Cycle to Health
Cycling is good for you. That may not come as a surprise to you, but it is worth noting that the experts say so too. And with a whole host of pedal powered pursuits available in the city, including velodromes, specialist indoor cycling centers and spin classes London is well equipped to ensure that you can cycle your way to health and fitness.
The NHS – as well as treating us when we are ill or injured – also does a lot to try and prevent us getting ill or injured in the first place, and this includes educating us on the route to a healthy lifestyle. Their website is full of facts and figures, with the top line recommendation being that adults aged 19 to 64 do two types of exercise each week – aerobic and muscle strengthening.
Cycling is classed as one of the aerobic exercises and can be employed at either a moderate or a vigorous intensity. Other moderate level aerobic exercises include walking fast, playing basketball and – believe it or not – pushing a lawn mower. Moderate cycling would be to ride your bike on level ground or on terrain with few hills, and around two hours and 30 minutes of this each week is suggested.
As for vigorous cycling, speed and gradient come into the equation here – the suggestion is one hour and 15 minutes each week of fast cycling or cycling on hills. Non-cycling alternatives to vigorous aerobic exercise include running, martial arts and singles tennis.
So what are the health benefits of cycling? The obvious one is weight loss – the NHS says that someone weighing 180 LBS will typically burn more than 650 calories with an hour of cycling. Weight control can be a serious matter when looking after your coronary and respiratory functions and indeed for many people it can help them achieve a personally desired appearance too. On that note, cycling is also good for toning of the muscles – in particular the legs and bottom, but hill and off road cycling can also give the upper body a work out.
Another benefit of cycling pointed out by the NHS is that it is easier on your joints on some other forms of aerobic exercise. This is something of an upper hand for cycling – it is just as effective as the other exercises but without the risks of, for example, shin splints through running or stress on the arms and upper body through hitting punch bags.
Happily for those wishing to boost their fitness with some cycling, London is well served for options. Outdoors the daily commute can be revitalised into exercise, thanks to the popular bike share scheme in operation, and the pedaling can be continued at the weekend with attractive recommended routes through the city’s parks and other green spaces.
For indoor cycling pretty much every health club will have at least a few exercise bikes, and many of these clubs will also operate spin classes – fast paced sessions on spinning bikes lead by an instructor. And Athlete Lab offers the best of both worlds – an outdoor experience indoors – with specialist stationary cycles that have all the features of a real road bike.
When it comes to cycling Londonis in good health. Take advantage of one of the many options available and you can be too.