What’s the first activity that comes to mind when you hear the term cardio? Like most, you probably imagine a jog in the park or a session on the elliptical machine in the gym.
While both of these are beneficial, there is one near-perfect option you should consider.
What are we talking about? Bike riding.
Read on to find out why you should grab your bike and go for a peaceful ride outside.
- It Offers An Excellent Caloric Burn
Most people do cardio to burn calories and lose weight, which isn’t necessarily bad. Plenty of aerobic activities burn large amounts of cardio and help us shed unwanted weight.
Biking is fantastic because it helps us burn plenty of calories without placing any stress on our joints. As such, riding a bike is a fantastic activity for beginners who want to get in shape and lose some fat.
- It’s Great For Our Cardiovascular Health
Countless research papers show us that bike riding is fantastic for our cardiovascular health. While the activity mostly involves the lower body, pedaling can be challenging, pushing our aerobic system hard.
Regular cycling strengthens the heart, making it more efficient and better able to pump more blood with each beat. Over time, the lower resting heart rate can mean a reduced risk of heart-related problems.
Similarly, cycling appears to lower blood triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of plaque build-up inside our coronary arteries.
- It Strengthens The Lower Body
Bike riding is one of the best cardiovascular activities for training and developing the lower body. The primary muscles involved in cycling are our quadriceps, the large slabs of meat that cover the front side of our upper thighs. Their primary function is knee extension, which occurs on every revolution.
Aside from that, cycling is great for developing our calves, hamstrings, and glutes. Together, these large muscle groups contribute to a developed and athletic lower body, capable of a lot.
- It’s Fun And Gives Us The Opportunity to Exercise Outside
Prevailing wisdom suggests that exercise doesn’t have to be fun. Instead, we should see it as the necessary evil that lets us live long, healthy, and happy lives.
Sure, that is one way to look at fitness. Plus, you won’t always feel like working out, so you won’t enjoy 100 percent of your sessions.
Still, having fun with your training is incredibly beneficial because it makes you more motivated, reduces the risk of skipping workouts, and allows you to work harder. Bike riding is fantastic because you can have a ton of fun, travel to different places, enjoy fresh air, and spend time with people close to you.
- It’s a Nice Way to Get Around Town
Let’s be honest:
Most of us are married to our cars. We take the car everywhere we go and can’t imagine a life without it. But let’s look at countries like Denmark for a moment. The Danish have a well-established cycling culture, and a large percentage of their population uses a bike to get around town. The environmentally friendly culture reduces pollution and noise and saves money on transportation costs.
And yes, these countries have well-established bike lanes and highways that make it easy to commute with a bike. But most cities around the world have some biking accommodations. All we need is the motivation and willingness to do so.
Plus, you don’t have to do anything huge. Start small. For example, instead of taking the car everywhere, use the bike when traveling somewhere closer to your home.