There are lots of ways to get in shape or to stay in shape, and aerobic exercise is on the top of the list for a healthy heart and metabolism. Running and jogging are great to get the blood pumping, however some people have joint issues that impact high exercises can aggravate and need a less stressful workout.
A fantastic alternative to joint jarring aerobic exercises like running or walking is bike riding. Taking the bike lane to the store or to work instead of driving a car is a refreshing way to get some biking in. In fact, in many cities, riding a bike will get you to your destination faster than a car during rush hour! Metro parks also offer bike trails for those looking for a more rustic scenery and less traffic with their ride.
The benefits of bike riding are myriad. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly not only have a higher metabolism, they suffer less from depression. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, releases endorphins. These endorphins are chemicals that interact with the brain to reduce pain while triggering over all feelings of positivity. This phenomena is typically referred to as a “runner’s high”, however the same feeling is achieved with any sustained activity.
Biking is also a great way to enjoy fresh air. Although it seems unlikely as the biker is riding with no barrier between their lungs and the environment, studies show that a person riding a bike takes in fewer air pollutants than a person riding the same distance in a cab or a bus. This is lucky because a person doing any sort of sustained aerobic exercise should absolutely be breathing clean fresh air!
Speaking of breathing, biking also substantially improves lung function. Biking is a wonderful exercise for someone who suffers from shortness of breath while jogging or even walking. A bike rider has the luxury of being able to pause the pedal pumping periodically. In this way, even the most inexperienced biker can regulate their workout and take a break whenever they feel overwhelmed physically.
Last but certainly not least, biking is great for getting in shape and tightening up those love handles. Bike riding speeds up metabolism and improves blood flow while working every muscle group. The core muscles in the abdomen and lower back in particular benefit from the work out, as well as arm and leg muscles, and all with minimal strain on the joints.