If you want to get fit fast, bicycling may be the best sport for you. Its intense cardiovascular workout will whip your body into great shape in no time. It’s also easy to learn, with most of us developing this simple skill years ago during our childhood. Bicycling is also a great way to get outdoors and see the sights in your neighborhood or in a nearby area. The intensity of your workout can be modified by changing your riding environment--if you want an easier and slow-paced workout try riding in a flat and even area; if it’s a fast-paced and intense workout that you crave, try riding in areas will hills and curves.

Getting Started
Obviously, to be able to go biking you first need a bike. If you don’t own one, you can easily rent one from a bike shop. For those who haven’t ridden a bike in awhile and want a little practice, using a stationary bike can help rebuild confidence without the worry of pedestrians and traffic on the road. Novices can ask a friend to teach them how to ride or take a clinic at a local bike shop. You should learn the rules of the road – like how to signal when making a turn and who gets the right of way – before hitting the streets.

Sitting on a bike for a long period of time can make you sore so you may want to invest in a padded seat or padded biking shorts. Also, if you lean too far forward on your seat, you may damage nerves and blood vessels in the genital area, which can lead to sexual dysfunction, especially in men. If you experience tingling or groin pain, stop biking and consult your doctor.

Body Benefits
In addition to being a great cardiovascular workout that burns a lot of calories, biking also builds endurance and muscle strength, particularly in your calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Because it is a low-impact sport that is gentle on your joints, you can ride often without a high risk of repetitive-use injury.

Warming Up and Cooling Down
At the beginning of your ride, go for about five to 10 minutes at an easy pace. This will warm your muscles and allow your heart rate to increase gradually. At the end of your ride, you should also bike for five to 10-minutes at an easy pace to let your heart rate decrease slowly.

Be sure to stretch your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and upper and lower back before you start to bike and again after cooling down to avoid injury and soreness.


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