Biking for Weight Loss and Better Health
For those struggling with obesity, it can be tough to find physical activities to incorporate into everyday life. One of the best activities for those just starting out on their weight loss journey is biking, which is both a great alternative mode of everyday transportation and an excellent way to combat obesity.
Benefits of Biking
Unlike running and other forms of exercise, which may be tough on the joints, bicycling provides a low-impact way to boost your heart rate and burn calories. For example, a calculator on Bicycling.com estimates that a 200-pound person biking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes burns 272 calories. Going for a ride every day can dramatically improve cardiovascular health, help you lose weight, and facilitate healthy living. Consider some of the other benefits of cycling:
- It’s a whole-body workout. Many beginning cyclists mistakenly believe that biking works only the leg muscles. Although your thighs may begin to burn after a few minutes on your bike, cycling is actually a whole-body workout. The arms, back, and core muscles must also be engaged to maintain biking posture.
- It helps to build stamina. On your first attempt, you may only be able to bike for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. After a few weeks of regular rides, however, you’ll notice yourself cruising for 30 minutes or more with little trouble.
- Cycling helps to reduce stress. Managing the chronic stress often associated with obesity is challenging. Biking stimulates the release of brain chemicals known as endorphins, resulting in a pleasurable feeling and stress reduction.
- It’s a year-round activity. Even in the snowy winter, you can stay active by using a stationary bike in your own home. You’ll get the same benefits as riding outdoors, and some models even include simulated hills.
How to Get Started
Fortunately, biking does not require expensive equipment or specialized techniques. Simply find your old bike or borrow one from a friend and begin riding. Focus on maintaining a steady pace and keeping your heartbeat at a level high enough that it’s tough to carry on a conversation. Exploring trails in the Fayetteville and DeWitt NY areas is a great way to get started. For example, the Cato-Fair Haven Trail winds more than 14 miles through beautiful forest and is a particularly nice ride in the autumn months. Once you’re used to riding, use your bike to get to the store or to do other everyday tasks.