We rode our bikes all over town! From the creek to the Quick Stop for a cold drink and candy, then to the ball field for a pick up game. Our bicycles logged more miles than we could count. It was the form of transportation for most of our childhood. Not only did we get everywhere on our bikes, but we stayed in shape at the same time. There were fewer instances of obesity in children because the kids played outside and rode their bike to their friend's house and to school. Before computers and video games entered the scene, the place to be was on your bike.
Now here you are, all grown up and looking for a way to stay (or get back) in shape. It's not as easy now, with demands of job and family. We don't have all day to play and the time we spend exercising needs to be effective. As we get our heart rate up and our pulse pumping, we slave it out in the gym or at home, in an effort to be fit. It's hard work and it can even be grueling. Staying in shape is important. But what if you could capture that feeling of when you were a kid? Would it be an alternative worth choosing? You can have that same freedom and wonder, even now as an adult. There is still nothing like riding your bike, the wind in your face. Leaving cell phones and Blackberries behind as you take to the roadway…the bike path! You can get your heart rate up and your pulse pumping while you and your bike explore the city. Whether you have lived there all your life and can visit your old haunts or you live in a new city, finding new creeks and ball parks to bike past, it is the thrill of the ride. It is leaving the hustle and bustle of our routine and enjoying the great outdoors. It is getting fit outside the four walls of a gym, and leaving the lines for the weight room far behind. It's clearing your head with no one talking to you, no one to respond to. Or putting in some earphones to a discman or ipod and listening to your favorite tunes.
Do you like the company of others when you exercise? Join a cycle club, they are everywhere. It's a great way to stay accountable and keep your exercise routine going. You will make new friends and stay in shape, doing something you love. Many of the cycle clubs plan long distance trips. They organize the water stops and fun things to do along the way.
Did you know that bicycling improves your endurance, burns calories, and gets your heart rate up to keep you heart-healthy? It is a popular form of exercise because it is easy on your knees (unlike running) and puts less stress on your joints and muscles. It is inexpensive, a used bike is all you need.
When you decide to give it a whirl, first consult with your doctor if you haven't been active in a while. He will most likely tell you to start out slow and build up your time and distance.
Make sure you have a proper fitting helmet. This can't be stressed enough. It's not the concern of you falling off your bike as much as not know who will fall into you! It is just good safety to wear a helmet every time you ride.
Check the air in your bike tires. It can make the difference of a smooth or hard ride. If your tires are low on air, you will feel like you are climbing Mount Everest with every turn of the pedal.
Double check the brakes if you purchase a used bike, or haven't used it in a long time. You don't want to find out you don't have any when you need them.
So now that you know all the wonderful benefits of cycling…go for it! Don't wait until next week, go today. Get started and enjoy the great outdoors. There is nothing quite like it.