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Biking Your Way to Good Health

By Donna Stark

Many of us had one when we were kids. In fact, it was usually the only form of transportation back then if we wanted to see our friends or if we wanted to spend the day at the local pool. It never occurred to my friends and me to ask our parents for a ride. We always just grabbed our bikes, and we loved it. It's sad to see that as we grow into adulthood, our favorite pastimes as children slowly get tucked away in the garage, isn't it? Well, if you liked to ride bike as much as I did, then go ahead and pull out your two-wheeler now because the benefits that you will get from a little bit of pedal-power are too significant to ignore.

The Benefits of Biking

You don't have to log thousands of miles each week or buy expensive racing gear to gain the benefits that bike riding has to offer. It's an easy and fun way to add physical activity into your week and isn't as hard on your joints as some other aerobic exercises can be. Let's check out some more of the benefits that bike riding can offer.

  • All-body workout - Bike riding strengthens the muscles in your legs, hips, and butt. On top of that, if your ride includes hills, your arms and upper body will get a workout as well!
  • Gentle on your joints - Riding your bike is gentler on your joints than high-impact workouts can be. This is extremely beneficial for those with knee or back issues.
  • Helps with weight loss - If you're overweight, it may be difficult to find an exercise program that is challenging enough but that doesn't stress your joints. Riding your bike every day can help you lose the weight in a safe manner or can help you fight the incremental weight gain that tends to sneak up on all of us midlife.

Safety First

The health benefits of cycling won't be worth diddly-squat if you aren't focusing on your safety. So before you hit the road, make sure you follow some general safety tips first.

  • Wear a helmet - No matter if you are on the road or on a trail, riding for a couple of hours or a couple of minutes, it's always best to pop on a helmet before you get on the bike.
  • Be visible - Make sure you can be seen, so wear bright clothing, put reflectors on your bike, and use bicycle headlights in the dark. It's also helpful to have a mirror on your bike so you can see what is coming up behind you.
  • Bring a cell phone - You never know what you may encounter while on the road, so carry a cell phone just in case you need to call for help.

Hitting the Road

Cycling is something that you can do on your own or with loved ones, so mix it up! Even at a moderate pace (riding bike with your kids), cycling still helps you get the recommended amount of exercise you need in order to maintain optimal health. So what are you waiting for? Head out to your garage and dust off that bike!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Hillsboro, Ore.

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