Getting fit can be as easy as riding a bike!

May 16, 2022
Posted in: Fitness   Posted by: Laura Cutts

Did you know that regularly cycling to work can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 46%? Also, replacing just 1 daily journey by car with a stint in the saddle will reduce your annual carbon footprint by approximately 0.5 tonnes.

If you add that it’s a great way to get in shape and to enjoy the endorphin boost that outdoor exercise brings, then it’s no surprise we’re keen to encourage you to make the most of National Bike Week, starting on 6th June. Here are a few tips from our Heart + Soul Fitness experts to get you started and to help you to make the most of every ride.

A Bike’s a Bike?

Take a moment to decide what you want and are likely to need from your bike. Road bikes are speedy, ridden in a bent over position and are ideal for improving fitness but if trail blazing in the parks and woods is more your thing then a mountain bike is your steed. If you’re looking to turn your commute to work into a calorie-burner then a folding model should be on your radar but if you plan to do no more than an occasional jaunt to the shops, you can do it in style with a more comfortable hybrid also known as the city bike.

Calorie Cycle

Although using similar muscles, as opposed to the 4 stages of running, cycling only requires 2, namely the power and recovery phases. However, it’s just as effective for toning the legs and bum with the benefit of removing the impact that can lead to overuse injuries. Cycling at 10mph will burn a considerable 420 calories per hour but get your speed up to 15mph and you could incinerate a massive 600 calories. If weight loss is your goal, then, you can clearly cycle your way to a healthier you.

Technique

Set the saddle at hip height and the handlebars to give you a hinged position at the hip but not so that you have to round your spine and bend forwards. Try to release your feet and keep your ankles in a neutral or comfortable position. When approaching a hill, anticipate the lower gear you will need and then settle into a rhythm. Standing up on the pedals is a good way to relieve the boredom of tackling a big incline. Rocking side to side will also help. Hands do a lot of work in hanging on, so could be prone to fatigue, even injury, so to prevent this, it’s advised to frequently change hand positions.

Accessorise

To help ensure your rides are pure pleasure rather than pain, it’s worth investing in a pump, a bottle and holder, a bell, rack and padded cycle shorts (trust us, this one is essential!)

Safety First

Keep your bike in good working order by taking it to a bike shop for regular servicing. Always wear bright or reflective clothing and ensure you have working lights for evening rides. Ride assertively and communicate with other road users via hand signals and eye contact. Whilst a helmet is no substitute for safe cycling and will not prevent an accident happening, it will reduce the resultant injury.

Workouts

To turn your time in the saddle into a journey to a fitter you, try the following:

  • Cadence Ride – Constant speed and effort for the duration of your workout, so you’ll need a flat area for this. Aim for around 100 revolutions per minute for a basic cardio session.
  • Hill Climbs – Get out of the saddle and stomp on the pedals to power you up the inclines in as high a gear as you can manage to achieve maximum below the belt toning.
  • Intervals – Alternating between high gears and lots of effort with low geared bouts of slower pace for recovery. Start with 60secs fast followed by 60secs slow and gradually reduce your rest periods.
  • Sprints – After your hill climbs, take advantage of the decline and up your leg speed to descend as rapidly as you can.

 

At Heart + Soul Fitness we have bikes for you to use to explore our beautiful location, plus a different length of routes you can follow. If you prefer a studio session our daily APEX class will bring out the Kenny in you – be that Laura or Jason!

 

 

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