For the past month, I have been up by 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning road cycling before starting my day. In my other post Being Blown By the Wind, Mall Walkers & Bikers: Easy Does it, and Breakaway RVA: A Uniquely Richmond Experience, I share about my startum to cycling, the bike group I help found, and other interesting ways to get out and ride.
In this post I wanted to specifically highlight the benefits of bicycling. I love cycling now and I wish I would have stayed on my bike post teen years. I think it’s safe to say that at some point after childhood an adolescent years we ditched our bikes and considered them to be more of “toys” back then. This new day in age with the economy being where it is and with cities being overpopulated we have found a new interest and need for bikes as adults.
I personally use my bicycle for fun and for fitness. Honestly, I’m more drawn and inclined to participate in activities that benefit my well-being. It’s not breaking news that riding a bike can be really good for you. Cycling torches calories, tones your legs, is easier on your joints than running, and can help strengthen your brain.
As a woman who has just entered into my 30s, hey I’m 30! Wow. Anyhow, yeah so as a woman at this stage in my life it is important to me to be both physically and mentally fit. I was reading Women’s Health Magazine and they discussed the rise of women riders. Apparently, female participation in biking has grown over the years while men’s numbers have remained relatively flat. They also report that 60 percent of bike owners today are women ages 17 to 28. They should probably add 30 now that I’m in, lol. Suprisingly, even the most famous bike race, the male-only Tour de France, is catching on and for the first time, it will offer a one-day women’s race.
I am very proud to be a woman who cycles regularly. Since having my second daughter I have stayed in shape and now I’m focused only toning rather than gaining or losing. Your legs and butt—the largest muscles in your body—are the power drivers for any bicycle, which makes cycling a great lower-body toner.
After over a month of cycling I checked my scale and it says the same, 155 pounds. I’m happy because when I take a good look at myself I am loving the skin I’m in. I’m toning up and it feels great. Additionally, I find biking to be liberating and allows me the chance to take it all in. For me the real beauty of bicycling is all the amazing places it can take you. There’s simply nothing in the world like rolling through a forest, pedaling along the edge of the James River, or soaking in the scenery of a hilltop over looking the River city, RVA. Cycling opens up worlds of territory to explore, providing a more intimate understanding of nature and the terrain.
I recommend you buy a bike and start cycling! Cycling is an especially great way to up your activity when you’re out of shape, because you can go farther right off the bat than you would walking or running.
The health benefits of regular cycling include:
- increased cardiovascular fitness.
- increased muscle strength and flexibility.
- improved joint mobility.
- decreased stress levels.
- improved posture and coordination.
- strengthened bones.
- decreased body fat levels.
- prevention or management of disease.
I also read a great article in Momentum Mag titled, Pedaling Towards Happiness that shared 7 Mental Health Benefits of Riding Bikes:
1. “Lifestyle” Exercise Improves Subjective Mood
2. Physical Activity Improves Self-Esteem
3. Physical Activity is an Effective Anti-Depressant
4. Aerobic Exercise Reduces Anxiety
5. Physical Activity Reduces Stress
6. Exercising Outdoors is Better for Your Mental Health
7. You Don’t Have to Sit in the Stupid, Horrible, Soul-Crushing Scourge of Humanity that is Traffic
These are all so true. I can attest!
For beginners I would recommend starting small and work up to more challenging routes as you become comfortable. I first started with doing 1-3 miles daily and then overtime increased. I now do 10-16 miles per day and I’m left feeling like I could go further, but I have to stop and get to work.
I’d much rather be biking.
When you feel comfortable, you can vary your routes. Talk with your local bike shop or club to find out the best spots to ride, like Breakaway RVA: A Uniquely Richmond Experience or discover popular routes with the free app MapMyRide. I use this every ride! Also, don’t forget you will feel more comfortable riding with a helmet. Safety first.