Does Outdoor Bicycle Riding Offer Exercise Benefits?

Bike with a friend to make your cardio seem like pure gossip time.
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Huffing and puffing on your bike provides similar cardiovascular benefits as other activities such as running, jumping rope and turning circles on the elliptical. Bicycling outdoors also combines exercise with transportation, which can be a real time-saver. Bike to the gym, lift weights, and then bike home for a full-body cardio and strength workout. So skip happy hour and cycle off steam with a friend -- you’ll burn extra calories and also save those you would have gained with cocktails.

Step 1

Engage in a solid aerobic workout on a long, local trail. Spend some solo time with your thoughts, or take your hubby along for company. Bike at a pace where you could have a short, choppy conversation with a friend or sing little phrases under your breath. The idea is to work hard enough to gain aerobic fitness and burn calories, but not so hard you can barely breathe.

Step 2

Strengthen your legs, hips and butt with hills. While regular cycling will do this, you can stress the issue even more by picking a hilly route. Stand up for half the hills to focus on strengthening your hips and stay seated for the other half to toast your legs and butt. The hills will also provide natural intervals so that your heart rate is elevated for a period of time and then back to a moderate pace to recover. Intervals have been shown to increase fitness faster and burn more fat than steady-state cardio.

Step 3

Challenge your balance on some technical terrain. Head to a wooded trail to test your cardio, strength and balance. Navigating winding paths, fallen branches, hills and valleys not only builds cardio and leg strength but a great amount of balance, upper body strength and core strength as well.

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