Most of us grew up riding a bike for pleasure. Back then, cycling was all about freedom – being able to go where we wanted (within reason) without having to rely on our parents.
As we grow up, many of us abandon our bike-riding ways, instead opting for the convenience of cars and public transport. While this is understandable, it does mean that we miss out on all the health and fitness benefits that cycling has to offer. If you wish to rediscover a childhood love and take advantage of all the amazing benefits of cycling, here’s a few important factors to keep in mind…
You can forget how to ride a bike
The old saying that you don’t forget how to ride a bike is, unfortunately, not particularly true. You may be able to get on a bike and ride it, but you will usually find that you feel unstable the first few times that you try – especially if it has been years, and perhaps even decades, since you last sat atop two wheels. Don’t worry, though; this issue is temporary – just go slowly until you adjust.
Cycling is low-impact – but you still need to be cautious
Low-impact forms of exercise are activities that protect your joints from undue stresses and strains; yoga is one of the most common examples of this. It may be surprising to learn that cycling is considered to be low-impact, given that it seems far more impactful than a discipline like yoga, but it’s true.
However, the fact that cycling is low-impact doesn’t mean it can’t cause physical harm. If it has been a long time since you cycled, you’re going to need supports – you will usually find knees will be particularly vulnerable to begin with. You may also find that your thigh muscles are noticeably sore after your first few times back in the saddle; magnesium salt baths may help to alleviate this.
Go off-road for an improved experience
When you have overcome the initial wobbles and soreness that may accompany a return to cycling, you can really kick the exercise benefits up a gear by heading off-road. The rougher the terrain, the harder you will have to work to power across it. This means you’ll burn more calories, strengthen your muscles, and just plain have a great time.
If you are concerned that off-road cycling is more dangerous due to the unevenness of the ground, it’s worth noting that cycling can be dangerous anywhere. You can see online for more information regarding the frequency of bike-related accidents on the roads; when viewed through this lens, off-road cycling is no more dangerous than conventional on-road cycling, though the danger will come more from the terrain than careless drivers. Just remember to wear protective gear – such as a helmet – whether you venture off-road or stay on the paved streets; these protective measures can help to ensure your return to cycling is as safe as it can possibly be.
Cycling is a wonderful way to rediscover an activity from your past while boosting your health in the present. Why not give it a try and see how you get on?