Exercise is good for your health, and bicycling is an excellent low impact exercise for improved cardiovascular fitness. Cycling can be done by people of various ages and fitness levels. To provide more insights into this form of exercise, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of cycling.
The Pros of Cycling
Cycling on a flat road is a moderate intensity cardio workout, and if you do hills or go faster than 10 mph, it counts as vigorous cardio. It is generally recommended to do 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio per week for health and to maintain your weight. You should also do weight training exercises to compliment the cycling to keep your bones and muscles strong.
You can cycle with friends competitively or spend some time with the family. Cycling is both suitable for children and for the older people, as it does not put stress on the joints such as the back, knees, hips, and ankles to the degree that most other exercises do. You can even join cycling clubs, which makes cycling safer and more social.
Fresh Air and Fighting Boredom
Cycling outdoors is usually refreshing and you get to breathe in the fresh air outside, as opposed to indoor air in a gym. There is also a change in scenery, which usually keeps people cycling for longer, as it is more enjoyable than running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike.
Cheap and Environmentally Friendly Transportation
If you live in an area prone to traffic jams and need to go short distances, cycling allows you to move faster from one place to another and also reduces your carbon footprint from not using your car to travel.
The Cons of Cycling
Buying a bike, helmet and other riding equipment can be quite expensive to start off with. It also makes sense to get the right protective gear and cycling clothing if you plan to be doing it for a while, as it keeps you safer and more comfortable as well.
Sharing the Road with Vehicles
Mountain biking or off-road biking is probably the best type of cycling, but for most people cycling on the road is the most convenient way to cycle regularly. This means that you will have to share the road with taxis, buses, cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles. You may also have to deal with rude drivers who can make things difficult for you when cycling. One of the potential solutions is to cycle really early in the morning or on less trafficked roads. This is safer and also saves you from breathing in vehicle fumes and having to be extra vigilant.
Protection from Injury
When you bicycle, you may have a helmet for protection and a bell or horn to warn other road users, but you essentially have minimal protection from injury should you fall or be hit by a vehicle. This is another reason you have to be super vigilant as a cyclist, as you are likely to sustain a lot more injury than the person in the vehicle that may hit you.
You are Reliant on Mother Nature
Cycling in good weather is great, even though it is not always possible. But getting caught out in bad weather when you are cycling is not fun. The roads become wet and more slippery. Your clothing gets soaked, shoes get wet and you may have trouble seeing the road clearly. You may also get cold. Heavy winds can also be a burden when cycling. Other inclement weather such as snow or hail makes it very difficult or impossible to cycle at all.
There is no denying that cycling is a fun and excellent cardio exercise which has many benefits for health and well-being — if you can handle sharing the road with other road users. If you weigh the pros and cons of cycling, you can then decide if this exercise is a good fit for you.
The FITin56 fitness program offers an alternative to cycling as a form of exercise.