Fitness Friday: 5 Reasons to Start Bike Riding

It seems like a lot of people are going ‘green’ and picking up riding bikes for their commute versus driving. Though riding your bike definitely can help save the planet (and your wallet), bike riding is one of the most effective exercises that you can do. Here’s 5 Reasons to start riding for a workout.

1. You Can Do It On The Go:
Half of American workers live within five miles of their workplace, according to the most recent National Household Transportation Survey. That’s a totally doable 20-minute ride each way. If you live close to your office, you can pedal to work twice a week and burn up to 3,000 extra calories—close to one pound of fat—each month. 

2. It Burns Major Calories
A 235-pound woman pedaling 12 to 14 miles an hour blast up to 976 calories in 60 minutes. 

3. It Tones – Everywhere
Cyclists are notorious for having killer legs. After all, the quads, glutes, and calves are propelling the bike. But working the handlebar sculpts your upper body too, giving you balanced tone, says Erik Moen, a physical therapist who treats elite athletes. 

4. It’s a MAJOR Energy Booster
Feeling sluggish? A study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that bike riding improved energy levels by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent. Why? Cycling triggers your brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is linked to energy, says lead author Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia at Athens. There’s no need to ride hard to harness the perk. People in the study who pedaled at a low to moderate pace three times a week fought fatigue best. 

5. It’s a PAIN Saver
Riding a bike puts a lot less stress on the knees, ankles, and spine than walking or running. Get the perfect fit: Your knee should bend just slightly (about 25 degrees) on the down pedal stroke. If it’s too straight or too bent, bring your ride to a bike shop and have a professional fitter adjust your saddle.

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