Spring has finally arrived, which means you’re probably struggling to choose between spending time in the beautiful weather and your date with the spin bike.
Here’s an idea: skip the class, grab your bike and head outdoors. Don’t have one? No problem: rent one.
My Mom and I did just that a few weeks ago—and it was awesome. I hadn’t been on an actual bicycle (meaning one that can actually take you places) in years. Honestly, I wasn’t so sure I could still bike!
We rented bikes from Skate Escape across the street from Piedmont Park. While it took me a few minutes to find my balance and get moving, it was a blast—and a great workout.
Here are five reasons you should ditch your next spin class for the real deal:
1. Blast calories
Biking burns mega calories. According to MyFitnessPal, a 130-pound person biking at a leisurely pace burns 272 calories in an hour. Bump that up to just 12-14 mph and you’re looking at 544 calories.
2. Easy on the joints
Running and even walking can take a real toll on your joints. Cycling is a low-impact way to exercise, and offers serious relief for your joints.
3. Get killer legs
Bicycling works the gluteal muscles, quads, hamstrings and calves (aka all the muscles you want to show off in your sun dress this summer). Strengthen your quads by heading to a hilly area and conquering some of the toughest hills. Your glutes will get a workout when you’re standing and pumping your way to the top. If you want to engage all of the leg muscles, work on picking up the pace.
4. Stress less
Research shows that exercising outdoors has multiple health benefits, including stress reduction. A study conducted in the UK compared a group walking in a park to a group walking in a mall. After walking in the park, 71% of participants reported feeling less tense, compared to less than 50% of mall walkers.
5. Beat boredom
Peddling on a stationary bike for an hour or running 10 miles on a treadmill can get extremely boring. It doesn’t matter how good of a playlist you have—you’re not going anywhere or seeing anything new. Beat workout boredom on a bike. Take a scenic route, explore your local park, or head to a new area altogether. Just make sure you stay focused on the road too—you don’t want to get hurt!