Get great legs with that bicycle

All Woman

Get great legs with that bicycle

By CANDIECE KNIGHT

Monday, February 17, 2020

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IF you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or just stay fit and active while traversing scenic routes, then you might want to consider investing in the vehicle that uses you as the fuel — a bicycle. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, cycling can definitely help you to achieve your fitness goals and it is as easy as... well… as easy as riding a bicycle.

ISSA certified strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer Alexander Carrington says cycling is a great exercise that can be used to maintain or improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen the legs, help with weight loss and improve your overall health and mood.

He points out that cycling is a relatively easy skill to learn and get better at, once one overcomes the initial cost of purchasing a bicycle and has access to friendly terrain for the early stages.

“Cycling utilises most of the muscles of the legs. The quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves all work throughout the phases of the power stroke (when you're pushing down) and the recovery stroke (when you bring your leg up to push again) while cycling,” he says. “Majority of the muscular benefit from cycling will be found in the legs; however, the upper body works too, but not nearly to the degree that the legs do.”

If you're looking to burn calories, you can definitely achieve this while cycling but this will depend on your chosen speed and terrain, Carrington explains.

“Calories burned while cycling will depend largely on how fast and where you're cycling. Cycling for 30 minutes on relatively flat land with your average bicycle could lead to around 300 calories burned in that time. Going uphill will increase calories burned. Speed also greatly determines how much will be burned,” he said.

Cycling can be a more gentle alternative to jogging or running since you have wheels to carry you when your legs give out, the trainer notes.

“Compared to jogging or running, cycling has been shown to produce fewer injuries as it is gentler on the body than running and may be easier for people suffering from knee pain,” he pointed out. He added quickly, however, that “Cycling may increase risk of lower back pain and persons should consult their health care providers before engaging in any serious physical activity to see if it may be right for them.”

He recommends a consultation with a physical therapist if you think cycling may be too stressful on your body. He maintains, however, that cycling is a great choice for someone who wants to get up and get going.

“Just as any form of exercise can improve your overall health and fitness, so can cycling,” he said.

He pointed to some of the long term benefits:

“Weight loss and a reduction in risk of non-communicable diseases can all result from cycling. Cycling, like other forms of exercise, is associated with improved mood, cardiovascular function and fitness, stress reduction, improved sex life and drive, improved energy and productivity and better quality of life,” he said.

Have you managed to transform your body through weight gain or weight loss? Want to share your story with us? E-mail clarkep@ jamaicaobserver. com


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