The rate of obesity across the country grows faster each year. That's why a lot of people are trying to find ways to stay healthy without feeling the struggle. If you're one of those who want to shed off some extra pounds while having fun, then you're in luck. We have one activity that will surely get you sweating while enjoying nature.
Regardless of your experience as a cyclist, it's very likely that you'll want to lose weight doing the activity that you love and be lighter in your toes. Not only does cycling offer you the chance to enjoy the serene view outside, but it also helps you burn calories effectively. But is cycling better than other activities like running?
Cycling vs. Running: Which is Better?
Cycling and running are two of the most popular forms of exercise that people enjoy doing. Experts say that they're also both forms of aerobic exercises that you can do outdoors no matter where you are.
If you only base it on the number of calories that you can burn, then running might be a much better option for you. But it does have a few drawbacks. Running can be harder on both your joints and your muscles. That's because of the impact that your body gets whenever you run or jog.
Meanwhile, cycling is gentler on your joints, which makes it a perfect activity for those who want to exercise longer. Thus, helping you burn more calories entirely. It's an ideal concept for those who want to lose weight not only on their belly problems but on their entire body, too. A few studies show that an average person can burn calories between 450 to 750 every hour through cycling. The data depends on the person's speed, weight, and the length of time spent on biking.
Overall, cycling is an excellent choice for those who want to reduce their weight without straining their bodies. There are still a couple of things that you need to consider before you go outdoors-- and one of them is safety.
A starting guide on essential gear
Cycling is a rewarding experience, especially if you like activities that let you get close to nature. But at the same time, spending hours outside can get you exposed to various weather conditions. If you want to consider cycling to help you lose weight, then it's best to learn a few of the best gears that you should wear based on the climate.
Cycling during a cold weather
For those who want to do it during the winter, then it's best to wear a technical jacket when you're on the road. It'll help you keep your body temperature stable, even if the weather is at 0-degree Celsius. It's best to invest in high-quality jackets instead of those cheap ones that you see on bargains. Remember that you're after its features and not solely on how it looks. Most high-quality jackets have a waterproof coating, which is crucial, especially when caught in rain showers.
You should also wear essential thermal items of clothing such as thermal jersey, thermal tights, and thermal base layers, too. These clothing items can help keep cold wind chill at bay when you're riding your bike. It's crucial, especially when you're out in the cold yet dry weather. Look for proper quality thermal clothing that has a fleece-lined interior to help keep you insulated.
When your body feels cold, its natural reaction is to take away the blood away from your body's extremities and transport it to your very core. Because of this, both your hands and feet will be the first ones to get numb. Once that happens, you'll start to feel a painful sensation on both parts, which can make it difficult for you to control your bike. That's why it's best to invest in thermal gloves and shoe covers to keep your extremities warm while you're on the road.
Cycling during a hot weather
Cycling in the heat almost has the same degree of effect when riding during the cold season. You also need to prepare yourself for the extreme heat and the damaging sun's rays before you head on to the road.
Remember that riding under the smoldering heat can increase your risks of dehydration and sunburn. That's why it's crucial to have the best sets of gear meant for the hot weather.
Aside from your water bottle, one of the first things that you need to bring is sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen that has a UV protection rate of 70 and above. Choosing a high UV protection rate will act as a shield as you go along the road.
If you feel like you're suffering from profuse sweating, headache, and nausea, it's best to stop for a while so you can rest. Pushing yourself beyond what your body can handle will only increase your risk of developing heat stroke.
Also, don't forget to wear cycling jerseys meant for the hot weather. These jerseys use a unique material that can wick your sweat away from your body. It can also keep your body fresh and comfortable as you continue with your ride.
It's not just your skin that gets damaged from excessive sun exposure. Even your eyes can suffer from it too. Everyone knows that eyes are sensitive to the sun's rays. That's why you'll often see cyclists wear a pair of their UV protected sunglasses to help shield their vision from the sun's rays.
No matter what the weather may be, it’s a must to wear a helmet at all times. But it's not just any regular helmets that they wear. Cyclists wear cycling helmets with small vents on the front to shield them from any accidents. These tiny holes will keep the air flowing pass through its interior to help you stay cool.
Another one that you can wear to help you stay fresh is a sports cooling vest. This clothing piece just recently become available a couple of years ago to help reduce a person's core body temperature during the hot weather. Studies show that high core temperature has adverse effects on people who are into endurance sports performance.
Finally, no matter what weather you may be under, it's always essential to bring a bike light and a bottle of water with you. It's highly crucial, especially during emergencies.
A guide on the duration of rides
Now that we've discussed the right gear, it's now time to talk about the right duration to help you lose weight. Cycling, as a leisurely activity, is quite fun. But doing it to lose weight can be different. That's because the calories that you burn depends on the time that you spend biking instead of the distance that you travel.
For those who aren't physically active, starting your biking program with a test is a must so that you'll know your body's endurance level. You can begin by using an odometer using a GPS watch or your smartphone application to see the distance that you've traveled when you took your bike for a ride for at least 30 minutes. You need to put the number down in your journal and set a goal to reduce the time spent on your bike ride for that same route and distance.
You'll notice that as your fitness level improves, you'll be able to log more miles but in a lesser amount of time. Achieving this feat will help you shed more pounds for the entire duration of your test. As you get more comfortable with the exercise, you can increase the time that you spend for the whole week.
If you're planning to increase the intensity level of your ride, it's highly advisable to monitor your heart rate closely. Learning how to use a heart rate monitor will give you an accurate measurement of the intensity of your work out. It's best to keep it at 70 to 75 percent of your maximum rate for most of your rides. You should also be breathing deeply so that you'll feel more relaxed.
But if short yet intense rides are not for you, then you can always take a slow but long trip once every week. While going out of your comfort zone can help you achieve better results, you should learn to listen to your body so that you won't end up hurting yourself.
Long rides usually last for up to six hours and can burn a lot of fat while boosting your endurance as you go along. But if you're going for long hours, you need to ensure that you keep yourself hydrated for the entire session.
People lose a lot of electrolytes whenever they sweat. So, drinking fluids rich in electrolytes can help restore the ones that you lost. You also need to take the right source of food and minerals to give your body the fuel that it needs. If you don't have any electrolyte-rich drink handy, then you can look for potassium, salts, or magnesium-based products as an alternative. Here are two recipes that you can do to make your own homemade electrolyte drinks:
2 ½ cups water
Ad 1-2 capsules of Magnesium Citrate
(open them and pour the powder inside the mix)
Use a blender to mix everything well.
Simple weight loss diet tips
Like any other type of exercise routine, your cycling sessions wouldn't be a success without the right kind of diet. So, if you want to lose weight fast, you need to know the best ways to reduce your appetite significantly without starving yourself.
One of the most crucial steps to losing weight is reducing your sugar and starch intake. Once you do that, you'll feel more satiated as your hunger levels go down. So, instead of burning the excess carbohydrates from your body to produce energy, it'll feed off on your stored fat.
Not all fats are bad for you. There are other natural fats that can be great for your health, too. You can get the right kind of low-fat from foods that contain coconut oil, avocado oil, and even butter. Meanwhile, you need to make sure that you only consume 20 to 50 grams for each day so you can manage your weight.
Diets rich in high protein can also help alleviate your hunger by at least 60%. Even more, it can also help reduce your desire for eating food during late-night hours, too.
Aside from keeping yourself hydrated for each cycling session, you should also drink water before having your meal. It gives your stomach a feeling of fullness after consuming water premeal.
Eating soluble fiber is another way to help you lose weight. Aside from flushing out all the toxins, fiber can also help reduce fat, especially in your belly area. You need to look for products containing glucomannan to find out.
You wouldn’t really want to know all the ingredients used in all those processed foods that you eat. So, try to prepare your meal and rely less on whole, unprocessed foods.
There’s nothing better than to see your progress, taking note of your weight each day will help you know just how much you’ve lost weight. Write it down, buy a smart scale or use an app.
Although it may not look like it, one of the reasons why most people gain weight is because of their lack of sleep.
Recovery tips after going for a bike ride
Your entire journey wouldn’t be complete without a few recovery tips after taking your bike out for a ride. For those who have been cycling for several years, their recovery can be much shorter than usual. But for those who are entirely new, they may find some of the tips as a surprise.
Recovering from an intense exercise is a critical component in any physical activity, including cycling. Neglecting to do it can result in injuries, especially for those who are new to the sport.
Remember that the blood vessels found in your legs expand in any form of physical activity, especially when you’re cycling. So, stopping abruptly can prevent the blood from circulating inside your body. That’s why you need to cool down for a while so that you can help your body circulate more blood cells.
Once you’re done with your five-minute cooldown, try to keep your body moving for a little while longer instead of lying around immediately. The muscles in your leg tend to tighten up after getting into some physical activity.
Compression socks are another way to help alleviate the fatigue and soreness of your muscles, especially after an intense bike ride. Since the muscles in your calves find it difficult to transport the blood directly back to your chest, wearing a pair of compression socks will help promote better blood circulation as well as improving the oxygen levels inside your legs.
Aside from drinking water, massaging your legs will help flush out any waste products from your body as your muscles breakdown. It also helps improve blood flow and lets fresh blood to penetrate and repair your tired muscles.
Resting is the most important part of your recovery after going on your first bike ride. The hormones responsible for producing muscles get a boost in production when you sleep. Thus, making it easier for your body to repair itself while you continue training.
Losing weight can be a challenge. But with proper knowledge and the right determination, you can easily shed off those extra pounds in a few months. All you need to do is to stay disciplined and focus on your goals.
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