Biking Fitness & Weight Loss Program


aerobics biking

Biking is a unique type of aerobic exercise in that it can be performed in a number of different ways and across multiple types of environments. For example, some individuals regularly perform a biking exercise routine simply for the physical and mental benefits they receive, the enjoyment of a scenic trip through the countryside.

While on the other hand, others may choose to increase the intensity, difficulty and duration and participate in an exercise routine that will improve their overall cardiovascular endurance and promote safe and effective weight loss.

The convenience, practicality and relatively low impact of cycling make a biking fitness routine a popular choice for millions of individuals that are looking to perform a physical activity that will improve their overall health while toning their lower body and promoting weight loss at the same time.

Biking fitness programs can be performed using a stationary bike, a road bike or a mountain bike. All three types of bikes will promote improvements in cardiovascular endurance, increases in lower body strength and development, and weight loss as well. Stationary bikes are convenient in that they're commonly found at fitness centers and readily available for home use as well. Road bikes are designed to be ridden on pavement and are excellent for long distance rides. Mountain bikes are primarily designed to be ridden off-road on dirt trails, though they can be ridden on pavement as well.

If you plan to ride your bike entirely on pavement, then a road bike is the appropriate bike for you. Mountain bikes weigh more than road bikes and are less aerodynamic. However, if you enjoy riding a bike on a combination of pavement, dirt roads and trails, then a mountain bike is more appropriate as it is designed to withstand the stress of uneven terrain.

Biking is an excellent exercise type for developing muscular strength, endurance and tone in your leg muscles as well as improving your overall cardiovascular endurance. Even pedaling at a moderate pace is effective at improving leg strength and cardiovascular endurance. Although many individuals participate in biking primarily for fun, biking promotes weight loss, improves lower body strength and tone and increases overall cardiovascular endurance and conditioning when done regularly.

Types of Movements


road bike

The movements required to perform a bike exercise routine can be reduced to only the bare essentials by using a stationary bike. The movements associated with exercising on a stationary bike require pushing your legs down and pulling your legs up to drive the pedals in a circular motion.

Exercising with a road bike or mountain bike requires the use of additional muscles as you must maintain balance, keep the bike upright and maneuver the bike through turns, corners and changes in terrain. In addition, biking is considered a low-impact form of exercise that is accessible for most individuals as, when compared to exercises like running or jogging, reduce the stress and impact on your knees and back.

You can increase the intensity of your biking exercise routine by adding hills to your biking route, increasing the distance of your route or decreasing the time required to complete your route.

Targeted Muscles


The thigh muscles - or more specifically, the quadriceps, calves, gluteus maximus and hamstrings muscles - perform the majority of the work while biking. Regularly performing a biking exercise routine will also condition the heart (remember that the heart is a muscle). Because biking requires an overall expenditure of energy, the cardiovascular system is exercised as well. The range of motion, and possibly the resistance, is greater than walking or running, so you will feel the burn in your legs much faster.

Due to the size of the leg muscles and the level at which they are worked during a biking routine, the demand for oxygen increases rapidly. This demand for oxygen causes the lungs and heart to work aggressively to ensure that enough oxygen is brought into the lunges and distributed throughout the entire body. Because of this, biking is an excellent way to increase your heart rate to a level that achieves an aerobic effect.

Aerobic Effect


Biking has the ability to provide an aerobic workout. Because of the full range of motion and resistance provided by biking, biking allows you to reach your target heart rate in a relatively short period of time. For this reason, and due to the convenience of stationary bikes, many individuals use biking as a warm-up and cool-down exercise before and after their primary workout. When performed for over 20 consecutive minutes at your target heart rate, biking provides an excellent cardiovascular workout that is safe, low impact and accessible to almost everyone.

Required Equipment


mountain biking

There are a few items required to regularly perform a biking exercise program. In many cases the price required to begin a biking routine can exceed several other forms of exercise. First, you should have comfortable, unrestrictive clothes that wick moisture away from your body to keep you dry. You must also have a water bottle because you will lose a lot of water through sweat.

The most expensive item required to begin a biking routine is the actual bicycle. The price of a bicycle varies widely as you progress to the higher quality bikes. New bike purchases begin at a reasonable price and escalate rapidly in accordance with the level of component quality and features.

Expect to spend at least $200 for an entry-level bike, $500 to $1,000 for an intermediate model with noticeably enhanced features, and considerably more for a bike designed for racing. You can often save considerably by purchasing a good used bike, so long as you make sure that the bike is in good operating condition. Regular maintenance will also be necessary, with basic tune-ups costing around $30 at an average bike shop.

Second-hand and used stationary bikes are often easy to find at extremely affordable prices. Look at online classified ads and auction sites, or in your local newspaper. While the initial cost of biking may seem high, the value is high as well: today's bikes are made with a high level of quality and provide an excellent means for improving your overall health, endurance and weight loss efforts. Depending on your lifestyle and where you live, a bike may represent an ideal form of day-to-day transportation as well.

Benefits


Biking is an ideal exercise for weight loss. One of the best aspects of biking is that it can be performed in a variety ways, from stationary bikes to road bikes to mountain bikes. Performing your biking routine outside with a road or mountain bike allows you to change your environment and reduce the boredom and apathy that may come with performing an exercise routine over and over. This simple fact alone will improve your chances of regularly performing your biking exercise routine. By doing so, you reap all the benefits of a biking program: toned muscles, increased cardiovascular strength and endurance, a higher metabolism and steady weight loss.

For example, a 150-pound person who bikes vigorously (20 mph) for thirty minutes will burn approximately 500 to 600 calories. The total number of calories burned will increase if your weight is higher. Burning around 500 to 600 calories per exercise session, performed 3 times per week, will reduce your body weight by approximately a half-pound per week.

Biking is a relatively safe exercise. The exercise itself is low-impact. Unlike running and jogging, which provide similar caloric consumption but put stress on your knees and back, biking doesn't involve any jarring movements. Biking develops the muscles in your legs and buttocks, making regular daily activities such as walking and climbing stairs much easier. Biking also increases your coordination and balance, thus reducing the likelihood of falling.

stationary biking

Biking is also an excellent way to increase your overall cardiovascular health and endurance. Your heart and breathing rates will increase to meet the oxygen demands required to perform the biking routine. This will strengthen the heart and other muscles involved in respiration and make your body more efficient at distributing oxygen throughout your body. This translates into more energy for everyday life activities and a reduced risk of cardiovascular illness.

Of all the benefits associated with biking, one of the largest benefits is how rewarding it is. Biking can be a very enjoyable activity, as you are outside and the scenery is ever-changing.

Many individuals simply bike for enjoyment or to reduce the stress of a busy lifestyle, since biking is excellent for stress-relief and emotional well-being. However, biking is not only an enjoyable physical activity, it's an effective cardiovascular exercise type that everyone should consider adding to their overall fitness routine.