There’s no need to exclusively cycle for exercise. Biking to work is a great way to burn some calories and reduce your impact on the environment, but your commute might become lengthy if you aren’t careful. No one wants to get to work drenched in sweat and completely exhausted from their commute. Here are a few simple tips and tactics that you can use to increase your cycling speed and minimize your commute time.
One of the most effective ways to become a faster cyclist is to cross-train a few times a week. Riding your bicycle every day is going to strengthen your legs and improve your cardiovascular health, but you must train all of your major muscle groups if you want to be a better rider. Some of the best cross-training options for cyclists include hiking, lifting weights, swimming, and yoga.
2. Improve Your Diet
You are probably burning quite a few calories on your commute, and you aren’t going to become a faster rider unless you properly fuel your body. As a general rule, most of your diet should be comprised of complex carbohydrates, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats. Those three macronutrients are going to give you energy on your commutes and allow your muscles to repair themselves after heavy workouts. You must also limit your intake of simple carbohydrates, processed sweeteners, and other empty calories.
3. Upgrade Your Bicycle
There may come a point when your bicycle is holding you back, and upgrading to a new ride could make a huge difference. Many reputable companies are now selling custom cycling kits. With the proper bicycle, you are going to waste less energy and reduce your risk of an unnecessary injury. While the right bike will reduce your risk of injury, remember to wear safety equipment as well. Helmets, gloves, and reflective clothing will all help to keep you safe while cycling, especially on busy roads. Some custom bicycles also come with useful features like GPS trackers and phone mounts.
4. Don’t Forget to Rest
No matter how hard you train, your body won’t be able to recover if you aren’t getting plenty of rest. While everyone has different needs, most active individuals need to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night. The best way to improve your sleep cycle is to come up with a strict bedtime routine that you follow every night. You can also limit your intake of caffeine later on in the day.
In addition to these four tips, you must also tune-up your bicycle a few times a year. If you are riding your bicycle to work every day, then you might need to have it serviced by an experienced bike mechanic as often as once every three or four months.
Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, CO and often writes about health, business, family, and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg .