Cycling: what is it, health benefits and how to start?

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about cycling:

Should I warm up before my cycling training? How?

Few people live right next to a bike path, Seacat says, but even those who do usually start slow for a few minutes before picking up speed. This means that just cycling to your road, trail or path is a good warm-up. If you’re cycling indoors, five to 10 minutes of leisurely riding while you prepare for more intensity is enough to warm you up, he adds.

How many calories does cycling burn?

The amount depends on factors such as your current fitness level, weight, age and training intensity. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) Physical Activity Calorie Counter, a 150-pound person cycling for an hour at a pace of 12 miles per hour would burn about 544 calories. At the more leisurely pace of 5.5 miles per hour, the burn for the full hour would be 272 calories.

What muscles do you use to ride a bike?

Your quadriceps (the large muscles on the top of your thighs) will do the majority of the work, says Warloski. But you’ll also engage your core to keep you balanced and stabilized on the bike, and to a lesser extent, you’ll stimulate your arms, shoulders, calves and hamstrings.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t try the bike?

If you have cardiovascular problems, joint issues, balance issues, COPD or other respiratory issues, or diabetes, talk to your doctor before starting a new routine, Seacat says.

This doesn’t mean you can’t ride a bike if you have these conditions, but your healthcare provider may suggest modifications or refer you to physical therapy or rehabilitation specialists who can help you get started with more supervision.

What should I wear for a bike workout?

If you’re cycling indoors, any type of comfortable workout clothes is fine, says Seacat. However, for an outdoor ride, you have to be more strategic, he adds. Always check the weather before you go, especially if you expect big fluctuations in temperature, humidity, wind chill or rainfall.

Dress in layers, he suggests. Consider clothing that wicks away moisture; they help wick sweat away from your body so you don’t get cold while riding.

What are the most common bicycle injuries and how can I avoid them?

According to the Sports Medicine Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center, the most common cycling injuries are:

  • knee pain
  • Head injuries following an accident
  • Neck and back pain
  • Pain or numbness in the wrist and forearm
  • Urogenital problems, especially in male riders, due to compression of the blood supply to the genital area

To reduce your risk, the university recommends strategies such as changing your position on your bike from time to time so you don’t put pressure on your neck, back and wrists for too long, making sure your shoes fit properly and get a wider seat to solve this problem. compression problem. And of course: Always, always, always wear a helmet (unless you’re on a stationary bike).