May is National Bike Month—the ideal time to get outside and enjoy yourself before the summer heat sets in and chases you back inside to air conditioning. Riding a bike can be a great way to enjoy mild temperatures while remaining active. Bicycling has all sorts of health benefits—engaging your legs while being easy on the joints, and providing a sense of freedom and enjoyment. In case you still need convincing, here’s a list of reasons to hop on your bike this spring.
Get out there and take advantage of a nice day.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy a warm spring afternoon, but riding a bike is one of the most active ways to spend your leisure time. According to NutriStrategy, a relaxing bike ride (<10 mph) burns more calories than an easy walk (2 mph)—281 calories versus 176 calories per hour. Challenge yourself by powering your way up hills and pushing your speed over 10 mph, but even keeping to a leisurely pace is a great way to supplement an active lifestyle.
You’ll look forward to doing it.
We all have those exercises we dread working on. But even if you hop on your bike and take it seriously—pedaling furiously and feeling a deep burn in your quads—there’s a good chance you’ll still love it despite the difficulty since you’re rewarded with a quick, exhilarating ride. It can also energize you for other exercises you plan to do. Bike instead of driving to the gym to warm up and cool down from your workouts.
It’s much easier on your legs, ankles, knees and feet than running.
Andy Clarke, the president of the League of American Bicyclists says, "Whether you're recovering from an injury, looking for a cross-training option or hoping to preserve your knees to run the New York Marathon when you are 85, cycling gets your legs moving and your heart pumping without pounding your joints." Running has the potential to take its toll on the body. Biking, on the other hand, is far lower impact and engages the muscles in the legs without as much force coming down on the knees. So long as you keep your legs pumping on your bike, it ends up being a smoother, lower risk form of cardio you’ll appreciate, especially if you're recovering from an injury. NEXT: Make your other car a bike >>