For the past two years my boyfriend and I have taken up biking and we have really grown to love it. Sometimes we use our bikes for joy riding through our local park for stress relief and other times we use them specifically for exercise.
We have both ridden in a 50 mile ride and really enjoyed it… So we decided this year we would like to shoot for completing a century (100 miles)! And today was the day to get started on our training journey!
Our usual rides are as short as 12 miles and as long as 25 miles. Today we agreed that a 30 mile ride would be a great place to start so that’s exactly what we did!
Luckily, we have plenty of country back roads in Alabama and are able to ride 30 miles without riding in circles. Instead we get to see farming fields, livestock, and enjoy beautiful weather! Believe it or not, it was actually not all that humid today!
The shot below is my boyfriend trailing behind his brother and his brother’s coworker. It is so nice to have like-minded people to bike with on a beautiful Saturday morning.
When biking, you immediately begin to notice 3 things:
- Leg muscles are completely engaged!
- Heart rate increases – yes the cardio!
- Arms and shoulder muscles also become engaged!
Biking is excellent resistance exercise for legs. The quads, hamstrings and glutes will work hard like never before! Especially as you climb hills and fight the head wind. You will definitely be sore the first few times biking until your muscles have grown stronger in order to push you further.
The cardio side is really great also. On flat road, your heart rate will stay up consistently as you stay pedaling. But in hilly areas, you begin HIIT training (high intensity interval training). That is when the heart rate stays elevated for about a minute or so (pedaling uphill) and then your heart rate will begin to fall (coasting downhill). Learn more about HIIT training HERE from the American College of Sports Medicine.
It is EXTREMELY important to stay hydrated while biking. We stopped for refills a few times during our ride.
Below you see my boyfriend and his brother relaxing while taking a quick break for water refills at a local country coffee shop. This was about 13 miles into the ride.
I would recommend biking for many reasons. It has helped me stay in shape, relieve stress, and made my relationship stronger with my boyfriend. When couples do activities together, it gives them a chance to talk and have fun together which is so important for a healthy relationship. I had one of my former patients tell me that since he has lost weight, he no longer goes home and sits in front of the TV. Him and his wife go for an evening walk to discuss their day which he strongly believes has improved his marriage.
The benefits of biking are endless. If it is something you would like to try, start slow. Use a stationary bike first. Once you have built up your cardiovascular system and some leg muscle, then move to the outdoors. Start slowly and work on biking balance before speed. Practice turns, stopping, and changing gears. Always review biking safety tips. Click HERE to see 10 helpful tips for cyclists. And once you feel comfortable, pedal on!