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Wednesday, July 2, 2003
Updated: July 10, 4:07 PM ET
Cycling:
A Recreational Sport


By Content provided byProfessional Team Physicians



Riding a bike outdoors is one of life's simple pleasures. But it takes on greater significance when it's incorporated into a program for improving physical fitness. Bicycling is an effective, relatively stress-free way to exercise your body, and it can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

While you are cycling, you are conditioning your lower body as well as improving both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels, without the high-impact, injury-prone pounding that plagues runners.

Advantages

Perhaps the greatest advantage of bicycling is that it can take you long distances, past interesting scenery. Looking forward to reaching a destination and having interesting things to look at along the way, make bicycling quite pleasurable, especially for people who are quickly bored by the monotony of other activities. Cycling is further enhanced by its appeal to the whole family. Children can also participate, making it a great group activity.

Disadvantages

It requires expensive equipment, specifically a well-tuned bicycle and assorted accessories that are recommended for bicycling. Bicycles can be troublesome to maintain and can malfunction during a ride.

Cycling also requires access to long stretches of well-paved roads or trails, which presents the risk of injury from falls and collisions. A certain skill level is necessary in order to bicycle competently. Foul weather can hamper your efforts to stick to a regular cycling program; for safety reasons, it's best to avoid bicycling in rain, ice or snow.

Where to Participate

Ideally, you should start out on relatively flat, paved roadway where traffic is minimal. Hilly terrain can be added as your fitness level increases. For all-terrain cycling, begin on trails that aren't too steep or uneven. Ask bicycling clubs or bike shops in your area to point you to popular cycling spots. Many clubs offer group outings that you may want to join.

Recommended Equipment, Attire

Exercise Guidelines

Glossary of Terms



Disclaimer:
The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician.