Why Cycling? Reasons Why Cycling Should Become Your Next Addiction

There are countless hobbies and activities in the world that people take up every day, but few are as valuable as cycling. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider adopting this healthy habit.

Lose Weight and Increase Health

Not only can cycling promote weight loss, but this form of exercise can also improve your body’s overall well-being. This activity is an extremely effective way to burn calories depending on the intensity of the ride, and size of the rider, using several muscle groups throughout. According to National Healthcare Provider Solutions, cycling can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by up to 50% as well.

Photo of a bike and cyclist

Be Happier

With exercise comes a rush of endorphins. Cycling is one of the best cardiovascular exercises you can perform, and in turn, can reduce stress. If you’re feeling down or having a bad day, just a 30-minute bike ride is all it takes to release a surge of endorphins powerful enough to counter any negativity that you’re harboring. Introducing cycling into your weekly routine can create long lasting benefits to your mental health.

Become Environmentally Friendly

Perhaps one of the more obvious upsides to cycling is the eco-friendly aspect. Unlike driving a car, bicycles use no fuel, require no batteries or motor oil, and take little energy to make, all of which can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. In addition to helping out our planet, cycling also decreases traffic congestion, making that daily commute just a little bit easier for everyone on the road.

Kick Unhealthy Habits

Developing a positive addiction to cycling can take the place of any harmful dependencies you may struggle with, whether those are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or overeating. Devoting time to this new hobby will reduce time available to give in to these unhealthy habits, and can create a routine that will eventually phase them out entirely.

Photo of a bike and cyclist

Bond with Friends and Family

Cycling is arguably one of the most social physical activities you can be a part of. Chances are there is a cycling club in or around your local area, in which you can build new friendships and connections within the community. This is also a hobby that the whole family can enjoy. The youngest of family members can join the ride in a bike seat and enjoy the scenery, while the oldest can ride alongside themselves, enjoying the fact that cycling is easy on the joints. With how impressionable children are, this also a great way to develop healthy habits early on, as they will see how cycling is a standard part of your day and want to mimic your actions.

So, if you’re seeking a new hobby, a different form of exercise or just an activity to remove the mundane from your life, cycling is one of your best options. Research what bicycles may work best for you, strap on a helmet, and begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Photo of a bike and cyclist

Mark’s Go-To Workout

 

Over the years, my workouts have transitioned from one sport to the next. I’m always interested in trying out the coolest trends! In the past, I’ve never been concerned about my nutrition. My philosophy? If I’m working out, I’m working it off. Now, science and technology have provided so much information debunking this fact. Living a healthy lifestyle means so more than being active.

I’m not a nutritionist, and I’m not writing this to tell you how to eat – but utilizing common sense when it comes to your food is important. If you are going to dedicate your time and energy to working out, why not start right at the refrigerator. Why wait for “next Monday” to start that new workout program when you can start right now by reading the back of a food label.

 

Gallery of food photos

 

We already know trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils are bad to consume in high amounts. Want a challenge? Take a minute and go over to your kitchen and read the labels on your favorite snacks. How many trans fats do you see? Now, look to see how many grams of sugar are in single serving. That many?

While you may be working out all the time but you’re not concerned about your diet, chances are you aren’t losing the weight. Here’s a secret. You can become healthier faster by not working out. You’ll actually see more results when you focus on the foods you consume! (Or not consume.)

Don’t worry. Healthy food does not equate to foods that don’t taste good. In fact, if you can discipline yourself for just two or three weeks, and adhere to a healthier diet, you’ll be amazed how awful that old way of eating tastes. Give up packaged foods. Foods with high sugar and high fat. Focus on eating real food – vegetables, fruit, nuts, and meats. The closer it is to its natural state, the more nutrient dense and healthier it is.

After you have the hang of eating real food, you’re ready to work out! As I mentioned earlier I have changed one sport to another and within each sport from one workout regimen to another. I have several workouts that I would like to share with you. I’ll start with exercises you can do at home, no equipment required.

Here are a few of the exercises I use most frequently:

  • Burpees:  I love burpees! A proper burpee begins standing with your feet shoulder width apart, hands above your head. Squat to the floor, hands flat on the floor in front of your feet, kick your feet back at the same time to a straight arm plank. Go down and do one push-up. Kick your feet back to your hands and thrust your body into the air extending your hands over your head. Finish in the standing position your started. That is one burpee!

 

  • Knee Tucks:  Begin this exercise in the straight arm plank position. You can put your feet shoulder width apart or together depending upon your shoulder strength and what is most comfortable. Now, in one single motion, kick your feet to the outside of each wrist, knees bent. Now kick back to your starting position. You’ve done one knee tuck.
  • Side-to-Side Knee Tucks: This exercise is identical to a standard knee tuck except you kick both feet to the same wrist. Alternate each side with each new kick. Don’t worry about kicking your feet all the way to your wrists. Start with what is comfortable –the side to side motion is most important. You’ll work those obliques!

 

  • Spider Push Ups:  A spider push-up is a normal push up with a slight alteration  First let’s make certain your normal push up form incorporates proper technique. Remember, a strong core is necessary to perform a proper push up. If your back is concaved, you are doing it wrong and will potentially hurting yourself.  Flatten your back, get that butt up and hips down. Feel weird? Good, you’ve been doing them wrong. Another common push-up mistake is not going down the entire way or doing a “pulse” push up.  If you turned a 2×4 on its edge under your chest, your chest should touch the 2×4.  On the way up straighten out those elbows.  The spider push-up incorporates all the motion of a properly executed push up except during the push up phase of the exercise, bring in your right knee and try to kiss your elbow with your knee. Alternate side-to-side for each push up.

 

  • Side Bends:  These are exactly what they say – a side bend. Feet shoulder width apart, hands flat against the outside of your thigh. Stand tall and bend sideways at your waist to try and touch the outside of your knee. Keep your core tight, your back straight using your obliques to control the movement. The benefit of this exercise, it allows your heart rate to come down and it comes at a time in the workout where you need to catch your breath.  Enjoy the break.

 

  • Mountain Climber: Start in a straight arm plank position. Quickly move one leg forward under your body, then back, then the other. Almost like running in place in this position.  

 

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I’ve selected a workout that works best with a partner. This provides two things. First, it helps with timing.While you are doing a set, your partner is resting and vise-versa. It also provides a challenge and helps you execute proper form and technique. Second, a partner helps you commit to a schedule and a routine. Ready to get started? Here we go.

 

10 Burpees

20 knee tucks – side to side

50 jumping Jacks

20 knee tucks – feet to wrists

10 Burpees

50 Mountain Climbers (25 each foot)

10 standard push ups

20 knee tucks – feet to wrists

10 Burpees

10 spider push ups

50 jumping jacks

*10 pull ups

20 knee tucks – side to side

10 Burpees

50 Side bends

*10 pull ups

50 mountain climbers

50 side bends

1-mile run

 

*If you do not have access to a pull-up bar, you can do 15 standard push ups, instead.

Keep a slow pace until you feel comfortable with the basic exercises. If 20 knee tucks are too much of a challenge, simply modify the workout. After you increase your strength and endurance, you can begin to challenge your workout partner. Try and go through the series twice!

After you’re finished, treat yourself to a healthy snack and pat yourself on your back. And always remember, “If you want it, you gotta go get it!”

 

Paleo Diet: Making the Switch

 

Paleo: Making the Switch

 

In my earlier post, I’ve outlined the basic history and overview of the Paleo Diet. While many of you may find it an interesting topic, you may find yourselves questioning if this lifestyle change is right for you. What are the noticeable differences? How will it affect my life for the better? Most importantly, how will this be different from all of the other diets I’ve tried?

I know first hand how difficult it can be to manage a new exercise routine or diet change. These are significant life changes and they require a large amount of time and dedication. After the initial excitement of embarking on a new journey wears off, what remains? You feel tired. You’re craving your traditional food choices. Worse yet, you’ve committed weeks, maybe even months to the change and you’re barely seeing any results.

 

Plant photo

 

Various diets promise fast results overnight. Don’t believe them. I’m can’t promise that adopting the lifestyle will be easy. What I can guarantee is that in a short amount of time, you will have more energy and you’ll look and feel healthier. The Paleo Diet is different from other fad diets. It prioritizes real food that our ancestors ate millions of years ago. We’re not only biologically built to consume this food, but to benefit from the specific nutrients related to it. Check out the list below as a preview of the awesome new lease on life you’ll receive after making the switch.

 

You’ll look better.

What happens when you consume more protein and fats? You’ll not only lose weight but you’ll develop muscle in its place. By ditching a carb-heavy diet, you’ll be reaching for a richer, healthier palette of foods designed to sculpt your body into a leaner and stronger form.

 

Cherries

 

You’ll feel better.

You’ll not only eat a lot of meat but you’ll also consume a large portion of vegetables. Vegetables are the secret to a healthy and happy digestive system. Strive to eat 2-3 servings of dark, leafy greens for a week and watch what happens. You’ll micro-biome, or your gut’s ecosystem will begin to repair and run at an efficient level. Amazing things happen when your gut is in working order.

 

Sunlight on tree.

 

You’ll sleep better.

Paleo prefers that you exclude coffee from your diet. This can be an extremely hard switch to make. You’ll no doubt feel tired, restless, even depressed. This is what happens when your body detoxes from harmful substances. If you’re serious about adopting a pure Paleo diet, try and stick with the elimination. In a few weeks, your body will begin to adjust to your normal energy levels. Better yet, you’ll have less sleeping issues due to the elimination of caffeine in your system.

 

Cat sleeping

 

You’ll work faster.

Your bones will be stronger. You won’t be reliant on caffeine. The paleo diet restarts your system to run at an efficient level. Another added perk? Say goodbye to the mid-afternoon slumps at work. When you’re no longer dependent on caffeine or sugar, your body will no longer run in spells, dipping when sugar is low. For those interested in adopting a Paleo lifestyle, the rewards are countless. Check back often for more posts on how to live a healthy and active life.

 

Man Hiking

 

4 Tips Every Beginning Cyclist Should Know

 

Mark Dziuban offers 4 tips.
Mark Dziuban offers 4 tips.

 

 

Cycling is a great way to become physically active while providing an outlet for the adventurous and travel-minded individual. It’s a great way to boost your aerobic activity. It’s also an excellent way to support the environment. All beginning cyclists can benefit from the following tips, designed to get you logging dozens of miles in no time.

 

Develop a Plan

 

The sooner you create a plan for your cycling routine, the faster you will see results. Cycling, like any form of aerobic conditioning, requires a steady, but slow, plan. You can find hundreds of training plans online or in cycling guidebooks. These plans help get you from a low-mileage position to race-ready in a matter of weeks or months. Check out this plan, featured on Bicycling.com.

Additionally, researching local races or rides can be a great motivator to put your plan in action. You’ll find it easier to stick with your weekly and monthly goals when you have your eye on a larger prize.

 

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Invest in Proper Equipment

 

What tools do cyclists need? To start, you’ll need to research what type of bike is right for you. Check out REI’s guide, here, for an overview–road, mountain, crossover, folding? Be sure to have your bike fitted. Test rides are an extremely important process in buying this investment piece. Unlike a pair of sneakers that may only last a season, a high-quality bike can provide you with years of value.

Necessary accessories include safety gear (helmet and reflective clothing), tail lights, an adjustable mirror, a travel-sized tool kit, and a small saddle bag to hold your accessories. It’s not a bad idea to keep a rain jacket, water bottle, and snacks with you, either.

 

Take care of the human machine

 

This is a crucial tip for any new fitness program. Proper self-care will provide you with a solid foundation. After each workout, carve out time to stretch. Make healthy eating a priority. Keep track of the hours that you sleep and strive for longer sessions. Because cycling is such a time-consuming and physically strenuous activity, it’s also important to fit the activity around your professional life. As a beginner, it’s not advisable to log a difficult workout after spending 10 hours in the office. Train when you’re fresh and take time to recover when you’re feeling tired. Living a healthy lifestyle will support all of your physical endeavours and allow you to reach your fitness goals faster.

 

Row of Bikes. 4 Tips for New Cyclists

 

Join a Community

 

Finding a community of riders can be a huge help in motivation. Stop by your local bike shop for teams that ride in the area. Just like the bicycle, you’ll want to find the right group for you. Groups will differ widely in terms of style and purpose. It’s most beneficial to first find a “no drop” team. During the ride, experienced cyclists will fall back to help those unable to continue with the pack. Before you begin your group adventure, you’ll want to be sure you can ride in a straight line, have all of the proper equipment, and are capable of controlling your speed.
If you’re not ready for the large group ride, why not enlist a friend or family member to start the hobby with you. You’ll receive the same amount of motivation with less stress.

 

Bike shot. 4 Tips for new cyclists.