How To Start Cycling: Tips For Conditioning Your Body

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Cycling is a great sport to get into if you want to get in shape and have great legs. It’s an excellent form of commuting and a way to enjoy the outdoors and test your speed. 

It’s also great for cardiovascular health. One study at the University of Glasgow showed that cycling can reduce the risk of heart disease. 

You probably remember what it was like to ride a bike as a kid. A lot has changed, and you probably have to relearn how to ride a bike. Remembering how to ride won’t be the hard part. It’s getting the right gear and being smart on the road that’s hard. 

Read on to learn how you can start cycling again and reap all of the benefits from it. 

1. Get A Bike That Fits 

Your body isn’t what it used to be. When you were a kid, you could ride a bike that was too big or too small and not care. 

Now that you’re a bit older, a good bike fit is essential for comfort and to reduce your chance of injury. Cyclists often don’t get a bike that fits them and as they put on a lot of miles, they wind up with knee pain. That can be prevented by visiting your local bike shop and getting fitted for a bike. Once you get a bike that fits, you can take the steps to customize your bike and make it your own. 

2. Get Necessary Gear 

Like most fitness activities, cycling is full of products that you don’t need. They may be fun to have, but you don’t need to have a bunch of spendy stuff. 

You may be tempted to get the gear that professionals use, like heart rate monitors, sunglasses, and carbon fiber everything. 

The essential gear that you need starts with a helmet. That’s a non-negotiable item to have. You should get a couple of pairs of shorts with padding, especially as you do longer rides. 

Once you start doing longer rides, consider investing in chafing cream. You will thank yourself later for that purchase. You can also pick up a cycling computer to track your pace and mileage. 

You may want to get clipless pedals and shoes. Those aren’t necessary, but they are helpful. You may want to start with pedal straps at first and as you get used to the bike, upgrade to the clipless pedals. When you do go clipless, you should expect to fall a couple of times because you couldn’t clip out. Practice at home by putting your bike in a doorway and learn how to clip in and clip out. 

3. Start Riding To Get Used To The Bike 

Once you pick up your bike, take it out for a ride. Pick a parking lot or open, empty space and start riding it. 

Get used to how the bike brakes, shifting and pedaling work. When you take the bike on the road, you don’t want to think about how the bike operates. 

You want to intuitively know your bike before you do serious riding because you’re going to have to focus on traffic and other hazards. You don’t want to learn how your bike works while you’re trying to navigate potentially dangerous situations. 

4. Cross-Training 

Cycling is a wonderful sport, and you can really become a stronger cyclist by taking care of your body. Cycling is great for many things, but you’re not working out your full body. 

Plus, you’re using the same muscles for cycling, strengthening some muscles while other muscles stay the same. That can cause your body to be out of balance, throwing your musculoskeletal system off. 

That can also lead to injury. What you can do is hit the gym for strength exercises that will help you build muscles throughout your body. You don’t need to worry too much about cardio since you have that covered by cycling. 

5. Up Your Mileage 

Slowly One very common mistake that people make is that they start riding too much, too soon. They take on more than their body can handle, which inevitably leads to injury. 

If you haven’t had any physical activity in 6 months or more, you want to start with low mileage and build up by 10% a week. 

If you have a base of fitness already, you can start out with more mileage, but it’s best to lead up to 10% a week. It won’t take long before your body is ready to handle long weekend rides. 

6. Practice Good Nutrition 

Nutrition is a big part of cycling. Your body is like an engine. Your bike won’t move very far or fast if your body isn’t up to the task. 

You can get your body ready by giving yourself clean fuel. Eating a healthy diet of whole grains, lean protein, and lots of vegetables is a great starting point. 

You don’t want to overlook the importance of rest and recovery in your routine, either. Some athletes take CBD products for muscle soreness and to recover faster. 

7. Learn Basic Safety Tips 

You’re going to be cycling on the road with cars and drivers that won’t see you or aren’t looking for you. It’s up to you to take a defensive stance and learn the rules of the road yourself. 

You should also learn basic road safety tips like proper hand signals. 

Learning How To Start Cycling 

Cycling is a wonderful activity. You can get outside and enjoy nature, improve your cardiovascular system, and push your limits. 

The most important thing you can do as a cyclist is to stay safe. Before you head out on your own, know the traffic safety rules in your area. It helps to be extra cautious because you’re a bit more vulnerable and drivers don’t always pay attention. 

Are you ready for more affordable health and fitness tips? Take a look at some additional workout articles on the Frugal Fitness section of our website.

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