turn, and you don’t fancy getting wet, you’re probably unsure how to lose weight fast. You can always try a spinning class at the local gym or sports centre. Spinning classes take place in an aerobic studio, on stationary bikes with strobe style lighting and high energy music to create a buzzing atmosphere. The class instructor guides participants through a warm-up, hill climbs, sprints and races before a cool down. The classes are great for burning some serious calories and also for the hard core cyclists who want to maintain their fitness levels throughout the winter period.
Cycling is the perfect family sport due to the selection of bikes available and the accessories to go with them. If you are a couple there is nothing more romantic than the thought of a leisurely ride on a tandem, of course it may be advisable to take turns in riding up front so that one person isn’t always doing all the hard work. If you are going out as a family it’s easy for the little ones to join in with a trailer. These contraptions are like a small buggy that is attachable to the rear of the bike; there are normally one or two seats, so enough room for some bags and the dog too. If the kids are a little older and can cycle on their own another option is a bike tow-bar. This again fixes easily to the back of the bike, where the kids can cycle independently but can then be attached to an adult bike and freewheel if they tire out.
If cycling is a new hobby there are some things to consider before you get started to ensure you are safe and comfortable. The height of your saddle is really important and should be checked before heading off anywhere. It’s also important to equip yourself with a well fitting helmet. Remember, pace yourself, it’s not about going out there and then not being able to walk the next day, take it slowly and build up the miles or amount of time you are cycling for. Once the body gets used to the physical exertion try hilly rides, cycling faster but for shorter periods of time, or even longer distances but at a slower pace, there are also sorts of things you can do to keep it interesting and fresh. This will also help your body to continue responding to the exercise and improving your fitness levels.