- Have Heart
Currently, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Numerous studies have verified a correlation between cycling and improved cardiovascular fitness. Riding your bicycle is associated with a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. A Purdue University study, for example, concluded that regular cycling can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent. Those who also regularly cycled were 31% less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who did not. It’s been noted by the British Heart Foundation that around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could have been avoided each year if people kept themselves fit and within their ideal weight. The same organization stated that cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease by half! So find a way to ride 20 miles per week and you will reap benefits of epic proportions. Trouble getting motivated? Read on. Here is an article with more information.
- Sound Mind
Most of us know there is a direct link between feeling great and exercise. The “runner’s high,” in this case the “peddlers high,” can take you to new heights. It’s a proven fact that biking produces the happy hormone in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain—areas known to be involved in dealing with stress. No matter how miserable you are when you begin your ride, cranking through the miles will lift your spirits. “Any mild-to-moderate exercise releases natural feel-good endorphins that help counter stress and make you happy,” explains Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation. In fact, more general practitioners are now prescribing “exercise therapy” as a way to treat depression. To get the boost that you need, make sure to schedule in at least three 30-minute sessions per week.
- Body (Not So) Fat
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The eating season is upon us, Thanksgiving to New Years. Looking to keep your weight in check during the holiday season? Sports physiologists have found that the body’s metabolic rate – the efﬁciency with which it burns calories and fat – is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards. Mark Simpson of Loughborough University stated, “Even after cycling for 30 minutes, you could be burning a higher amount of total calories for a few hours after you stop.” This is called the Afterburn Effect. Your body has to work twice as hard, and thus burning more calories, after intense exercise to replenish its oxygen stores. The more intense the workout the longer the afterburn will last.
To add intensity to your workout, cyclists should incorporate fast intervals into their ride. This way you will burn three-and-a-half times more body fat than those who cycled constantly but at a slower pace. I also recommend working out in the morning in order to maximize the afterburn effect because your metabolism drops as soon as you go to sleep.
Ride. Be Safe. Have Fun.