Pilates is passé and spinning is such a bore. The new big exercise for women: the joie de vivre of feeling the wind in your hair as you coast down a hill on your bicycle!
Women’s Health Magazine reports a jump in cycling clubs for women and a renewed interest in taking a bike out for a spin.
“Today, many women are rekindling that childhood love by pedaling to work, competing in races, or just tooling around town. They’re finding that biking isn’t just a welcome break from mind-numbing elliptical sessions: It’s a surefire way to slim down and tone your tush–and look smokin’ in those spandex shorts.”
” ‘In the past five years, an unprecedented number of women’s cycling clubs have cropped up throughout the country,’ says Rachael Lambert, women’s product and marketing manager at Specialized Bicycle Components in Morgan Hill, California. Part of that surge may be due to a sour economy (a bike is cheaper than a car or a gym membership). Another factor is the popularity of triathlons: Women’s participation has soared 700 percent (no, that’s not a misprint!) in the past 10 years. Toss in the fact that biking is one of the most efficient and effective workouts–both on the open road and in a class–and it’s easy to see why this fitness staple is gaining speed.”
So what can cycling do for you?
“Cycling is no doubt good for your body, says Anne Lusk, Ph.D., a research associate at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. She studied more than 18,000 women over a period of 16 years and found that those who biked as few as five minutes a day gained less weight than those who didn’t ride. That’s because even a casual ride delivers a one-two punch of cardio and muscle strengthening. A 135-pound woman can blast nearly 500 calories in an hour of cycling at a comfortable clip. And each pedal stroke works your entire lower body and your core, sculpting a tight body.”
Cycling also can improve your mood and energy level. Surveys in the Netherlands found a huge amount of joy from riding. Even 10 minutes indoors can make a difference in your spirits, reports Lusk.
It’s funny because I have hopped on board this trend without even knowing it. I have wanted a bike since we moved here. Everyone rides bikes around here – to school, to work, for exercise. The city has sidewalks everywhere, some bike trails and a bunch of bike lanes.
I asked for a pink Schwinn cruiser for Christmas. You know one of the old-fashioned looking bikes. It has a big padded seat and you sit upright instead of all bent over. It also has a big basket on the front, which I adore.
So now I am enjoying getting out and going places on my bike. Although I am little scared about getting hit by a car. I am wearing a helmet although it looks hideous. A childhood friend advises that I should buy an orange vest and riding lights for the front and back of the bike for safety. He also advised to make eye contact with drivers before crossing a street even if you have the light. A car turning almost hit me. The driver totally wasn’t paying attention.
You are definitely not watching the clock while you ride a bike. I rode 10 miles the other day and just enjoyed being outside and the sensation of flying along. My goal is to get the whole family biking — only bad thing is both big kids have grown out of their bikes!
Have you noticed this bike-riding trend for ladies? Are you participating? Do you enjoy riding bikes? Would you prefer to ride outside or do a spin class? Would the research in the Women’s Health article encourage you to start riding? Would you worry about breaking a bone or getting hit by a car?