Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cycling; An Ode to Le Tour

If you're reading this and you're a late night channel surfer, or lover of the ol' push bike, you would no doubt know that over the weekend, Le Tour de France started - the most famous and prestigious road bike race in the world. While not all people are interested in how Cadel Evans' is fairing over in France, most of us have at some point hopped on a bicycle and gone for a ride, (even if it was a stationary ride).

Mr. LL was just reading an article to me on the rider's on the tour's nutrition, (absolutely insane and worth a read - click here
), and it got me thinking about bicycling compared to other forms of cardio exercise.

Stationary bikes are far from favoured in my gym, often being used as a last resort for the masses of super-fit-20-somethings that appear between 5 and 6pm (when all the treadmills are full), but I have always loved the bike, choosing it over the treadmill and the cross trainer every time. I know in myself that it is improving my fitness as I have more stamina when I do get out and hit the foot path or Les Mills class, but let's look a some facts;

- If you're not a runner, like me, cycling is much better exercise for the heart than walking or power walking.
- No pressure is placed on the joints, especially knees when cycling unlike running or jogging. (This is especially helpful for people prone to injury or carrying a lot of weight and looking to increase fitness.)
- Although you will burn calories faster running, most people will last longer on a bike and burn more calories overall. It takes a fair bit of fitness to continuously run and more people are able to cycle for long periods of time.
- Using a bike is a practical mode of transportation when the weather permits, and using a stationary bike will deliver similar benefits uninfluenced by climate.
- You are less likely to incur injury on an exercise bike as opposed to running.
- On a stationary bike, you can increase and decrease your resistance with ease depending on your desired work out or level of fitness. As you get fitter, you can continue to challenge yourself with more than distance.

Of course there is no denying that running is a more intense work out, but if you'll make any excuse not to run, then cycling is also useful for cardio fitness.

I still plan to buy a mountain bike and go on weekend adventures one day. I have fond memories of biking around our large property when I was a kid, and in the Grampians on a school camp.

These days, I use 20 minutes on the exercise bike as a warm up at he gym before my weights session. I'd love to road bike, but the roads around these parts aren't set up brilliantly for it.

Do you like to cycle? Are the bikes popular at your gym?

In other news, I highly recommend staying up for Le Tour de France one night purely for the beautiful french countryside scenery.

Stay well,
Nat x

1 comment:

  1. i love bike riding (or should I actually say spin class). up until recently i had been a 'runner' and was amping up my training to run a 1/2 marathon in october - however an 'almost stress fracture' put running on the backburner and i discovered a love of spin class!! :)