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Fitness:  Cycling, Spinning and Proper Form

A cycling or spinning fitness program can give you great benefits for your health as well as great "side effects" of burning fat and excess calories, whether you choose outdoor or indoor cycling as part of your fitness regimen.

Should you choose to cycle outdoors, you are setting yourself up for a great way of appreciating your surroundings. It can be a great way for you to get even more acquainted to your own town, or it could also be a means for you to explore other places that you have not yet seen. If you choose to cycle indoors, then you give yourself a good way to avoid becoming a couch potato. You would also have a way to exercise while doing some of your favorite indoor activities such as watching the TV or listening to the radio. You can even have fun with others by joining a spinning class.

Bicycle riding on roads or trails

Biking Your Way to Health - Setting Up Your Cycling Program
Along with checking with your physician, you should then decide what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to gain endurance? Or do you want to just enjoy? Set a target such as weight-loss margin you want to reach, or a particular duration you would want to achieve. Mark your progress, and see how near or far you are from reaching your goal. Once you achieve your aim, you could set a higher standard to take yourself as far as you can.

Set a particular schedule for your program, and make a vow to stick to it. Allot a specific time in your day or week when you would cycle. Soon enough, cycling would become one habit you could not live without just like brushing or bathing.

You should also add muscle strength training to your cycling fitness regimen. You need to make sure that your muscles are strong enough to withstand the rigors of biking.

Consider is your diet. Your current eating habits might not provide you with the right nutrients needed for doing something strenuous like cycling. You need the right kind of food to give you the energy for cycling. You could benefit from checking out diet plans on the internet that are specifically made for cycling.

Set up your bike
First, be sure that your bike’s handlebars are positioned comfortably. They should not be too far for your to reach while your seated on the bike, and at the same time, they should not be too near that your knees are hitting them.

Second, make sure that your seat is on a comfortable height. Set it up so that it is hip-high when you stand beside your bike. Always check yourself if you feel comfortable while biking, and then adjust accordingly when needed.

Third, when cycling indoors, be sure to secure your foot to the pedal straps. You would not want your feet to fly off as you pick up speed while cycling.

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The Right and Wrong Way to Cycle

As in any sport or exercise, there are right and wrong ways to do cycling and spinning. Of course you would want to do it the right way because improper cycling could lead to injuries.

The Head
Wrong Way: Locking your head in one, stiff position.

Keeping your head stiff and locked in a certain position would not only make you look like a statue, but could also strain your neck muscles. Your facial muscles should also not be tensed and your jaws should not be clinched too tightly as that would make it hard for you to breath properly.

Right Way: Keep your head relaxed and in a neutral stance. Not only will this be more comfortable, it will also allow you to breath steadily and gain more control of your body. You can wear sunglasses if the sun makes you squint excessively.

The Arms and the Hands
Wrong Way: Gripping tightly on the handlebars and keeping arms as stiff as a pole

Of course, you would not want to get off your bike and fly away, but you should not grip too tightly as this will cause your hands and arms to tense and strain, which could make you lose control of your ride. Stiffening your arms also makes it difficult for you to turn well especially on times that you have to turn quickly.

Right Way: Relax your hands and arms as you hold on the handles. If you find your self rather tensed, you might tap your fingers from time to time, or shift the position of your thumbs.

The Upper Body
Wrong Way: Moving from side to side

Sometimes, when you get excited with your ride, you tend to get giddy and keep on moving from side to side. This unnecessary movement just wastes your energy, and could destroy your balance. Unnecessary upper body movement could also hinder you from having a smooth cycle. You might need to move side-to-side when you are climbing uphill, but for most rides in plain roads, you should be relaxed and avoid pointless gestures.

Right Way: As with most of your entire body, your upper body should be very relaxed when you cycle. As a point of reference, try keeping a straight line as you ride. There should be no tension from your wait up. This will help you keep focus and save energy, allowing you to cycle more and enjoy more. You could also try riding in the morning towards the west, away from the sun so that you cast a shadow in front of you. Check your shadow if you do unneeded body movements, and just correct yourself until you make it a habit to ride smoothly.

The Knees
Wrong Way: Cycling with knees wide open

Not only is it awkward to cycle with your knees in a frog position, it also creates wind resistance that could slow you down or even hurt you. Another thing bad when your knees are positioned away from you body is it will make your pedaling less efficient. You need to direct all your lower-body energy downward, and having your legs spread apart would not allow you to do so.

Right Way: You should tuck your knees in when you cycle. This will eliminate wind resistance and would help you have a smoother ride. This also allows for greater power while pedaling. When you observe athletic cyclists, you would usually see that they keep their knees tucked.

The Pedals
Wrong Way: Pedaling in a circle.

The seemingly common sense advice of pedaling in circle is not at all the best way to make your bike running. Doing so is actually counter productive, if not impractical.

Right Way: The pedaling action is actual more downward and upward instead of circular. On your down stroke, you need to somewhat push down, but of course following the contour of the axle. Upwards, you do it is if you are removing mud from your shoe. This provides you with smoother transition as you do your up and down strokes.

NEXT: Warm-ups, cross-training and progress

Running or Walking

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