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Cycling for Beginners

August 15, 2012

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CyclingWhether searching for a new fitness routine or simply wanting to find a commuting method that is kinder on the environment, cycling is an excellent choice. Cycling is a low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints and works your major muscles including the quads and core, and burns an average of 200 calories per 30 minutes. Cycling can help build lean muscle and tone the body, as well as trim fat and increase cardiovascular health.

What You’ll Need to Get Started with Cycling

First, decide on the type of bike: mountain, road, or hybrid. Obviously a mountain bike is more suited for trails – if this is the type of cycling you are interested in, then go for it. A hybrid bike can handle both road and most trails, while a road bike is designed for paved surfaces only. Then spend some time getting used to your new bike – changing gears, braking, and turning. Also, familiarize yourself with the rules of the road for cyclists and the hand signals used.

You will also need the following equipment:

  • A helmet: it should sit securely on your head, the straps tight enough to feel them when you open your mouth.
  • Front and rear lights, as well as reflectors
  • Basic tool kit that contains a puncture repair kit, tire levers, spare tube, multi-tool, and a pump
  • Clothes: Specifically cycling shorts and athletic shirts or cycling jerseys
  • Water bottle and holder

Make sure you understand the basics of caring for your bike – such as adjusting the seat and handlebars, changing a flat, and maintaining the chain, gears, and brakes.

Cycling for Fitness

Start off with a few 15-20 minute sessions per week to get your muscles attuned to the rigors of cycling. At home you can complete lunges, squats and planks to build up your major muscle groups so you can increase your workout (and see the results) more quickly. You should also incorporate stretching into your routine after you ride; specifically the hips, quadriceps, and hamstrings, to prevent stiffness or muscle pulls.

Once you have mastered the basics of cycling, gradually increase the difficulty by seeking out longer hill climbs, a faster cadence, or longer, more frequent cycling sessions. Above all, do not lose your motivation – it may take a few weeks before you get the hang of cycling and begin to notice the positive health effects, but keep at it! If you are ready to get started, here is an excellent training plan to get you on track.

22 Days Nutrition Supports Cyclists!

If you are in the South Florida area, be sure to keep an eye out for our Snack Car in Key Biscayne on the weekends. We’ll be out and about supporting cyclists with the best kind of fuel – 22 Days Nutrition bars!

Photo: tejvanphotos

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