Each year, Iowans celebrate RAGBRAI in July. Iowa cities and towns hold mini festivals for the bicycle riders—complete with food stands, entertainment, and displays of Iowa culture. However, the focus is still on the cyclists.
Live longer by bicycling. Getting 30 minutes of physical activity daily contributes to longevity. By making physical activity a regular habit, one can greatly reduce blood pressure, control blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels, and prevent sarcopenia (muscle wasting) in older age.
Bicycling is ideal for any fitness level, and there are different types of bikes to fit one’s style (road, mountain, and hybrid). Has it been several years since you enjoyed this activity? The American College of Sports Medicine provides recommendations for beginning a bicycling routine. You can also order a map of bike trails through the Iowa DOT.
Bicycling increases one’s physical activity and can reduce weight. In addition, cycling has been shown to have a positive effect on emotional health. It can improve levels of well-being, self-confidence, and stress while reducing tiredness and sleep difficulties. As the weather continues to improve, enjoy the outdoors on your bike. The Iowa DOT’s “Bikes HomePage” provides an interactive map showing the surface type and length of various bike trails at http://bit.ly/1PHCj9B.
If you want to know how many calories you burned on your bike ride, check out the “MapMyRide” calculator or find out information on how to download the “MapMyRide” app at www.mapmyride.com/improve/calorie_calculator/.
You hear about “going green” in your daily life and reducing your carbon footprint. One way for you to get a little greener is to ride a bike. May is National Bike Month. This is a great excuse to get off your couch or from behind the wheels of your car and enjoy the thrill and fun of riding a bike.
Cycling isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for you. Casual pedaling burns about 500 calories per hour (for a 150-pound person), all while enjoying the fresh air and sunshine of spring and making some extra Vitamin D for your bones.
Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet, adjust the bicycle to fit, check the tires and brakes, and be sure to wear white or bright colored clothing so other riders and drivers can see you while having fun this summer on your bike.
Get the whole family involved and ride this May.
Training for a triathlon is one way to add variety to your workout routine. A triathlon consists of swimming, biking, and running. You don’t have to be a star athlete; triathlons come in all shapes and sizes, from the sprint-distance triathlon to the Ironman distance. If you’re motivated and do the training, you can cross the finish line.
There are many small, local sprint-distance triathlons that are great for your first experience. Contact a local sporting goods store or running club to see if they have a list of races in your area. If you don’t want to complete the entire race, organize a relay.
For more information about triathlons, visit BeginnerTriathlete.com. For more information about sports nutrition, visit ISU Extension’s Eat to Compete Sports Nutrition website.