Intro To Cycling
Cycling on the streets of our metros can be dangerous, but don’t write off the exercise because of that. If you’re kitted out properly and remain aware as you ride, it can be a great exercise that has the advantage of doubling as transportation.
Benefits: Cycling is a great aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up and your lower body muscles toned. Ideally, it should be done outdoors, providing the added benefits of fresh air and Vitamin D from sunlight.
Before you start: Make sure you are properly protected. A helmet for outdoor riding is absolutely essential. Carry a water bottle to avoid dehydration. And adjust the seat height to be level with your hip height when standing close to the bike.
During: First, in order to be safe, be aware of your surroundings. Even if you’re not cycling on a main road, passers-by, loose paving, stones and detritus can interrupt your ride with uncomfortable jarring at best and accidents at worse.
Second, if you don’t have a destination in mind, consider setting a time or distance based goal to keep you going, even when you start to feel tired.
Finally, as you ride, focus on pushing the pedal down through your forefoot, and pulling your leg and the pedal up as the pedal rotation completes. This ensures you work both your quadriceps and your hamstrings respectively. Changing gears can increase resistance, making it a harder workout for your legs, and adding hills to your route also increases the difficulty—and reward.
After a workout: Be sure to stretch after your ride in order to prevent pain or injury, as well as to loosen any lingering ‘up-down’ feeling in your legs. Toe touches to stretch your hamstrings, heel-to-butt quadricep stretches, and pigeon asana glute stretches are ideal.
Also consider: Riding with a destination in mind, like your office, is a great way to stay motivated. (Just make sure there’s a shower wherever you go.) Also try riding with your friends and kids—cycling is a great exercise for the whole family.