Looking back, looking forward: Maryland changemakers in black history

Cycling can add some pizazz to your exercise routine

Community Times
Cycling can add some pizazz to your exercise routine[Reisterstown]

Something important to keep in mind while working out is to have fun. Workouts become mundane and difficult to keep up with when your choice of physical activity isn't exciting for you. The great part about working out is that there are many things that you can do, so don't hesitate to try something new. One great physical activity to try out is cycling.

Cycling is a fun hobby that keeps you active, as well as provides an opportunity to explore. Just about anyone of any age and health can ride a bike, which makes this exercise even more enjoyable and possible. Cycling can be done in a variety of ways, so there is no excuse not to give it a try.

Indoor cycling on stationary bikes is a great way to enjoy cycling without worrying about weather, proper gear, roads, etc. It's enough to get some cardio in on a stationary bike before or after hitting the weights. I highly recommend cross-training, which is a mix of cardio and strength training, to just about anyone seeking ways to live a healthier lifestyle. There are also several kinds of stationary bikes, from spin bikes that look like actual bikes without wheels to machines that have seats and pedals; each serves a different purpose and activity level.

Spin classes are a great means of trying out cycling. Spin classes are generally held indoors and are led by some seriously enthusiastic instructors. Spin bikes are most similar to actual bikes so you can really feel like you're riding around. Something to remember is not to be intimidated by a spin class, as instructors typically welcome people of all levels of ability and you can usually go at your own pace. There is nothing more exciting than a workout that seems more like a racing dance party led by a motivational instructor and upbeat music. I guarantee that you will leave that class with a sore bottom half, but also with a strong, motivated, confident attitude.

Outdoor cycling is a great way to explore your neighborhood, a local park, trails and so much more. Anyone of any level of experience and ability can find somewhere to ride a bike. You may see some people zip past, all decked out in their cycling gear. You may see serious mountain bikers tackle some trails. You may even see some folks just taking their time and enjoying a leisurely bike ride.

For me, there is just something about traveling around and exploring the great outdoors. I love riding through local parks and on paths and trails on my bike. You don't even feel like you got a workout in until your legs remind you when you wake up the next morning.

The health benefits of cycling are remarkable and basically never-ending. This acts as a great cardio workout, as well as a great strength workout while traveling uphill. Workouts in general prove to reduce stress, but cycling is definitely an awesome stress-reducer. For older folks, especially, cycling is a good way to better flexibility and joint mobility. For people who had surgery or a recent injury, cycling is great to ease back into physical activity and strengthening muscles. Cycling is also a great way to bond with family, friends or even a cycling group in your community. Finally, and most importantly, cycling can make you happy, and we could all use more happiness.

Exercise doesn't always have to require a trip to the gym, lifting weights or doing the same old routine day in and day out — which isn't good for physical health improvement, anyway. Exercise can and should be enjoyable, no matter what it is that you're doing. Find your interest and go for it! Try new things, like cycling, and see what your body is capable of. You never know until you try.

Amanda Oppenheim is a graduate of Stevenson University and can be reached at amandaoppenheim15@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
43°