How to increase fitness with cycling training

Effective sport
How to increase fitness with cycling training

Cycling boosts fitness and psyche: There is hardly any sport that benefits body and mind as much as optimal cycling training. This overview shows you how to do it.

Fitter, stronger, smarter: There is hardly a healthier endurance sport than cycling – say cycling enthusiasts and experts. We provide tips on training and cadence – for beginners and experienced users.

Why is cycling so healthy?

The WHO – the World Health Organization – repeatedly emphasizes how good cycling is for fitness. Cycling is the “all-round package,” says Ingo Froboese from the Center for Health through Sport and Exercise at the University of Cologne. Anyone who pedals regularly is good not only for their body but also for their psyche.

“Within the first five minutes in the saddle, the blood flow increases. We immediately have increased energy consumption and thus increased metabolic activity,” says the sports professor. The muscles are strengthened and the immune system is optimized.

There is also a social element that should not be underestimated. You can cycle with colleagues, friends and family.

shortly said: Those who cycle regularly are stronger and fitter. Cyclists who stay in the saddle all year round rarely get colds and get sick less often.

“Hardly any other sport improves physical fitness as effectively as cycling,” reports the German Society for Sports Medicine and Prevention (DGSP).

Why is cycling the ideal sport for everyone?

The secret behind the success of cycling would be unthinkable without one component: the saddle. About 60 to 70 percent of your body weight is supported by the saddle. This protects the joints and no one overtrains so easily. The threshold for overweight people to play sports for whom jogging would not be an option is also lower.

3 argumentswhy the sport suits everyone:

  • Cycling is uncomplicated, “an activity that anyone can perform once they have learned it,” says sports researcher Froboese. For comparison: jogging, another widespread endurance sport, is technically more demanding due to the special running technique.
  • Cyclists are more flexible when it comes to exercise than people who play team sports, for example.
  • It does not matter how old you are: “Cycling is suitable for all ages,” says Professor Rüdiger Reer, Secretary General of the DGSP.

How to increase fitness with cycling training

Photo: Tobias Hase / dpa-tmn

What should you be aware of when doing cycling training?

5 tips to make your training successful and effective:

  • Endurance: Rolling comfortably to the baker every day certainly does not make you unfit, but you can hardly expect lasting training effects. To do this, you must regularly step heavily on the pedals – the breathing and heart rate must increase significantly. Tip: If you have just started on a bike, three units a week of 20 to 40 minutes is sufficient.
  • Frequency: Experts like Ingo Froboese recommend a cadence of 60 to 80 crankshaft revolutions per minute for motivated beginners. You can determine this with the help of a cycling computer. To do this, network it with a cadence sensor on the crank. As you gradually get fitter, you can increase your cadence to 100. This results in additional training effects. Tip: The same goes for interval training – so do intermediate sprints from time to time.
  • Energy: Do not overdo it – “While cycling, you should be able to talk easily without getting short of breath,” advises Dr. Reer. Otherwise there is a risk of overload.
  • Pulse: “When I stop, my heart rate should not be higher than 180 minus my age, but at least 100 beats,” says Prof. Froboese as a rule of thumb. Tip: You can easily monitor this with a wrist fitness tracker or a chest strap that you connect to a smartphone or cycling computer via Bluetooth.
  • led: Be careful with high gears: “To protect your joints, you should choose a light gear and pedal continuously,” advises Reer. Because if the gear ratio is too high, it can become a stress test that results in knee joint pain and rapid muscle fatigue. “Lots of exercise, a little stress” is the motto.

Cycling in everyday life – how useful is a training plan?

Cycling fits perfectly into the modern, sometimes hectic life. “Unlike a sports club or gym, cycling is easy to integrate into everyday work or family life,” said DGSP Secretary General Reer.

Tip: If you do not have time, you can, for example, commute to work by bike and the training unit for the day is already finished. You do not necessarily need a training plan like a professional. Marking fixed weekdays or vacancies in the calendar for the afterwork round can be disciplining.

The basic rule is: Stick around! Because if you do not cycle regularly and for a long time, you risk losing the training effects. To get noticeably fitter by switching to a bike, you should endure for at least six weeks – and keep going.

Tip: Multiple shorter routes often bring more than long distances at once. You should also give your entire body a 48-hour break to regenerate after a workout.

How to increase fitness with cycling training

Photo: Tobias Hase / dpa-tmn

What health effects do you get from cycling?

This endurance sport not only strengthens the cardiovascular system and muscles, but cycling also prevents many typical diseases of civilization, writes DGSP – e.g.

  • High blood pressure – blood vessels remain elastic due to stress
  • Osteoarthritis – joints are ideally cared for
  • Stroke and atherosclerosis – through better blood supply
  • Breast, colon, prostate and many other cancers through general strengthening of the immune system and because the functionality of the organs is optimized.

Cycling reduces the risk

  • a heart attack
  • develops diabetes because it has a positive effect on sugar metabolism
  • a lipid metabolism disorder (hypercholesterolemia) because it improves lipid metabolism
  • Being overweight because built muscle requires more energy, even at rest
  • And it can relieve asthma because the lungs are better ventilated and the exchange of oxygen is better.

Does cycling make you happier and wiser?

Yes, says Professor Reer. Because it not only ensures that so-called happiness hormones are released: “Cycling also increases the ability to concentrate and makes you smarter. Improved cerebral blood flow, an increase in brain neuroplasticity and a beneficial change in neurotransmitters in the brain have been documented as mechanisms. “

Does cycling prolong my life?

Cycling makes the heart muscle stronger, and pumps more blood through the body with each stroke. “The heart gets more displacement,” says sports professor Froboese. “If I permanently reduce my heart rate by an average of ten beats per minute, then I save a year of heart work in six years.”

How to increase fitness with cycling training

Photo: Tobias Hase / dpa-tmn

A life-prolonging effect this year can not be quantified, but long-term cyclists can count on a longer heart function.

How much can I lose by cycling?

Because you do not automatically exert yourself as much as you do when you jog, the direct effect of losing weight is less – but there is a positive but.

The overview shows the energy consumption (calories per hour) for a person who weighs 70 kilos compared to other endurance sports (source: Techniker Krankenkasse):

  • Cycling, 8 to 12 kilometers, 260 kilocalories per hour
  • Hiking on level to hilly terrain 320 kilocalories
  • Cycling, 15 to 18 kilometers, 400 kilocalories per hour
  • Medium tempo breaststroke or freestyle swimming 480 kilocalories
  • Jogging, 12 kilometers per hour 840 kilocalories

Basically: The longer and harder you stay in the saddle, the more calories you burn. If you stay in the saddle for an hour, you will burn between 200 and 800 kilocalories (Kcal), depending on your speed, age and body weight.

But: Because you also build muscle through cycling, this also has a positive effect on weight loss. The good news: If you run regularly, the number of mitochondria in the muscle cells increases. These “power plants” increase energy consumption, even when the body is at rest. So the real effect is to change the body so that I burn more calories, even when I am not cycling, ”says Froboese.

Tip: Bite and endurance are therefore required – the organism is trained to access fat reserves as an energy source.

What muscles are trained when cycling?

There is no doubt that cycling builds muscle. Just think of the typical cyclist’s leg – whether in the Tour de France broadcasts or in amateur athletes.

Stick to it and you too will soon have shapely legs. Because cycling actively trains these muscle groups:

  • calf muscles
  • thigh muscles
  • glutes

Muscles on:

  • upper and forearms
  • also shoulders
  • on the upper and lower back

This means that almost all muscle groups in the body are more or less involved in the movement process when cycling.

How to increase fitness with cycling training

Photo: Tobias Hase / dpa-tmn

Tips for regeneration: After the ride, you should stretch regularly – especially the front parts of the thighs. This does not have to happen every time, but it does work as a little wellness cure.

The exercise is very simple: Stand on your right leg, bend your left leg backwards and pull it up to the bottom with your left hand, and hold. Then it’s the other side’s turn.

Many cyclists forget this: Continuing education is a must. “Professionals do it, amateurs often forget it,” says sports researcher Froboese. Above all, you should train the muscle groups in the upper arms, back and shoulders to prevent tension.

Food & beverage: what to pack for the next trip?

Some tips on what not to miss on the next bike ride.

First basic rule: “The water tank must be full,” says Froboese. Then drink a large glass of water – preferably lukewarm – before the bike ride starts. Within the first two hours, water is sufficient as food, sports doctors say.

Energy shot: For longer trips, you need to add carbohydrates to the body – bananas, for example, provide energy. If you are more ambitious about cycling, you can also use concentrated power gels. Many bicycle dealers have them in different flavors in their range. Such gels are often enriched with sodium – important to compensate for mineral loss through sweat.

Tip: Isotonic drinks or sodium powder in a drinking bottle have a similar effect.

Power Food: Even more important is the right diet after exercise – otherwise you risk losing the exercise effect, and asceticism is not healthy either.

To start the building process in the body and its regeneration, it is best to provide yourself with a combination of carbohydrates and protein, advises Froboese. Low-fat quark with fresh fruit or eggs with bread are good combinations to give the body the building materials it needs.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210610-99-941211 / 39


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