One of the main inspirations I walked away with from our trip to Europe this past spring was bicycling. It was such an amazing sight to see bicycles everywhere you turned as one of their primary forms of transportation. I just kept thinking I couldn't wait to start incorporating more bike riding in my own lifestyle.
I immediately came back home excited and ready to embrace my new form of transportation. So I researched what gear (helmet, baskets, locks, etc) and routes that would work best. I quickly realized Houston's roads don't really accommodate cyclist safely. At least where I'm located they don't.
Needless to say my over zealous spirit to ditch cars completely did fade a bit. So I decided to at least try switching my workout routine from running to cycling. And it turns out I much prefer biking over running for exercise and wish I had started the switch sooner. So incase there is anybody considering a change in their workout or perhaps just need some inspiration to get out and ride your bike.
Here are 5 reasons why I prefer bicycling over running for my fitness:
1. Relief on my ankles and legs.
As long as I can remember I have had weak ankles. I can't tell you how many times I've sprained them in sports growing up. I also suffered from a DVT (deep-vein thrombosis) blood clot in my left leg and lungs post my 1st pregnancy. Therefore as a result any excess walking, running, or just being on my feet all day will cause swelling and stiff ankles. It's annoying!
I immediately noticed relief in these areas when I switched my daily walks/runs to biking. Call me vain, but walking around with one swollen leg due to a previous condition is not my favorite. Thankfully now for the most part my leg and ankles now remain normal size since bicycling. Winning!
2. A nice breeze.
When you deal with weather that is often triple digits with high humidity you take any breeze you can get. The airflow is definitely a step up on a bike versus a walk or run. Yet of course that also will mean extra resistance. I just consider those moments riding against the wind a mini challenge to work any extra calories off!
3. I feel safer from the boogey man.
After having a bit of a scare last year when I was followed by a car load of men during one of my morning runs. My motivation to exercise outside was tampered with quite a bit of fear. Thankfully our neighborhood patrol witnessed the unusual activity and addressed the situation. However the incident resulted with me sticking to in home fitness for a good while. It really was a big bummer (pun intended). Because being outside is also a huge asset to my mental health.
Riding on a bike versus being on foot just gives me an extra boost of confidence in the safety department.
4. Bicycling is less strain on my joints.
Now it's no secret we aren't getting any younger. And in my case those signs are becoming more and more apparent. I'm almost 42, for those curious. That's not ancient, but it's not 16 either! My body just doesn't move as agile or bounce back as it once did in my younger sporting days. And running on concrete sidewalks and roads are really harsh and hazardous on our knees, ankles, and joints all around. So the more nurturing and less strain on those areas the better for my mobilization in years to come.
5. It doesn't feel like work.
I was a sprinter growing up in track. I was trained to run as fast as I can until I reached the finish line (which was no longer than 200 meters at a time, ha!). So restraining from a full blown sprint and maintaining a slower pace to endure long periods of running is definitely a challenge for me (a treadmill does help me with that though). With that said, long distance running is very mental for me on just trying not to die. Of course I always feel great at the end, but to get to that finish line is constant cheering myself on.
When riding a bike for exercise, it simply feels just like that...riding a bike. We all rode bikes as a kid as a form of play, adventure, and activity. It still gives me that same mindset today as an adult. Rather than spending my time focusing on my next breathe I can take in the scenery and enjoy nature as I pass it by. All the while still strengthening my body and heart safely.
Now there are times where a good walk now and then feels amazing because it gives my legs a nice good stretch. Not to mention off of my bum after a long day sitting at my desk. I actually opted for an hour walk around the neighborhood the other day to change things up. And while the walk felt wonderful I did suffer with my reason #1 for two days afterwards from just that one walk. Ugh!
Whether it's to take a load off and enjoy the scene or to change things up in your physical activity. I hope this post encourages you to get out and ride your bike.
What about you? Do you share similar struggles with running? What are your experiences with bicycling?
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