Healthy Lifestyle

Benefits of Biking

Looking for a new way to get aerobic exercise, but your joints can’t take the pounding?

Riding a bicycle can be a great way to get in that exercise while placing less stress on your hips and knees. Biking is great for moving lots of muscle groups and for burning calories. You can burn roughly 200 calories an hour on a leisurely bike ride, and 450 to 600 calories if you’re biking at a good clip.

What type of bike is best?

There are many types of bikes to choose from, including:

  • Stationary upright
  • Stationary recumbent
  • Upright riding 
  • Recumbent riding 

The most important thing to remember is to pick a bike that's most comfortable for you. Good bikes can be pricey – anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. But less expensive bikes, like those you can find at Wal-Mart or a local garage sale, can work just as effectively. 

Pedaling for success

Whichever style of bike you choose, here are a few important tips to help you get started:

  1. Make sure your seat is at the correct height. When you are at the bottom of a stroke, your knee should still have a slight bend to it.
  2. Always start a new activity with minimal intensity. This means no resistance on a stationary bike, and riding on flat surfaces for a road bike.
  3. Set a time goal that you EVENTUALLY want to achieve. Let’s say your goal is 30 minutes. Make your first ride 10 minutes and then gradually add time until you reach your desired goal.
  4. Take your goal to the next level. Once you've reached your time goal, you can add resistance, change gears or take on hills.

Before you begin any exercise program, talk to your Methodist Physicians Clinic primary care provider.

Read more: 7 Benefits to Riding your Bike

About the Author

Aaron Key, PT, DPT, is dedicated to patient health, and is always looking for ways to be a better clinician. He loves sharing his knowledge with people, especially people physically struggling with injuries. His mission is to help people with debilitating conditions return to their normal function. 

Today, Aaron is a physical therapist at Methodist Physicians Clinic.

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