It’s warmer now. Here’s why riding a bike outside is a great way to exercise
You spend so much of your life on wheels, either in your car on the way to work or sitting on a rolling chair at your office. You’re not getting any healthier on four or five wheels.
Spring provides an opportunity to lose a few wheels and ride a bike, a fitness activity that cuts calories and is easy on your joints. You don’t need spandex to get started.
Donna Granback, a personal trainer at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill., provides some top reasons to take your bike out of the garage and start pedaling.
- You can travel longer distances than walking or running while enjoying the sights of your town or city.
- It’s low-cost after you buy the bike and helmet. You might already have them.
- It’s easy on your joints and therefore good for the aging body.
- You get to be outside.
- It’s great for families, especially on bike trails.
- The exercise is good for your heart.
- You don’t have to be an expert to get started. You probably learned how to ride a bike decades ago.
- You can go places and run errands you needed to do anyway.
Granback also offers some tips for people who want to move beyond riding along the bike path:
- Indoor cycling (spin) classes are one way to test your endurance before going out for a long ride
- You can join cycling clubs in many cities and suburbs where you can learn more and get encouragement.
- Stop at a few bike shops to see what’s out there. Talk to people about what type of riding you want to do (trail/road, easy/fast) to ensure you have the correct type of bike.
- Buy a bike that actually fits your body. Bike shop experts can help.
- You can spend a lot, but you don’t have to.
And remember, wear a helmet.
About the Author
Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.