We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Fitness enthusiasts and novices alike appreciate bike riding for its fun and fast exercise benefits. Regular cyclists gain both speed and strength because biking requires both muscular and cardiovascular endurance. In general, cycling utilizes primarily the lower body muscles, but the core and arm muscles are also used.
Powering Through the Legs and Glutes
The quadriceps, hamstrings, calf and gluteus muscles perform the bulk of the biker's work. That's a good thing, because these large muscle groups burn more calories than small muscle groups, such as the biceps, do. Before riding, check your seat height. When seated, your leg should remain slightly bent when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal's motion. As you pedal, push down with one leg while pulling up with the other for maximum benefit.
The Core Musculature
Bike riding also increases core muscle strength and overall balance skills. Of all the core muscles, which include your stomach and back, your abdominal and oblique muscles reap the greatest benefits; maintaining tight abs during pedaling strengthens them even more. Increasing abdominal strength takes pressure off of lower back muscles and may reduce lower back pain. Biking also works the hip flexors and spinal erectors. These play a key role in balance, an essential skill for the cyclist.
Upper Body Strengthening
While biking primarily taxes the lower body and core muscles, it also works shoulder (deltoid) and arm (bicep and tricep) muscles. Many cyclists stand, lean forward or duck during climbs or while trail riding, which requires upper body support. Reduce the risk of injury when standing by keeping body weight balanced squarely over the legs and feet. When racing, lean forward, use the arms and shoulders for balance only and shift your rear end back over the seat while maintaining centered body weight.
Although fitness experts recognize biking as a low-impact sport, injuries often result from overuse or crashing. The most common injuries are foot damage, knee bursitis, tendon damage, lower back pain and muscle strain. Rest and icing help most injuries heal, but you can avoid them altogether with a regimen of flexibility exercises, strength exercises and safety precautions. Catastrophic injuries -- while rare -- do occur. Wearing a helmet, traveling at a safe, manageable speed and following local driving laws greatly reduce the risk of tragedy.