You don’t have to be Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong to enjoy the benefits of biking. Your legs are a big muscle group and riding a bike is excellent exercise for the lower body without being too hard on the joints. Biking also gives you a good Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) cardiovascular workout.
Don’t forget to consult a doctor before starting any new exercise regime. If you’re new to biking, remember to take things easy at first. Your knees can suffer, for example, if the resistance of the pedals is too high, so learn how to use the gears to moderate pedal resistance. Start out by riding at the kind of pace that would allow you to have a conversation with a friend riding beside you.
Try to cycle for 10-20 minutes per session to begin with, slowly increasing your distance by about 10% each week. Don’t go from 5 miles to 50 overnight!
Read-up on your city’s cycle lanes and find parks with cycle paths. Early morning is a good time to go for a ride on roads because the traffic is much lighter. Avoid riding at dawn or dusk because the sun is low on the horizon and some people are still sleepy from just waking up or tired from being at work all day, so their visual ability is impaired.
Vary your route, pace and time. Advanced cyclists alternate between “hard” and “easy” days, long distances and short ones. Once a week, they do intervals — in other words, ride very fast for several minutes, cruise, then ride fast again. Indoor bikes at local gyms also offer interval programs and other exercise challenges.
Suggestions for attire for outdoor riding:
- A helmet which should be light, padded and ventilated and sit snugly on your head. Always wear your helmet every time you go biking to protect against head injuries.
- Padded shorts to cushion your ride. Stretchy material lets you move more freely.
- Shoes with rigid soles, preferably with cleats that clip onto the pedals, so you can easily push them up or down.
- Wraparound sunglasses to keep bugs out of your eyes.
- Bright, reflective clothing to make you more visible to motorists.
- Biking gloves with padded palms which will allow you to grip the handlebar better.
Bikes come in different shapes and sizes. The right kind for you depends on what you intend to do with it.
- Comfort bikes aren’t fast but they are easy to ride and great for bike paths and family outings.
- Touring bikes are good for cross-country biking. The tires are wider and more comfortable when you travel over concrete, grass and dirt.
- Road bikes are the fastest, as long as you’re riding on a paved surface. They have lighter frames and narrower tires, and are good for racing or riding over long distances.
- Mountain bikes are designed for off-road riding on dirt trails and through the woods. Tires are wider for added traction and the bikes are light, with good suspension for climbing.
- Hybrid bikes are a cross between mountain and road bikes – they’re perfect for city riding.
- Stationary bikes let you sit either upright or reclined, pedaling with legs in front. They offer resistance using a flywheel or fan system. In addition, they can monitor distance and heart rate, as well as let you pedal backward.
Regular exercise and a balanced, nutritious PCOS diet are crucial components of weight loss because they can help reverse the symptoms of Insulin Resistance. This condition is an imbalance of glucose and insulin in the blood stream which, if left unchecked, may lead to obesity and the cluster of cardiovascular diseases called Metabolic Syndrome.
Insulin Resistance can also be an underlying cause of the hormonal imbalance known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of female infertility, as well as Pre-Diabetes, a reversible condition, which, if neglected, may lead to irreversible Type II Diabetes. All Insulin Resistance-related disorders are increased risk factors for heart attacks and stroke.