Cycling is a fun fitness option at every age. It’s easier on your joints than some other forms of cardio, yet it’s just as efficient.
And you don’t have to limit yourself to the stationary bike in your basement or at your gym. Getting outdoors on two-wheels can be energizing and entertaining — so much so that it may not even feel like a workout.
For those who want to shed pounds, cycling is also a great calorie-burner. A 155-pound person riding at about 11 miles an hour can burn about 400 calories in 60 minutes. You’ll also tone and strengthen your leg muscles, especially the thighs. Riding up hills or off-road will help work the upper body as well.
If you’re a beginner, start with 15-to-20-minute rides to get used to the bike, especially the saddle, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. To get the most out of your workout, keep pedaling and resist the urge to coast. Ramp up time and distance as you get more comfortable and build stamina.
While cycling is a great weekend activity, you might try to fit cycling into your daily routine. Two-wheel it to work or to visit a friend, instead of taking the car.
To stay safe on the road, ride on the right with the flow of traffic and always obey traffic signals.
Don’t forget to protect your noggin. A properly fitted bike helmet can reduce your risk of a head injury by as much as 85 percent. Always wear it, whether you’re commuting or just touring your neighborhood.
The League of American Bicyclists has a wealth of information on cycling including essential rules of the road to keep you safe.