When the sun’s shining outside it seems such a shame to retreat back inside to get an exercise fix. Already this summer we’ve suggested some fun park-friendly sports you can do to work up a sweat, but as another way to get out and about and burning those calories, we suggested getting on your bike.
Though the Tour de France may have come to an end, RideLondon (when London’s traffic is banned from the capital to make way for cyclists of all abilities for one weekend only) and Rio 2016’s cycling events are still on the horizon. If cycling isn’t something you’re overly fond of, check out just some of its benefits below and you might just be persuaded to saddle up this summer.
ANYONE CAN DO IT
One of the best things about cycling is that regardless of how long it’s been, getting back on a bike is, well, like riding a bike – you never forget. Even if you’re a little rusty at first, after a few minutes of pedalling you’ll feel like you never stepped down from the saddle.
Regardless of your fitness ability, cycling can be done at for any length of time, and at any speed and incline. If mile-long rides, hills or rough terrain seems a little daunting right now, stick to laps around the parks or flat roads you know well, and then gradually build up to increased level rides.
IT’S GREAT FOR YOUR HEALTH…
Powering on the pedals is great for shedding calories, improving your cardio ability and increasing stamina. Frequent cycling also helps to tone your legs, glutes and core, and is surprisingly very low-impact on the knees and ankles. Committing to an extensive cycling routine is an extremely effective way to build a leaner body overall.
But it's not just the body that benefits from a spin. The release of feel-good endorphins as you cycle helps to bust stress and lifts your mood. Fact.
…AND THE PLANET’S
Burning no fuel except for fat in the human body, cycling is extremely good for the environment. Getting to and from places on a pushbike saves the planet from harmful emissions and vehicle pollutions, plus the usage of in-demand oil and petrol is reduced. It’s a win-win, really.
IT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY
Following on from the point above, not only will cycling to work, local shops and to friends’ house save the planet from pollution, but it will save you some serious pounds. Sure, the initial cost of buying or servicing a bike will be an expense but after that, your daily commute will be 100% free of charge.
YOU CAN BREATHE IN FRESH AIR
With being so damn busy, like, all the time, it’s easy to go from the office straight into the car, to gym, then straight home and not really have a moment of being outside and breathing in fresh air. Swapping your normal mode of transport for a bike this summer will allow you to be out in the sunshine more, soaking up rays (well, fingers crossed) and revelling in the feeling of the breeze hitting your face when you hit a down-hill patch.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT SOLO
Cycling needn’t be done alone. As mentioned before, those of all abilities can ride, and that goes for kids too. In these sunnier months, in the time that you’d normally hit the gym for a workout instead round up the family and friends, and go explore the great outdoors together. You can find cycling routes all over the internet, which range in mileage and scenery. Whether you’re after a long ride in the countryside, a hilly scramble or even a rural route with a pub for lunchtime pit stop (for food only, may we add), assemble your own peloton of peddlers and get going!
If you do head out on your bike, be sure to always cycle safely. Wear a helmet, long clothing to cover bare skin and use headlights when dark. If you haven’t ridden your bike for many months or more, do get it serviced before using it too.
If the weather takes a turn for the worst too, you can always attend one of Fitness First's many spin classes.
RideLondon takes place on Saturday July 30th and Sunday July 31st in central London. Visit the event’s website for more details.