Finding a new training exercise or a new hobby can be difficult. New equipment, new rules to learn and the challenge on your body to adjust to the new form of exercise. But cycling is something that we all know how to do with no rules and the benefits are amazing!
But how far should you be cycling? This article discusses whether cycling just 5K a day will help you get fitter. Or if you should push yourself just a little bit further. Read below to find out more about the benefits of cycling and how you can get started today!
Benefits Of Cycling
It has been documented that adults aged 18-64 require at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week in order to stay in shape. This equates to 30-45 minutes of aerobic activity a day.
Aerobic exercise is any exercise which is considered cardiovascular conditioning, or ‘cardio’. This can include running, swimming, walking and of course, cycling.
Your heart rate and breathing will increase during aerobic exercise aiding in oxygen and blood circulation throughout your body.
As you cycle 30-45 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week you will see a range of benefits, including:
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility
- Improved posture
- Increase bone strength
- Decrease in stress levels
- Decrease in body fat levels
You can also add in strength training to help strengthen your muscles, joints and bones. Adding in two strength training sessions to your workout regime will improve your cardiovascular strength immensely.
We recommend completing your 30-45 minute cycling activity outside, although you can complete them on a stationary bike at home or at the gym.
Finding Your Intensity
We all know the rule of running is that you run at a pace where you can still hold a conversation. Well, the same goes for cycling. This is called the ‘talk test’ and you should be able to talk but it should not be easy to hold the conversation.
The more intensity you add, the harder it will be to speak and the harder you are pushing your lungs, heart and muscles.
Your heart rate is a further indicator of the intensity of your workout. Aim for a heart rate between 40 and 50 percent of your maximal heart rate (MHR) when you first begin. Over time work your way up to a heart rate that is roughly 70% of your MHR.
As your body becomes more accustomed to the activity and you get more in shape then you may have to increase the intensity in order to ensure you stay in 70% of your MHR.
Cycling For Weight Loss
Now, if your goal is to lose body fat whilst cycling then there are a few ways you can approach the exercise.
- Short Time, High Intensity. This technique makes utilization of one’s full ability in a matter of minutes, typically. These are followed by equal rest and recovery periods before the start of the next intensity cycle.
- Long Time, Low Intensity. This method uses slower speed and lesser exertion for longer periods. They make use of short resting periods and more time on the machine.
- Intensity. HIIT Training or High Intensity Interval Training. For brief intervals (e.g., a minute), exert your maximal effort, then slow down to let your body relax. Repeat these quick bursts, followed by a minute of recovery, for 20 minutes. This is known as the most effective method to drop body fat, however, can be tiring on the bones and joints.
No matter which technique you decide to implement, it is important that you monitor your muscles and joints for any tiredness, tightness or pain. You must also provide your body with enough rest in between training sessions for optimum recovery and results.
As mentioned above, it is recommended that adults train for 2.5 hours a week. However, going for a 2.5 hour long bike ride once a week, is not going to get you the results you want. Especially if you are inactive for the rest of the week.
In order to increase your fitness levels and your cardiovascular health, it is recommended that you cycle for 30-45 minutes 3 times a week. Whether you choose high intensity, low intensity of HIIT training, your body will gain strength in ways you never thought possible.
This can also be a great way to spend time with friends and family as you can cycle as a group. Although, they may just hold you back.
Paired with a healthy, balanced diet, cycling 30-45 minutes 3 times a week will let you see the weight loss results you have been working towards and the health benefits you have been searching for.
Daily vigorous biking is not advised because it will wear out your body, deplete your willpower, and prevent your sore limbs from healing. The most promising strategy to use an exercise bike is in brief, intense bursts separated by a 48-hour respite.
If you are training for a competition or race then you may find it more beneficial to combine both high intensity and low intensity training sessions in order to maximize your endurance, strength and speed.
Cycling And Specific Health Issues
Cycling is a great way to help improve both mental and physical health issues.
Heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure are examples of cardiovascular illnesses. Your heart, lungs, and circulation are stimulated and improved by regular cycling, which lowers your risk of cardiovascular disorders.
Cycling helps your cardiac muscles become stronger, lowers your resting pulse, and lowers blood fat levels.
Additionally, studies suggest that commuters who bike to work experience two to three times less pollution than those who drive, which results in enhanced lung function.
Cycling regularly can help with mental health conditions including depression, stress and anxiety. This is due to the endorphins produced as you workout and cycling is just an enjoyable way to exercise.
Strength, balance, and coordination are all enhanced by cycling. Additionally, it might aid in avoiding fractures and falls. Due to its low-impact nature and minimal strain on joints, biking is a great type of exercise for people with osteoarthritis.
With 1 in 10 adults in America suffering from type 2 Diabetes, finding simple exercises which can aid in lowering the rate of development is highly important. It has been researched that cycling for 30 minutes or more per day lowers the rate of type 2 Diabetes developing by 40%.
So, Will Cycling Just 5k A Day Help Get You Fitter?
As cycling 5K on average takes around 12-15 minutes, then yes it can make you fitter. However, it will take longer to see results.
It is recommended that adults cycle around 10K a day in order to see real health benefits. Although, it is important to take the time to rest your body which will only improve your health.
Pair with a healthy, balanced diet, strength training 2 times a week and you have an excellent active lifestyle. Whether you prefer to cycle outdoors or at home/ at the gym, cycling 5-10K 3-4 times a week is a great way to begin your fitness journey.
Grab your bike and get cycling to work, at the gym or with friends and family!