Have you tried…Biking?

Hello Readers!  Well, we have started seeing the beginnings of Fall already.  The temperatures have begun to drop from “sweltering” to “manageable”.  The kids are back in school, and our days are a little more open to routines.  You may have spent the summer swimming for exercise on those long hot days, or you may have spent your time inside at the gym.  Or you may have worked out in your home in order to be there for your kiddos while they were out for the summer break.

Whatever the reason, now that they are back in school you should see your schedule open up a little and your routines become a little less filled.  This might be a good time to dust off that bike, air up those tires, and go for a bike ride.  The weather typically will hold each day, and while it’ll still be warm it will be a little less suffocating.  And, it will help change up your routine, which will help in losing weight.

How it works. Each time you start a new exercise regime, you work different muscles, which helps your muscles strengthen.  At the same time, your body typically turns its fat deposits (and calories you’ve eaten) into energy to work those muscles because those muscles need a lot of energy to work.  Sure they may “burn” after those first few exercises, but they will continue to get stronger.

Why biking.  Riding a bike can be very strenuous, even if you are riding around town, and it’s a great mode of transportation.  It also can be done as a family activity, if you take a short bike ride with your family, and it can be a great way to get your family outside for a fun adventure.  It also will help your children learn to enjoy exercise and the outdoors so that as they grow up they learn to get outside more instead of being cooped up inside on wonderful days.

Biking is also a fairly easy exercise to get into.  You don’t have to go far to get a good workout, and you can choose your mode for it.  You can do mountain biking, if you are more adventurous, or you can stick to street biking, which is relatively low impact and level.  It’s safe for the environment, and it can be more progressively difficult the further you go.

So, what do you need for biking?  Well, a bike is an obvious must for the activity.  They can run you anywhere from $50 and up, depending on the features.  However, the number one ranked women’s bike right now is the 700c Huffy Supreme Cruiser Bike, and it’s running for about $80 online.  So even good bikes can run for a lot less than you would imagine.

However, if you are like me and you have spent money on exercise gear or equipment without actually using it, thus throwing your money away, you may not be ready to part with so much on a new activity.  I would recommend borrowing a bike from a friend for a couple of weeks to see if it takes or purchasing a used bike at your local thrift store for a lot less.  Then, if it turns out you actually like the activity, you can purchase a bike (or upgrade to a better one) without that fear of buyer’s remorse.  And if it doesn’t take, you can return the bike with no guilt back to your friend or you can feel a lot less guilt for spending about half the money on a used bike (that can go back to the thrift store for someone else to buy).

I would also recommend a helmet and pads-elbow and knee- for obvious reasons.  You really need to protect that noggin, and helmets are relatively inexpensive.  Plus, your head is a lot more important than a few bucks spent on a helmet.  You want to find one that fits well but isn’t too tight, and make sure that the chin strap adjusts to fit properly flush with your chin.  As for pads, they should fit without being too tight, and they should cover your entire elbow and kneecaps.

Lastly, I recommend wearing breathable clothing.  You don’t need to buy expensive clothes right away; first get into the exercise and routine to ensure that you actually stick to it before spending a lot on new stuff for it.  I would highly recommend wearing leggings when you bike that don’t flare out.  I’m sure we all have a couple of pairs of leggings in our drawers.  If not, I have found my favorite pairs of leggings come from the most unlikely of sources: No Nonsense, the trusted nylon company.  I found two great pairs of leggings-one pair in black and the other a denim jegging-for about $25 total at my local grocery store.  But I’ve seen them at Walmart, Target, and other similar stores.  Almost anywhere that you can find their nylons you can find their leggings.  And they are super comfortable!  Best of all, the low price means that if they get destroyed or wear out after a few months, you won’t feel so guilty tossing them in the trash.  And they are perfect for wearing while riding a bike because you won’t feel too bad about ruining a $15 pair of leggings versus those pricey Lula Roe leggings you love.

My next suggestion for you is to go for a ride.  Enjoy the moment and the world around you.  Use it to bike to your nearby coffee shop for a treat or to meet up with your book club this week.  Not only will it help you get healthier, it will also be a viable and green mode of transportation.  And, if you do it with your family, it helps strengthen your bonds with your family members and helps your kids associate exercise with family fun, which will only help them as they grow.

So, tell me readers, do you enjoy biking?  If so, what mode do you prefer?  Can you offer any tips for the rest of us?  I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

-BBM

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