Riding a bicycle can be a pleasurable and convenient activity, regardless of why you're doing it. You might be riding a bike for your daily commute, or you might be using it to travel short distances. If you do bike exercising, then you may be familiar with its numerous health benefits. If you've been a constant biker, or if you're planning to ride a bike for fitness, then the prospect of buying your own bike and getting the flashy gear that comes with it can be very intriguing. However, it might be relevant to also know how to keep yourself safe on the road first before starting your bike exercising journey.
According to Harvard University, cycling has numerous health benefits that make it quite the enjoyable fitness activity. Riding a bike has numerous cardiovascular benefits as an aerobic workout, making it a good exercise for the blood vessels, the brain, and the heart. It also increases the density of the bones and muscles across numerous parts of the body.
Understand Weak Spots
When it comes to staying safe on the roads while cycling, a huge part of it may also depend on how you compose yourself while riding a bike. While cycling does have its fair share of health benefits, according to Better Health, too much strain on your body can cause injuries. If you're riding a bike while injured, or if you get injured while riding a bike, then it can pose significant danger on the road.
- Be wary of lower back pain, as the back is a weak spot for a lot of riders. While cycling does develop muscles in the legs, the torso isn't always getting the attention it needs. As such, it's not always capable of resisting the force coming from your legs when you ride a bike. Working your back too much leaves it vulnerable to rapid fatigue. Keep your back straight so you may experience relative comfort while riding.
- In the same token, be wary of numbness in your feet and toes. This is usually due to how nerves are being subjected to a lot of force, courtesy of road vibration, tight shoes, or "climbing." You can avoid this by adjusting your shoes, making sure your feet are straight when clipping into the pedals, and avoiding over complicated buckles, straps, or seams that press on your feet.
- Knee injuries are also very possible while riding bikes, as a rider may put too much strain on their knees by riding too fast or too much. This means it's recommended you build up your knee strength slowly by riding without straining your knees too much. If you can use lower gears, please do so, and try to make sure your saddle is not too low or too high.
Equipment Matter: Choose Ones That Fit
When you learn how to ride a bike, it generally means you know how to ride most, if not all, bike varieties. However, when you take into consideration using a bike for fitness, you have to choose one that fits you. When it comes to safety, this also means choosing equipment that is adequate for your needs.
- For instance, cycling clothes aren't exactly there for show. Special fibres in the clothing actually wick away moisture, and the shorts normally have thicker pads to provide cushioning and prevent chafing.
- They are also neon in color, often with reflective materials that will make you easily seen on the road.
- The bike you should use is recommended to be something that puts less strain on your body. A comfort bike or a beach cruiser is an ideal fitness bike, as they have handlebars that are positioned just high enough to make you sit upright. Their wide tires generally provide a smoother riding experience, and low lop tubes that don't necessarily make you have to put your legs too high to mount.
- The bike's saddle also helps boost safety measures. It might be recommended for you to get one that has extra padding so the bones near your buttocks, hips and thighs are supported.
Research Counts: Know Your Route
If you've ever been on a bike, you know how tricky focus can get sometimes when you have a lot of things you have to watch out. Pedestrians, cars, and road hazards are things you constantly have to avoid, which can make biking for fitness quite a stressful experience especially if you're experiencing all these things at once. Instead of multitasking, however, perhaps it's much more helpful to be familiar with the route you're taking so these potential hazards can be avoided.
- Using a navigational app such as Waze or Google Maps can also help with your predicament. Their handy street view or traffic view can help you get acquainted with just how many cars or pedestrians are usually on the route you want to take. This gives you a heads up if you have to take a shortcut, or an alternate route entirely.
- One of the ways you can get acquainted with your biking route is to perhaps take a few trips around the area yourself. If you're worried about the said risks stated above, then perhaps you can take a jog and explore the area to be familiar with things to expect and avoid. This also allows you to have a more realistic view of the area outside navigational apps you can use, as things like signs, construction areas, and bumps may not always be accounted for.
With these in mind, bike exercising for fitness shouldn't just be a pleasurable activity, but one that involves careful planning and execution for maximum efficiency. Keeping yourself safe on the road while biking can be a bit tricky, especially if you aren't used to having to always be careful while working out. However, the health benefits you may reap and potential finances you might save from incurring an injury can be a breath of relief on your end. If you do get yourself in an accident, click here to have a better idea on how you can deal with it legally.
About the Author
Joanne Reed has been writing about law and business for almost a decade, and is currently writing her next big law project. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if s