Between riding our bikes outdoors, our Pelotons, or attending our beloved Spinning classes, cycling is a popular physical activity for many of us. But is cycling enough exercise to keep us healthy?
Let’s be honest, cycling gives you a terrific cardiovascular workout. Whether it’s pedaling up steep hills, or attending a fast-paced spinning class, you’re guaranteed to break a sweat.
In other words, cycling makes your heart and lungs work very hard, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease and improve heart function. It may also help to keep cholesterol and triglycerides at lower levels, improving your overall health.
But is it enough to keep us healthy?
Biking improves the muscle mass in your lower extremities, keeping your legs and hips strong. However, to attain complete fitness, we can’t neglect our upper body.
To make up for that deficiency, consider using a rowing machine or elliptical trainer a few times a week. Switching things up can also help prevent boredom! (For more information on cross-training, check out our recent Blog)
In addition, it is important to add a strength training component to your regimen. Strength training is not just bulking up your quads and biceps, but adding lean muscle mass. This is particularly important because our lean muscle mass decreases as we age.
With strength training you will:
- strengthen your bones
- ward off osteoporosis (cardiovascular exercise does offer a bit of this benefit as well)
- enhance your balance
- increase your stamina
- boost your mind’s ability to focus
For maximum benefit, you should perform 20 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted cardiovascular exercise three to five days a week, and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on the “off” days.
Your physical therapist at The Jackson Clinics will be happy to help you develop a plan you enjoy and can stick to, thereby attaining the ultimate workout.