Your hips do more than make you look good in your low rise jeans -- they help to stabilize your body as well. But that's not all. Strong hips can reduce back pain and make it easier for you to exercise. Getting them has its benefits, too. Hip-strengthening exercises burn calories and tone the hips, thighs and butt. You don't have to submit to long hours of miserable exercise to strengthen your hips though. A breezy bicycle ride can help you achieve the strong hips you need to look and feel good.
Biking is a form of cardiovascular exercise. You need 150 minutes of low-intensity cardio each week or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio.
Warm up before you begin cycling. Hips tend to take a beating when you sit in a chair all day, so it's particularly important to warm up this area if you live a mostly sedentary life. Try walking briskly for five to 10 minutes or stretching.
Cycle with your rear firmly on the seat of the bicycle. Bicycling standing up or leaning forward alters your center of gravity and provides less exercise for your hips. Ensure that your bike seat is positioned properly. Your feet should be able to be flat against the pedals with your knees slightly bent. If you have to stretch to reach the pedals, the seat is too high.
Cycle at your full speed for 30 seconds, then slow down to a brisk pace. Increase your speed again for 30 seconds. Continue cycling for 20 to 30 minutes. This interval-based cycling exercise strengthens muscles more quickly and gives you a better cardiovascular workout.
Cycle uphill a few days a week. Uphill cycling is much more difficult than cycling on a flat surface, and requires more lower body strength. You'll tone your hips, glutes and thighs if you regularly cycle on an incline.
Use a stationary bike to increase your muscle-building benefits. Cycle with one foot only for 30 seconds, then switch to the other foot. Finally, cycle with both feet together for two minutes, then repeat the process of alternating feet again. Graduate to cycling backward using one foot, then the other, and then two feet together.
Things You'll Need
- Ride Your Way Lean; Selene Yeager et al.
- Just Ride; Grant Petersen
- Bicycling: Butt Seriously
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research Development: Cycling
- Biking is a form of cardiovascular exercise. You need 150 minutes of low-intensity cardio each week or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.