Cycling Your Way to Health and Happiness

Cycling has been one of the most beloved forms of activity for a while, and it’s only been getting even more popular lately. Those who ride their bicycles every day, using them both for recreational purposes and as a mode of transportation, will tell you that cycling is an uncompromisable part of their lives. The reasons for this are many, but essentially, cycling is really a great way to practice mindfulness, work out your whole body and consequently feel more fulfilled and satisfied in your efforts to lead a healthy, positive lifestyle. Here are the how and why’s and useful tips for those who’re contemplating embracing this wonderful activity.

Ensure you’re getting a proper workout

There’s a common misconception that cycling is a sport that will strengthen your legs significantly in contrast to the rest of your body, leaving you disproportionate-looking. Obviously, you can just have a look at the competitors at Tour de France to understand that they’re some of the overall fittest people out there.

Cycling is a great full-body workout, but the important thing is to adjust your bike properly first and maintain proper position – you can do all this in a couple of simple steps. Additionally, you can change positions depending on how fatigued different parts of your body get so you switch focus a bit and exercise different muscle groups. By pulling your stomach in and elongating your torso, keeping your chest slightly lifted, your core is kept engaged, so it’s a really great exercise for core strengthening without too much strain.

Improve stamina and cardiovascular fitness

As with any other exercise, maintaining regular activity will eventually build up stamina. The beauty of cycling is that it’s a low-impact exercise, meaning it’s easier on the joints (as opposed to running, for example) and it’s something that lets you spend time outdoors, experiencing your surroundings somewhat differently than with just walking. This way, you don’t really feel like you’re straining and working hard towards building up stamina and staying fit – time really passes when you’re riding, you’re not counting reps and you don’t have to be huffing and puffing to get the results.

For starters, try cycling at a moderate pace for half an hour three times a week, and just this will affect your cardiovascular fitness positively. As time passes, you’re likely to find yourself riding your bike much more often than that – to work, to town, in a park, anytime it’s sunny outside.

Embrace a new hobby

Hobbies are an extremely important part of the lifelong journey that self-improvement represents, for many different reasons – increasing confidence, learning patience, challenging yourself and helping prevent bad habits, just to name a few. For those spending quite a bit of time on their bikes, cycling really becomes much more than a great physical activity – it’s a hobby, an expanded interest that lets them connect with other, like-minded people. The interest expands beyond the activity itself, as various bike reviews show how the cycling community finds great appreciation and knowledge of the mechanisms of different bicycles. It really becomes an art form, something people take great pride in learning about as they look for the perfect vehicle in their adventures. If you like the idea of eventually combining technical knowledge with physical activity, cycling is definitely a great hobby to explore.

In case you are new to the cycling ‘clique’, you might want to browse around for cheap road bikes, do some research (be as thorough as you’d like), and find one that best suits your needs and personality.

Practice mindfulness

Stress, the infamous disease of the 21st century is inarguably something we’re all coping with. You might have heard already that cycling to work is how many people manage to avoid commuting stress, as they’re completely in charge of their commute, independent of traffic jams, daily frustrations behind the wheel or jam-packed buses and metros. But there’s more to why cycling is recommended as one of the best stress-relief activities.

Next time you take your bike out on a sunny day, use this opportunity for an exercise in mindfulness. Before pedalling away, focus on your breathing. Take deep, rich breaths and visualise the ride ahead. Smile and close your eyes for a bit longer. You are preparing your brain, and your body’s chemistry, to react positively to the experience ahead.

Maintain these deep, rhythmic breaths as you set out on your journey. Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment – you are connected with your bicycle, with each turn of the pedals, with your own body and the world around you. Be aware of your leg muscles working and let yourself feel the handlebars extending from your arms like another part of your body. Focus on maintaining your breathing rhythm at all times as you take in the sights around you, and think about all the positive things that are happening to you at that moment.

You’ll find that you’re sleeping like a baby after your cycling experience. Give it a try, and you’ll find that there’s just something so empowering, so positive that this simple activity brings.


Photo credits: Pexels and Unsplash

 

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