One of the best ways to get involved in a healthy routine of cardiovascular exercise is to take up cycling. In fact, Discovery points out that cycling can boost your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk for coronary disease.
A highly accessible sport, cycling requires very little financial commitment. While there are a vast array of high-end bicycling products, all you really need to begin is a working bike and a decent helmet.
The health benefits of becoming a regular bike rider are undeniable, but the process of starting a serious exercise routine can be confusing to someone who has been out of the fitness loop for some time. No need to worry though; simply take a look at these three tips to make sure you're getting off on the right foot—or, we suppose, wheel.
Take it slow
While bicycling is a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise, beginning any new workout regimen is not without its risks. The exercise itself must be treated correctly and respected in order to avoid injury.
First and foremost, don't overdo it right out of the gate. Many people have a tendency to assume that they're in better shape than they actually are, and pushing yourself too hard can lead to injury. Start out riding only a few miles each day to gauge your abilities in both speed and distance. Also, ensure that you're cooling down and stretching adequately after every ride, as this will reduce your risk for muscular injury or soreness.
Keep track of your progress
You may become easily discouraged initially if you don't keep track of your progress. Like many other forms of exercise, it takes time and dedication to improve as a cyclist. Being aware of the small steps forward that you're taking can keep you motivated to work hard and improve both your fitness and ability.
Remember, even if you're cycling at a relatively relaxed pace, you can still do yourself a great deal of good. According to Men's Fitness, cycling at under 10 miles per hour burns approximately 281 calories each hour. Keep a log of your distance and calories burned to serve as motivation.
Be disciplined in your diet
The success of exercising for heart health, much like many other types of exercise, will be somewhat contingent on other lifestyle factors such as your diet. Beginning a new workout regimen is a perfect time to take a mental inventory of your diet and optimize it for heart health.
Consider discussing your eating habits with your doctor or nutritionist in light of the fact that you're beginning a new workout regimen. Odds are, they'll be able to help you cut out foods detrimental to your body while also helping you eat more heart-healthy foods you’ll enjoy.