Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
October 10, 2019
As we know it, the world is full of different modes of transportation. We are definitely stuck on the idea of vehicles, and our car crazy culture indicates this as much. People still love the old car shows, and men in the later years start purchasing old cars of their youth to rekindle something inside them. I see it all the time, with my favorite moment being a caravan of old guys driving little european cars out on the backroads of New Mexico. It was weird, seeing little Fiats and Porsche Spiders and Mini Coopers in the middle of nowhere while me and my uncle were driving this massive truck. Needless to say, this is something that is rather rampant in the US, mainly due to the lack of viable public transportation in many areas and the fact certain areas of the country you need to frequently get a car due to the destruction of the elements. That’s what makes Arizona somewhat unique. With our dry climate and relatively consistent weather patterns, there is one group of people that love visiting here….cyclists. Sometimes they have some massive groups congregating on certain roads on the far west and east sides of town. Tucson built a huge walking path to really benefit the movement of cycling in the city. Ironically, Tucson used to be in the top ten for most dangerous cycling cities. This is mainly due to the lack of biking amenities and the influx of a lot of terrible drivers in Tucson. Anyway, we have a pretty good reputation now, if not mainly because we have fallen off the radar and are now just a “gem” for cyclists. But hey, Lance Armstrong’s last stand was in Tucson when he tried his ill conceived comeback and realized he would have to start doping again to compete!
That leads to the other side of the coin for cycling, which is without question the dirtiest and most drug riddled sport on the planet. I won’t go beyond that. In our continuing series about movement based fitness, cycling is one that is kind of in this strange zone. On one hand, it is great for movement and casual exercise, but it can also double as a great mode of transportation. The reason why I mentioned cycling is the fact it can be an expensive hobby to get into, but then again we will focus on that a little later. So, where to begin with the benefits of cycling? https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/latest-news/benefits-of-cycling-334144
We shall start with the primary reasons, which is pretty typical of all fitness regimes. It gets you moving and it helps you lose a lot of weight. And I mean a lot. Now you don’t have to go all balls to the wall here and cycle everywhere, but you can get that weight loss campaign into overdrive. Think of it this way….it takes 3,000 calories of expended energy to lose a pound (on average). If you blow up 500 calories every time you go cycling, the lost poundage can really add up. Do it every day and that is 15,000 calories a month, which means you lost five pounds off the bat. Let’s not forget what this can also do for your metabolism. With your body being put to more use, your resting caloric burn will increase and thus just from doing regular stuff, your body will continue to blow up the calories. Now this is something that can happen with any type of fitness regime, so just keep that in mind. Also, if you just sit down all day at work, then the results are going to vary. Anyway, the caloric burn is really not the only reason to do this.
Cycling actually does quite a number on several of your body parts, namely your core and shoulders. https://billbonebikelaw.com/news-from-the-road/muscle-groups-targeted-cycling/ Now you might think cycling will benefit your legs and such, but boy are you incorrect on that assumption! Think about cycling truly is besides pumping your legs. You really have to maintain an upright position with a machine that has maybe a inch of width hitting the ground. Think of all the control you have to partake in. You need your shoulders to control the straight line and turn movement. You need to shift and balance your body in ways to keep the bike from toppling over. You need to keep your back straight to prevent resistance. All of these things require a lot of work to maintain. You are working your body in ways you never thought. Besides just building the strength and flexibility in your legs, you are promoting a full body workout that requires you to constantly make adjustments….all the while getting a sick caloric burn. And then you have the other sides of the coin, such as mental acuity. Your mind is working over drive to maintain focus, and this is something you definitely need in this world of vegging out and relaxing. Along with the excess of oxygen in your brain, you are really aiding your brain health by keeping it active and healthy. Sure, the bike is not going to work your shoulders as well as an overhead press, but it will definitely make you stronger and more balanced.
The other part people rarely think about for cycling is what it can do for your core muscle groups. During one bike ride, you are working your gluteal muscle groups, which is turn are crucial to your everyday walking and movement. Less known however, is the fact you are also working your stomach muscles. In order to maintain balance, much of the time you really have to work the abdominal region, primarily to maintain balance but to also relieve a little stress from the back. Not only are you working the abdominal muscles, you are working the lower back muscles. All the while you are also strengthening your hip flexors, which ultimately become a little problematic without proper foundation work. Throw in some better lung capacity thanks to the difficult work of cycling, and you have a pretty good workout.
Some people are going to talk some nonsense to you, like saying you will get a face full of fumes due to biking. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/13/cyclists-exposed-to-less-air-pollution-than-drivers-on-congested-routes-study Some new studies indicate that is not the case, especially during rush hour traffic where the exposure is worse for a car than it is for a bicycle. And if you live in a more bicycle friendly city (or California for that matter), you will have many designated bike paths that can allow you to miss rush hour traffic completely. Then you have people that state bike riding can be expensive. Well, sure it can be if you are looking go pro. But most people use it for fun or transportation. And then you have people that say you will mess your body up. The only thing you really need to do with cycling is make sure your have a comfy seat and also get a bike that is sized properly for you. For a 6-3 behemoth like myself, a bike with a frame bigger than 19 inches would be just fine for me.
Either way, never let the expense of something deter you from keeping your body moving. Just think of all the costs later down the line you will accrue if you don’t. Somethings ponder indeed.
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.