Getting Back in the Saddle
With many people opting to take a ‘staycation’ this summer, now is the perfect opportunity to take up a healthy hobby by getting out and about on your bike, leaving the car behind to have fun in the sun and explore the great British countryside.
Cycling is such a feel-good form of exercise and it’s a great way to get more active for people of all fitness levels and differing ages. With cycling, you can choose whether you exercise with family, friends or simply go it alone.
Once in the saddle, you’re firmly in control as you decide how gentle or challenging the workout is going to be and how much pedal power you choose to use. It has the added benefit of being an exercise you can do at a time to suit you, right from your doorstep. And there’s no need to visit a specific venue at an appointed time – it’s your call.
Of course, regular cycling can help with both your physical and mental health – it’s also a proven stress buster. While the potential benefits of regular cycling are many and varied, just a consistent two to four hours every week can have a beneficial effect on your health.
Here are some helpful pointers for anyone thinking of taking up cycling:
i) Decide on the type of cycling you want to get involved in from the outset. For most of us it’s a leisurely hour or two cycling with the family at weekends or maybe as a healthy (and environmentally-friendly) way of getting around, picking up items from the local shops etc.
ii) If you’re starting cycling, we recommend you choose a good cycle dealership with cycling specialists who know a lot about the sector. Rely on your dealer for advice on the type of bike for your needs. Many dealers will be happy to let you go on a test ride to make absolutely sure it’s the bike for you. For example, Raleigh Select dealers offer a ‘See, Try, Buy’ service, which includes an opportunity for customers to take bikes out on a test ride. Visit raleigh.co.uk for details of your nearest Raleigh Select dealer.
iii) Ensure you choose the right size bike for you – this helps with safety, comfort and performance. As well as helping you in selecting the cycle type and brand, your dealer should be able to help with choosing the correct size bike for you.
iv) Take it easy; don’t overdo it to start with and set your own pace. Half-hour sessions are probably a good starting point to get your muscles used to the unaccustomed exercise and build your confidence too – then you can take it from there. As with all forms of exercise, if you’ve not been active for some time then your muscles could ache a little at first, but they should be fine in no time at all as you get back into pedalling! You can start out at a low intensity, but if you choose to up the game a little further down the line you can develop your cycling regime into quite a testing workout!
Nowadays many adults enjoy taking part in a cyclist ‘returners’ course, such as the popular Bike Right courses for absolute beginners through to experienced riders, visit bikeright.co.uk to find out more.