Cycling is one of the best forms of simple, low-cost exercises available out there. Let’s find out more about its advantages and disadvantages. As a kid, all one ever wants is a bicycle! Many even used it to go to the school and the pride of owning a cycle was clear for everyone to see. But things change with time and now most people prefer bikes and cars. But let’s not forget that even today, cycling still continues to be one of the best forms of exercise.
Benefits of cycling as an exercise
Builds strength – Bicycling is not just an exercise for the legs. Contrary to general perceptions, cycling helps in building strength in a holistic manner
Cuts the risk of coronary heart disease – Cycling gives a workout to your heart, lungs and blood vessels, and thus reduces the risk of heart problems.
Increases muscle tone – Cycling is a slow but good way of increasing muscle tone. It is a good workout for the leg, hip and knee joints.
Builds stamina – Cycling builds your stamina even without your knowledge as once you start enjoying it you do not realise that you have gone further than original capacity.
Reduces stress – Cycling outside is a good way to be one with nature. It helps you to clear your head and makes you feel better.
Improves body co-ordination – As you cycle more and more, your body starts synchronising the moves and your arm to leg, and body to eye co-ordination improves.
Melts your body fat – If you are on the heavier side, cycling can help you reduce weight.
Improves cardio-vascular fitness – Cycling improves your breathing and your heart beat in a steady manner. Cycling also uses the largest muscle group, the legs, and raises the heart rate.
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Have you ever ridden behind a good road cyclist, you’ll understand the importance of technique. The pedalling, gearing and braking are all so smooth and fluid as to be imperceptible. The hips are still, the cadence steady as a heartbeat. They are one with the bike.
Mathieu Heijboer, trainer of the lotto Jumbo team, explains in detail how you can improve your pedalling technique with the Pioneer Powermeter and pedalling Monitor
There is a technique to pedalling efficiently and smoothly, but many people ride without giving it a second thought. In this video, we explain how to get the most out of your pedal stroke with a few simple tips from the pros.
At the heart of the system are two proprietary strain gauge monitors developed by Pioneer that provide the highest power recording rate (on both legs) using 12 different points (every 30 degrees) on a single 360 degree pedaling stroke. The dynamic information from the monitors is transmitted via a special ANT+™ stream so it can be graphically illustrated in real time on Pioneer’s customizable high-resolution cyclocomputer. Within one complete left/right stroke, a multitude of the rider’s performance parameters are analyzed by the system, which can be illustrated in detail on Pioneer’s online service, Cyclo-Sphere.
“For the first time, riders will see a complete on-bike performance analysis of their entire pedaling stroke showing left and right leg pedaling efficiency and pedaling loss so they can instantly make changes to their riding technique in real time,” said Roel Schoondermark Cycling Business manager for Pioneer. “With close cooperation of the Lotto Jumbo Team, Pioneer engineers refined the system throughout the development stage until its release, putting it through rigorous tests and races to ensure riders will obtain accurate and reliable data during their ride sessions.”
Some pedalling exercises:
• If you are used to ‘push/pull’ pedalling, retrain your muscles to switch off on the upstroke by replacing your clipless pedals with flat pedals and doing some sessions with your bike on the turbo trainer.
• Note your average cadence on a normal, steady-state turbo session. Next time, try to increase it by 10rpm.
• This one-hour training session will focus your attention on pedalling: Warm up for 10 minutes. Every five minutes after that, shift your gears to the small ring and a big sprocket, and sprint as fast as you can for 10 seconds. Do this for 40 minutes, and then cool down for 10.
• 30-30s: Ride for 30 seconds at a super high cadence in a low gear, followed by 30 seconds of easy pedalling. Repeat this 10 times and do four sets, recovering for 10 minutes between sets.
• Muscle tension intervals: Pedal at 50-60rpm in a gear that keeps your heart rate below zone 3. Focus on pushing down on the pedals, concentrating on the contractions of your gluteals, hamstrings and calves. Do this for 10-minute blocks, making sure your posture is correct and that your heel does not drop down.
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