Now, before you start sweating at the sheer thought of cycling, take a deep breath: Not all classes involve spinning your legs as quickly as you can while trying to keep up with what seems like the fastest song in existence. Depending on what kind of cycling class you take, you’ll either end up doing those speedy, sweat-inducing intervals or something that feels like you’re riding uphill and downhill on outdoor terrain. Either way, the low-impact exercise can give your body a serious boost.
The Benefits of Cycling
If you’ve been searching for a form of cardio that doesn’t cause wear and tear on your body like running, you’ve found your perfect match. Whether you’re cycling indoors or outdoors, it’s an easy way to not only burn fat, but also tone your muscles, says New York City-based personal trainer Lana Herzig. Depending on the level of intensity, you can burn up to 800 calories an hour doing something that doesn’t cause wear and tear to your body. And when it comes to your physical and mental health, past research has shown cycling can help keep your heart healthy and fight off cancer, help you de-stress, and even help you sleep more deeply at night.
The Pros and Cons of Cycling
Because cycling is so low-impact and easy on the joints, it allows people of all ages, fitness levels, and medical conditions to amp up their heart rate in a safe, body-friendly way. “Individuals with knee pain or arthritis could benefit greatly from this workout versus other high-impact exercises,” Herzig says. Despite it being easy on the body, you can overdo it, though. One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found cycling too often could fatigue your body rather than benefit it, so don’t make it an everyday thing.
How to Get a Solid Cycling Workout
To get the most out of cycling, find a happy medium when incorporating it into your fitness routine. According to Herzig, the best way to improve your cardiovascular health and reap all the mind and body benefits is riding for 60 minutes 3 to 5 times a week.