Across cities and across the globe, many are now preferring cycling as a mode of transport to move about, whether it is to go to work, daily chores or exercise. The drastic drop in carrying capacity of passengers due to the pandemic is resulting in huge waiting time for hapless commuters. Environment crusaders are also elated with the shift.
Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. Research suggests you should be burning at least 8,400 kilojoules (about 2,000 calories) a week through exercise. Steady cycling burns about 1,200 kilojoules (about 300 calories) per hour.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CYCLING
 Obesity and Weight control: Cycling is a good way to control or reduce weight, as it raises the metabolic rate, builds muscle and burns body fat
 Cardiovascular disease: These diseases include stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack. Regular cycling stimulates and improves heart, lungs and circulation, reducing their risk
 Bone injuries, arthritis: Cycling improves strength, balance and coordination. It may also help to prevent falls and fractures. Riding a bike is an ideal form of exercise if one has osteoarthritis, as it is a low-impact exercise that places little stress on joints
 Diabetes: The rate of type 2 diabetes is increasing and is a serious public health concern. A research in Finland found that people who cycled for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40% lower risk of developing diabetes
 Mental illness:Mental health conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety can be reduced by regular bike riding. This is due to the effects of the exercise itself and because of the enjoyment that riding a bike can bring
 Quality Family Time:Many families find they can happily cycle together. Cycling together is enjoyable as it offers the perfect activity for chatting and laughing together. Cycling as a family also promotes a positive and healthier lifestyle
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GO CYCLING?
As per research, “There is no such thing as too much, if you ride at the right intensity. In fact, the best thing would be to leave the car in the garage and get around by bike instead. For instance, if you cycle 20 minutes to work and back every day, then within just five days you will have already completed three hours and 20 minutes of cardio training and thus strengthened your cardiovascular system.
CYCLING FOR BEGINNERS
When you are starting out, try to go cycling for 30 minutes 2 times the first week. Then add a third 30-minute ride in the second week. In week- 3, you can start to lengthen each ride by 5 to 10 minutes. You should wait a while before attempting any really long rides. Always remember the following rule: “It’s not the distance that kills you, but the intensity”
Tip: For your first bike ride, you should select a flat route and cycle for no longer than 30 minutes. In terms of intensity, you should choose a pace where you can easily breathe through your nose.
YOGA FOR CYCLISTS
Cycling needs lot of physical efforts. At the end of a ride, you may experience fatigue, stiffness in muscles, cramps or even injuries.To ensure that you have a good ride without any strain on the body, yoga can come in handy. Some yoga asanas are apt for you to prepare before the ride. You can include these tailor-made yoga poses before you hit the roads and also after you are through.
 It can help you warm up without getting tired. This is important as you need your energy for cycling
 It increases your energy levels and stamina, enabling you to clock more miles
 Helps strengthen and flex muscles in the back, joints and lower regions. This makes you fit for a long ride
 Helps maintain a proper frame while cycling
 Helps control your breathing, enabling you to optimize your performance during your ride and also helps to relax the body, whether it is done before or after a ride
AdhoMukhaSvanasana (Downward-facing Dog Pose)
• Stretches your thighs, relaxing them after a long ride
• Increases blood circulation in your legs, to assist you for long rides
• Helps strengthen the arms, shoulders, back and legs, which is a good structural support for cyclists
• Helps tone muscles, preparing you for the ride
• Contributes to improved blood circulation, making it a good yoga stretch for cyclists pre-cycling and post-cycling
SetuBandhasana (Bridge Pose)
• Strengthens the back muscles, enabling you to endure long rides
• Helps you relax your back instantly, which is helpful after a challenging ride
• Stretches the neck and spine that is necessary to stay in a fixed posture for long durations
• Expands the lungs, increasing oxygen supply to the body
• Increases stamina which makes it an ideal yoga pose for cyclist
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
• Strengthens lower back, which takes the load when cycling long distances
• Tones the ankle muscles, thighs, legs and knees, which keeps you fit
• Exercises the spine, hips and chest muscles which helps you maintain posture during the ride
• Helps balance the body, ensuring that you have a steady ride
Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)
• Tones the hamstring and thigh muscles, making you fit for the rigorous ride ahead
• Stretches inner thighs, groins and knees and is a good warm-up before the ride
• Makes your hips and groins flexible, ensuring you do not get cramps during your ride
• Relaxes fatigued thighs, making it one of the ideal yoga poses for cyclists after their ride
Trikonasana (Triangle pose)
• One of the best yoga stretches for cyclists as it works on the hips, groins, hamstrings, calves, shoulder, chest and spine
• Strengthens legs, knees, ankles, arms and chest
• Reduces anxiety, fatigue and stress
• Relieves back pain, a common occurrence after being seated for a long time
• Improves stamina
• Promotes mental and physical equilibrium, which is crucial for safety while riding a two-wheeler
From being a principal mode of transport to being a means to fitness, the cycle has indeed come a long way. Many fitness enthusiasts who have taken up cycling, recommend it strongly for maintaining good health. It is not only a great form of exercise, but it is also environment-friendly.
The cycle ticks everything on the pandemic precaution checklist. One maintains physical distancing norms because you cannot get close to anyone else. It keeps you fit and now with less traffic on the roads, it’s much more safer than before. Sitting at home for over 2 months most have realized the importance of cycling especially with gyms and swimming pools closed.
If you are still stuck at home, you may start this routine with Vissco Cycle Exerciser and Vissco’s Hip Cycle which helps strengthening of foot, calf, legs and thigh muscles, reduces the risk of arthritis, increases mobility of the joints and is good for hamstrings, calves, quads and hips muscles.
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