Tips for Biking to Work
Make a lifestyle change and improve your health...but first, check out these tips.
The weather's warm and we can finally exercise outdoors. A great way to burn those calories without taking extra time out of your day is to bike to work. If you live in an area where cars are the primary mode of transportation, switching to a bike can prove a refreshing change.
Sam Connor of Zanes Cycles in Fairfield says, “What makes the sport of cycling so much fun, is that it is not limited to a field or contained area." In other words, biking is one mode of exercise that you can incorporate into your daily life!
But before you decide to make a healthy change by biking to work, consider these tips:
- Get used to your bike. Every bike is a little different, so take some time to test it out. Find out which resistance works for you, how fast you can bike on average, and how long you can cycle before you start to feel tired. If you work more than a few miles away, you may have to train before you take the plunge and bike to work. The last thing you want is to damage your muscles by taking on more than your body is ready for.
- Learn how to stay safe. Purchase a proper-fitting helmet, reflective vest and and ample lights. Follow the rules of the road, for they are the same for bike or car. Map out a route that goes through as many side roads as possible so that you aren't constantly riding alongside busy traffic.
- Stretch and fuel. Stretching before a ride helps to keep those muscles limber and warmed up (and helps you guarantee that you can move the next morning). Be sure to hydrate and fuel up for your ride. Pack a bike-friendly water bottle and eat something nutritious pre-ride. It might also help to take a snack bag with you — in case you need to stop and replenish your energy.
- Don't sweat it. Biking may look like an easy workout, but after a few miles you'll definitely break a sweat. Because you don't want to show up to work looking like you need a shower, figure out if your ride to work will leave you too sweaty to be around your coworkers. You can always plan to wash up once you get to work, or take an extra pair of clothes to change into.
After a biking workout, you'll feel it everywhere from the waist-on-down. Glutes, hamstrings, quads-woo! If you use clip-ins (not the toe-traps) on your peddles, you will sooner feel it in the backside muscles. Without clip-ins, you’ll feel it in the front of your legs because of the pushing motion. But proper nutrition and stretching can ease the trauma to your muscles. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist if you are going to make a lifestyle change such as biking instead of driving to work!
Biking is a cardio-heavy exercise and it great for your heart, lungs and muscles. While not a whole-body workout, it will still improve overall health.
It's also a different kind of workout than the usual run. Sam explained the benefits of biking when I visited Zanes. “We see a lot of people who were previously serious runners enjoy the switch to cycling. Running is a high-impact sport, whereas cycling is low impact."
Head to your local bike store to to get help picking out the perfect bike for your new adventures. (And find out how to tailor your workout to your specific needs!)
Don't forget to have fun!