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[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Bicycling is a popular activity — especially in the summer — and it’s gaining popularity. It’s a great, low-impact, aerobic exercise that can be just as effective as running, without the knee pain. A 135-pound woman who bikes 6 miles a half hour burns 242 calories in a half hour, add another mile to that and you’ll burn 311 calories in a half hour!
Cycling works the hamstrings, back of the thighs, and quadriceps.The core muscles help with control and balance, while they power your turns. Calf muscles help you pedal. Stand up and cycle for some intervals, it will add some intensity and extra work for your glutes! Try riding up steep hills while pulling up on the handlebars to really activate those glutes and biceps! As always, there’s more!
• Think Clearer. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that people scored higher on memory, reasoning, and planning tests after 30 minutes of spinning on a stationary bike than they did before they rode … and they finished the tests faster!
• Get Energized. A study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that bike riding improved energy levels by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent by triggering the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
• Prevent Heart Disease. The American Heart Association suggests a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week. In a recent study, 32 women cycled three times a week for a minimum of a half hour at moderate to high intensity. The study found that the women had lowered their blood pressure, their LDL cholesterol and increased their aerobic fitness.
• Sleep Better. A study out of Stanford University School of Medicine had sedentary insomnia sufferers cycle for 20-30 minutes every other day. As a result, participants found the time it took for them to fall asleep was reduced by half, and they slept for an hour more!
New bike lanes on thoroughfares make it easier for cyclists to commute to work and beautiful bike paths in parks offer a calming and enjoyable outdoor environment for your fitness routine. Give it a try … you’ll be stronger, fitter and happier!
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