Yes, you know how to ride a bicycle. You learned when you were a child, when your bike was the only way you had to explore your neighborhood for yourself. Using it gave you freedom, adventure and pleasure.
Now that you are bigger, and as with anything else in life, riding a bicycle seems more complicated. There is traffic that you should worry about, you should use more equipment and let's face it: crashing hurts much more when you are big.
Relax. Actually, riding a bicycle is something that basically has not changed much with respect to when you were a child. And the activity can help you lose weight, strengthen your resistance and even relive the joy of those golden years of youth. You can do a good workout by putting on the gym shorts and cross-training shoes for cycling. But if you want to be serious when it comes to cycling, walk more and explore a more comprehensive area, here is what you need to know. (Before making changes to this or any other exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.)
Keeping fit with a bicycle is something that only requires a steady rhythm. You need to pedal consistently, instead of doing it and let yourself go.
The right bike for you is not a certain model or brand. It may be the old 10-speed that you have in your garage. What matters most is that it is suitable for your body.
You must know much more than that old trick that indicates that the seat of the bicycle should be waist-high, which you learned in your cycling classes in your gym. The inclination of the seat, the height of the handlebar and how far you have to pedal are things that affect the places where your body feels the pressure. The best way to configure the bicycle for your special needs is with the help of a professional.
"You may think that adjusting a bicycle is too much if you are not going to use it a lot," says Jim Rutberg, a trainer at Carmichael TrainingSystems and co-author of seven books on cycling, nutrition and fitness. "Believe me, you need it. If your bike is not adjusted correctly, you will feel it on your tail, on your back and knees. "
Some bicycle stores offer a free adjustment with the purchase of new bicycles and most of them provide adjustment services for old bicycles.
Another small change that makes a big difference in terms of comfort is wearing cycling shorts that have crotch pads (called chamois). Chamois reduces chafing and works in conjunction with the bicycle seat cushion to relieve pressure on the bones you sit on. Those who ride bikes on the routes use these tight pants, but if the spándex is not for you, there are many other looser fabrics that you can choose with chamois inside, which serve the same.
Other useful equipment: a helmet, as it is foolish not to wear it, gloves for cycling, whose padded palms release the pressure of your nerves, which reduces the possibility of your fingers becoming numb, and goggles to protect you from the sun, the wind and the dirt. You should also have spare cameras, a multiple tool and a hand pump on hand. A system of CO2 cartridges will also work. Keep these devices in your backpack or in your pockets on your cycling shirt.
Other data: most cyclists eventually change standard smooth pedals with a clipless system, which requires the use of special shoes that connect directly to the pedal of the bicycle. "Without clips" is an inaccurate term, since you actually hook the cue on the bottom of the shoe on the pedal.
If this sounds intimidating, do not be afraid. It only takes a little practice to learn how to use a system without clips. Try leaning on a wall and putting on and taking off your shoes. Then practice your technique in a parking lot or on a quiet street. Once you get used to it, the clipless system will improve your efficiency and control of the bike. You will not miss riding a bicycle with the common pedals and shoes.
Better training is achieved using your bike
Keeping fit using a bicycle is something that only requires a steady pace, which means pedaling consistently, instead of doing it and getting carried away. To achieve this, you must leave behind the areas with traffic lights. Look for long stretches of roads, ideally ones with little traffic. Those in charge of your local bike shop or cycling coalition can make recommendations on where to find such places.
By being on the bike, work on improving the balance between the march and the cadence, that is, how fast you pedal. "Find a pedaling speed that is not so high that it makes you shake," says Rutberg. "But not so low that it's difficult for you to pedal."
You can check your rhythm by recording your revolutions per minute. The average speed is between 80 and 90 laps, counting only one leg. If you pedal about 60 laps per minute, the chosen dish is probably too big and it will cost you too much to pedal. Finding that beautiful balance will give you a constant cardiovascular workout without potentially damaging your joints.
During the first workouts, aims to walk between 30 and 45 minutes. After several sessions, you may feel pain in your quadriceps, buttocks and calves. But do not be surprised if your neck and shoulders also bother you, says Rutberg. The muscles of them support your head and support the trunk, so it will take time to strengthen them together with your legs. Rutberg's advice: frequently change the position of your hand to relieve stress on your shoulders and neck. And make sure they are relaxed and straight, not bent over.
Once you get used to walking the roads, and you do not mind doing so, you can walk as much as your fitness level and schedules allow, says Rutberg. But a gradual increase in distance increases the chances that you enjoy doing it and do not give up. So commit yourself to do at least two rounds a week of between 30 and 45 minutes, plus a longer lap during the weekend.
You can add touches of speed to your training from the game. Try to accelerate quickly for between 30 seconds to five minutes. These high-speed doses will improve your physical condition and increase the calories you burn.
To accelerate, increase your cadence. When the speed of the pedals becomes too high for the plate you are using, choose another. You can keep the cadence or repeat the process, depending on how hard you want the training to be.
There are no short and easy rules about time intervals. You can try to keep the pace until you can not do it anymore. Or create your own training structure, like one minute pedaling hard and another one lightly, then five minutes of each rhythm, and continue like this.
Another way to do workouts that improve your cardiovascular health is to climb hills on your bike. Conquering a slope will also add strength to your aerobic exercise.
Performs high acceleration and hill climbing sessions during the week; but do not worry about them during the longest weekend sessions, when the goal is to increase the time you spend pedaling.
Although riding a bicycle is simple, some wise rules for training still work. Make sure to balance hard workouts, cycling or other types, with easy ones, so your body can recover. And again, always check with your doctor before altering your training regimen, or start a new one.
Quick tips for riding a bike more safely and smoothly.
Change speed before you need it. It will save the dishes and your knees. Here are two clear examples: during a climb, before it becomes too difficult and when approaching traffic lights. If you are on a hard plate, it will be difficult for you to pedal again.
Brake wisely. It seems simple, but if you brake fast and too hard, you may save by flying over the handlebar. Brake with the rear wheels first and then add the front ones.
Keep drivers in mind. "At the end of the day, cyclists are vulnerable, so pedal defensively and predictably," says Rutberg. Indicate your intentions with signs with your hands, follow the lights and signs as if you were in a car, and look at the drivers so there is no confusion about whether you are going to move forward or stop.
Learn how to fix a wheel.Being stranded is not fun. Ask at your local bike shop or REI to see if they offer bike maintenance classes, or to a friend who knows how to do it.