Exercising is one of the most important things when it comes to staying healthy both physically and mentally. For some people, they find it easy to do and can hit the gym and bash out miles and miles of running throughout the week, never feeling any aches or pains. For others, something like a long-distance run or a high-intensity fitness class causes them joint pains and other difficulties.
If that sounds familiar then maybe you should consider another type of exercise. Perhaps the perfect thing for you would be to take up cycling. In fact all signs point to cycling as being one of the best forms of exercise, particularly for those who do have dodgy knees or ankles.
As a low-impact exercise, it’s much easier on the joints than running and other weight-bearing activities. It’s also less hard on your muscles. Research has shown that long-distance runners suffer between 133-144% more muscle damage than cyclists. Despite this, it’s still a fantastic way to improve cardiovascular fitness. The NHS say riding 150 minutes per week on your bike will significantly improve your fitness which is a perfectly manageable amount. As a low-impact exercise, it’s much easier on the joints than running and other weight-bearing activities.
How could you get your 150 minutes in? Why not cycle to and from work two or three times per week, and then aim for a longer cycle at the weekend? Not only would cycling to work get you fitter but it’s also good for the environment and exercising before work is shown to improve productivity – it’s a win-win for everybody!
The benefits don’t stop there. Cycling is a great way to shift some unwanted pounds. An hour of peddling can burn between 400 and 1,000 calories per hour – not only is it fun but it’s a great way to lose weight too. And there’s also the muscle building benefits as well, particularly when tackling hills. The resistance element of cycling will help to shape your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves – a great lower body workout.
Of course, losing weight and improving cardiovascular fitness will help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and some cancers too. As for your mental health, well getting on your bike and cycling is great for destressing and can help people to cope with things like depression. Graeme Obree, a former cycling world record holder, has often spoke about his depression and how cycling helped him in his battles with his mental health.
Plus let’s face it – Perthshire is the perfect place to get out and cycle. With so many great scenic cycling routes stretching across the entire region, there aren’t many better ways to see the area than by bike. Whether it’s cycling up around Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire, or peddling around Loch Leven, you can really appreciate your surroundings while getting great exercise.
So, if you’re already thinking ahead to 2018 and your New Year’s resolution is to get fit then maybe you should consider cycling as a good option. And if your needing a bike, our friends over at The Bike Station will be able to give you their expert advice on the right one for you!
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