Why Cycling Is the Best Way to Lose Weight
What is the best way to lose weight? I have long been an advocate of cycling for weight loss. Here’s why.
With a few New Year’s resolutions on the brink of being abandoned only a week into the new year, it’s no small wonder that so many people feel unfulfilled after years of promising themselves to make progress that never happens.
After all, sensitive issues like weight loss take time and dedication, often conjuring up images of unpleasant high-intensity work along the way. This year can be different, though. Cycling could just be the workout that helps you shed some weight without breaking yourself down in the process.
If you aren’t totally convinced a bike ride is your ticket to a better you, here are five compelling reasons to hop on a bike and pedal until your unwanted weight melts away.
1. Outdoor Exercise Has Big Benefits
Fun fact: your gym may not be the best place to go if you have trouble sticking to exercise routines. As it turns out, the scenery in which you spend time aching and sweating can seriously change how you react to the exercise, among other strange effects.
Spending more time outdoors while exercising can boost your mood and enhance self-esteem just by the simple act of exerting yourself somewhere without a TV and other worldly distractions.
2. It’s Easily Accessible
It’s not as cheap as jumping jacks yet the barrier for entry to the world of cycling for weight loss is extremely low. Low enough to trip over when you take into account the cost of a second-hand bike for cruising around town, too. While there are plenty of expensive options for when you really devote big chunks of time to your new hobby, entry-level bikes rarely cost more than a few hundred dollars at their worst. The only accessory you absolutely need is a helmet and then you’re ready to go.
Those who intend to spend time tearing it up off-road may be concerned for their bike’s sturdiness when cutting cost corners, but a cheap entry-level mountain bike can be more than enough for a daily rider unless you find yourself taking on advanced courses that have plenty of drops and sharp turns. For the average off-road rider, you’re only looking for better off-road shocks and bigger tires; If you’re bending the frame of your bike, you’re probably riding way too hard!
3. Biking Doesn’t Have to Go Outdoors
It’s hard to fit in certain exercises during nastier parts of the year. Try going for a swim in the dead of winter, for instance, and you’ll probably be done with that form of exercise for the rest of your life. Biking fits into indoor training routines just as smoothly as it does outdoor regiments as long as you have the necessary gear.
It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive, either. Secondhand stationary bikes from hopeful exercisers who couldn’t stick with their routines are practically begging to be hauled away from homes in every corner of the country. Check local secondhand markets and swap shops before rushing out to buy something brand new if you’re not sure how well you’ll like hopping between indoor and outdoor riding.
4. Bike Rides Can Be Social
You don’t have to exercise alone. For some that’s not as much a positive note as it is a dire threat. If you like to take out your earbuds to get in some chatter while still managing to better yourself, riding in a group is a lovely way to keep your social life healthy while doing the same for your body. Riding isn’t as high-intensity as weightlifting and doesn’t require as much focus as swimming, which means there’s more time for actual conversation along the way.
Local bike clubs are only the first step in finding new riding buddies. If no local organization exists to help you meet up with other riders, start one of your own! It doesn’t have to be an extensive club. Invite a few friends out for an afternoon of catching up and getting back into shape. Group activities and social pressures might help you stick with your new goals better than if you went it alone. Positive reinforcement works wonders!
5. Your Daily Flow Doesn’t Have to Suffer
The biggest hurdle many face comes when it’s time to dedicate hours and hours to exercise. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and non-essential activities are often the first to suffer, even if they turn out to be more important than tidying up the house. Working a ride into your daily commute or trips into town means your routine can stay relatively unharmed while still fitting in heart-healthy exercise at a moment’s notice.
Starting a cycling routine to lose weight doesn’t have to be a daunting, headfirst dive into unfamiliar territory. Grab a bike, strap on a helmet and go see the world for a while. Your waistline will thank you, and you just might make a few friends along the way.