If COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has taught us anything, it’s to make the most of the things we’d otherwise take for granted—the ability to enjoy stepping outside for a walk, or meeting friends. Now that we’re all mostly staying indoors, the time away from the buzz and erratic schedules has made us take a long and hard look at our lifestyles. Since the outbreak, our health and that of our families has been the number one priority. And while we’d resort to a little bit of indoor activities, it wasn’t enough to keep us on top of our fitness game. Now however, with the lockdown restrictions easing up, we are all going back to the basics when it comes to staying healthy and keeping fit.
Now while taking a walk or going for a run is a great way to get in that cardio workout, another fun activity that can help us relive those fond childhood memories, comes in the form of cycling.
Cycling, has gained immense popularity in this lockdown and post-lockdown period, given that most of our social feed is flooded with images or pictures of people enjoying a ride on empty roads. Now, we won’t blame you if you are tempted to give it a try. After all, it does have amazing benefits. Here are some listed below:
Benefits of Cycling
• Since cycling is considered an aerobic activity, you heart, lungs, and blood vessels all get a good workout when you take your bicycle for a spin. Your breathing becomes deeper and better, and your lungs open up, giving it the ability to take in more oxygen. Cycling also helps increase your body temperature, thus improving your overall fitness.
• Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse, and reduces blood fat levels.
• Cycling is good way to control or monitor your weight as it raises your metabolic rate, builds muscle, and burns body fat. You can always change the time and intensity of how you cycle, to keep your body from guessing, preventing from getting acclimated to your workout routine. This helps keep muscles engaged.
• The risk of type-2 diabetes is high amongst people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Cycling helps to keep you active. It also improves strength, balance, and coordination, as well as improves your posture.
• Cycling every day is also a great way to uplift your mood.
In addition to all the health benefits, cycling is also good for the environment as there is no pollution, and also makes for an economical mode of getting around.
The Cycle Guide
If you are looking to take up cycling as a means to stay healthy, the most important factor to keep in mind is the purpose for which you want the bike. Are you looking for one to meet your fitness needs or are you headed for that weekend adventure ride? There is a wide range of cycles for various requirements:
Road Bikes: They are good for fitness riding, commuting, event rides, touring, and racing, and come in four categories:
i. Endurance Bikes: These feature a relaxed geometry and is comfortable for longer rides. The tires are slightly wide to give the bike traction across different surfaces, and can be ridden at a lower speed.
ii. Gravel Bikes: This bike works well when you want to take things up a notch and try different terrains. Gravel bikes feature a drop handlebar for aerodynamic efficiency along with wider tires for traction on different surfaces, ranging from terrain and flat surfaces, to gravel, asphalt, and dirt.
iii. Touring Bikes: These are meant to carry a heavier load over long distances. They have sturdy frames to support the weight, and have points where you can attach an extra rack, water bottles, etc. The wheels are spaced out so it becomes easier to control if you are carrying anything heavy.
iv. Performance Bikes: These are used on both, flat surfaces and terrains, and built for speed no matter your road. They a great if you are racing across a flat surface or up slopes.
Mountain Bikes: These have shock absorbers and a sturdy built to enable a rider to seamlessly manoeuvre through mountainous terrains. Unlike gravel bikes or performance bikes, the gears on mountain bikes are lower so you have a firm grip over steeper regions. There are three categories of mountain bikes:
i. Cross-country Bikes: These are mostly used in racing, as they are lightweight. They deliver both in terms of speed and climbing prowess. If you are looking to explore nearby trails, this is your best option.
ii. Trail Bikes: Choose this type of bike if you’re looking for some fun, light biking or a social activity with friends to explore nearby terrains. These bikes offer fun with efficiency.
iii. All-Mountain Bikes: If you’re a veteran rider looking to up the ante, these bikes are more suited to your needs. They are ideal if you’re looking to venture into proper mountain trails and uneven paths, and have a host of technical features that help one navigate efficiently and steadily.
Hybrid/Fitness Bikes: Perhaps considered the most common variant, hybrid or fitness bikes boasts of features that work well in both mountain terrains and flat surfaces. Due to their comfort and versatility, they appeal to people looking for cycles for the purpose of fitness. For those starting out, this is an ideal option.