Here’s a simple question – “Is biking good exercise ?”  And the short answer is an emphatic “Yes”. Now I’m going to go into a little more detail as to why.

Low-impact

First things first; biking causes literally zero impact to your joints and body for that matter.  If you have been told by your doc or PT to choose exercise that doesn’t pound your body into mincemeat, then biking is your hookup.

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Muscle Recruitment

I don’t want to sound crude or anything but lets face it…cyclists have great butts, whether it’s the dedicated road rider or the spin class junky.  The reason why is because of this functional movement called hip extension.

Whenever you kick your upper leg backward, you do hip extension.  This causes you to contract the large glute muscles found on the posterior side of the body.  Aside from the glutes, biking also works the hamstrings, quads, calves, hip flexors, adductors, abductors and even core.  The emphasis varies in each area, depending on how hard you pedal, and whether you sit or stand.

All in all, you will not get big showcase muscles by biking, but you will get lean and defined.

Caloric Expenditure

Weight loss is one of the top motivators for people to partake in exercise.  And if this is in fact your goal, biking can deliver you results.  Since you are bending multiple joints and working a bevy of muscles in unison, you create a lot of heat in your body.  This leads to a generous caloric expenditure and the ultimate melting of fat.

Depending on your age, gender and intensity, it’s not uncommon to burn 800-plus calories in a single workout.  I’m a big fan of interval training where you alternate your intensity up and down throughout your workout.  This will boost your caloric output and also rev up your metabolism for hours after you are done.

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Heart Healthy

Biking is a form of cardiovascular exercise.  When you do cardio, your heart rate gets elevated and you break a sweat.  Not only does this cause a nice caloric expenditure as I mentioned earlier, but it also strengthens your heart, thus reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attack and so on.  Remember, your heart is a muscle too and it also needs to be worked to stay healthy.

Notes and Considerations

Be aware that you need to bike regularly to reap the full benefits it has to offer.  If you go for a slow cruise in the park once a week, don’t expect anything miraculous to happen.  Hit the saddle often and for an extended period of time.  I suggest doing at least 30 minutes of biking in a clip, and feel free to ride five-plus days a week.

Lastly, be sure to execute proper form when you are biking.  Keep your shoulders back, eyes looking forward and never, ever ever slouch!  Focus on using 90% quality technique or I’m afraid your biking privileges will be revoked!

Ok, you should now have a good understanding of why biking is good exercise and what it can do for you.  Let me know if you have any more questions or comments and I’ll happily lead you in the right direction.

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