How Does Regular Cycling Improve Your Health

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Being physically active is one of the requirements of a fit and healthy body. Exercising and engaging in sports can help prevent diseases such as heart disease, joint problems, obesity, and diabetes.

Cycling is one of the easiest and simplest physical activities you can integrate into your lifestyle to improve your well-being. Making it a habit to ride your bicycle to work or when doing errands lets you hit two birds with one stone: mobility and health. Regular cycling is good for the heart and muscles and can significantly improve your joints and balance.

My mind has an internal dialogue that runs along at the pace of my pedal strokes. I know that I can force myself to do physical work that is past my breaking point, but that it will probably leave me lying on the ground, breathless and unable to move. — Sara Gluck, PhD, LCSW

Physical Benefits Of Cycling         

As an aerobic activity, cycling works out the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Releasing dirt and toxins of the body through perspiring can improve your fitness level. Regular cycling benefits various parts of the body. Unlike intense exercises, cycling is low-impact and causes less strain and injuries.

With that, here is a guide on the physical benefits of regular cycling.

For Building Muscles

Regular cycling increases muscle strength and flexibility. Cycling uses most of the major muscles in the body.

When pedaling down, you use the buttocks muscle, the muscles in the calves, and the quadriceps in the thighs. In contrast, pedaling up or backstroking uses the hamstrings in the back of the thighs while the front hips use the flexor muscles. It also works out the abdominal muscles for balance and staying upright, as well as the arm and shoulder muscles for steering. Hence, cycling can also decrease excess fat on these body parts.

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For Joints

Cycling also improves joint mobility and improves posture and joint coordination. When walking, you put your weight on the legs. When you sit and ride a bike, however, you put your weight on the pelvis, which lessens the joint pains and stiffness of the legs.

For The Bones

Pedaling increases bone density, which results in strengthened and sturdier bones. Pushing the pedals stretches the muscles, and this, in turn, pulls on the bone. Cycling is a good resistance activity to strengthen the bones.

Cardiovascular Fitness

Cycling is one of the best aerobic workouts that improve cardiovascular fitness. It increases stamina and strength. As it is good for the heart, lungs, brain, and blood vessels, it helps prevent and manage different diseases.

An hour on my bike gives me the same aerobic high I used to get from running. And I’ve even lost some of the weight I put on after my knee injury. — David Ludden Ph.D.

Mental Health And Cycling

Studies and researches have shown that regular cycling can help improve mental health conditions such as depression, stress, and anxiety. When biking, you can explore different routes and different places, meet new people, and encounter new experiences. As such, it can significantly affect the mood positively. Hopping on your bike and pedaling can help ease the worries that you have in your mind.

Additionally, the act of cycling, like most aerobic exercises, releases the feel-good chemicals of the body, the endorphins.

Additionally, you can also find guidance in tackling your mental health issues through the BetterHelp app, where experienced therapists and counselors are ready to provide you with a listening ear and credible information on how to maintain emotional and mental wellness. Visit them at their official Facebook page, or learn more about how to get started here.

Improving Health Conditions Through Cycling

Cycling can not only improve physical and mental health, but it can also prevent and improve many health problems.

Obesity

A lot of people turn to bikes to control and take off some weight. Along with a healthy diet, cycling is an excellent physical activity for weight loss as it increases metabolism, burns body fat, and builds muscle.

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Cardiovascular Diseases

These include diseases such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, or asthma. Regular cycling controls your blood fat levels and strengthens your heart muscles.

Diabetes

If not genetics, the lack of physical activity can be the reason why people develop diabetes type 2. Cycling is a good start for people who rarely do any physical activity since it’s easy and convenient.

I would argue that biking is more than just a great physical, easy-on-the-joints, exercise, as it is much more than that. It is an opportunity to awaken your sense of adventure and freedom. — Mirsad Serdarevic Ph.D.

What are you waiting for? Hop on your bike and live a healthy life!

Walk And Talk: Why Psychologists Are Stepping Out Of Their Clinics

We’re starting to see more psychologists and therapists taking their sessions outside. Taking a stroll in the park with their clients is a growing trend in mental health. Experts now call it “walk and talk therapy.” But what’s the reason why this development is gaining popularity? Let’s take a look.

It Helps Them Open Up

If you’ve ever been inside a clinic, you’ll know how confining it can be at times. As warm and friendly as your psychologist may be, the space you’re in can be quite intimidating. Such an environment can make you clam up or closed off. And of course, that’s a big issue when it comes to trying to resolve your problems.

As a growing number of therapy types and practitioners begin to incorporate physical activity into their sessions, therapy meetings of the future may include practice in walking along a straight line, encouraging the body and the mind alike to learn to navigate. — John Smith Ph.D.

Taking their clients out for a walk seems to be an effective way of getting them to be more relaxed. The mere act of being outdoors can mitigate feelings of awkwardness. Most people find it easier to open up when they’re not directly looking at someone. Eye contact can be uncomfortable for a lot of us. Engaging with the environment allows you to let your guard down and talk to your psychologist.

Additionally, the natural environment can help ease your anxiety. The warmth of the sun, the cool breeze, and the soothing bird songs can calm you. All these things combined will make you more likely to be comfortable with discussing what would have been heavy topics.

It Adds In Physical Activity

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Not only does walk and talk therapy help you open up, but it also makes for some exercise. And we’ve all heard how positive physical activity can be for one’s overall health. It has a lot of positive effects on your body, as well as your mind.

Even a short walking session with your psychologist lets you enjoy the benefits of being active. Exercise helps lift your mood, thanks to the endorphins your brain releases while you’re on the go. Even if this is the only time you get to be on your feet, it’s better than being completely sedentary. Participating in this form of therapy can lead you to chose to take more walks of your own.

It’s A Metaphor

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After a session inside a psychologist’s office, it can be easy to associate the place with your problems. Since it seems to be all you talk about in there, why wouldn’t you? But when you take things outside, it can create a metaphorical distance between you and your issues. While you’re still supposed to work on them during your stroll, it doesn’t feel as confining as it used to.

Therapy is not recyclable or repeatable. It needs to spring out of spontaneity. I believe in letting the patient lead, going where the patient goes. — Andrea Rosenhaft LCSW-R

Likewise, the physical act of going forward can be symbolic of moving on. It helps you ease that feeling of being “stuck.” Having your psychologist can make you feel like there’s always someone there as you continue on your journey. Walking then becomes a physical and emotional experience.

It Serves As An Alternative

Not all clients who see a psychologist will respond the same way to a form of therapy or treatment. Different approaches can yield varying results. Some prefer to dive head-on into their problems with talk therapy. Others are uncomfortable with talking and would instead write things down. And there are still those who aren’t quite sure what works for them.

“Walk and talk” gives psychologists another method of understanding their patient. Although still a form of talk therapy, it can make this approach work better. It can encourage the client to participate more and make the session more productive.

It Improves Mindfulness

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Sometimes, we walk away from the couch, thinking that we’ve learned a lot from the session. However, after we’ve gone home, do we apply these learnings and become more aware of ourselves? How mindful have we become from our visit to our doctor?

From what these experts say, a trip outside of the office can help improve their clients’ mindfulness. As you engage all senses during a walk, you become more aware of and live in the present. This experience allows you to better think about what your psychologist is telling you and how you can improve yourself.

Our psychological wellness, or more to the point its opposite, is hardly something that has to be left to chance, to the luck of the draw. — Darcy Lockman Ph.D.

If, however, you prefer to stay at home while tackling your mental health issues, reaching out to BetterHelp is an awesome alternative. This online app gives you the freedom to choose the therapist that can best manage your problems anytime, anywhere. Read some client reviews or watch client testimonials to learn more about it.

 

Summary

It may sound unconventional, but there appear to be advantages to taking a walk with your psychologist.

For one, it makes it easier for you to open up and discuss difficult issues in life. It makes things feel less formal, and the environment can put you at ease. Also, physical activity releases mood-enhancing hormones. Next, stepping out can serve as a symbol of moving on or even just temporarily leaving your problems behind. Additionally, it gives your psychologist another alternative approach to help you with your struggles. And lastly, it improves mindfulness. 

For all these reasons, professionals are considering putting their walking shoes for the benefit of mental wellness.

A Therapist-Approved Bike And Run Program

 

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Are you planning on training for a duathlon or triathlon, or you just want to simply keep that heart of yours fit and healthy? Whatever it is you want to achieve, it is always good to create a suitable training program that includes short and long-term goals yet also enables you to recover from fatigue and attain proper nutrition. Consulting a physician before engaging in any routine is the next step to do. Moreover, you can also find time to have your program assessed by a physical therapist. Even better, ask the therapist to create a plan for you.

 

Your Running Program

If you’re an amateur runner, experts suggest that you hire a personal coach of a physical therapist prior to starting a running routine. This is to make sure that you avoid injury and you have a proper training schedule. Begin with basic runs to evaluate yourself and your latest strength levels and to improve your endurance, running technique, and aerobic capacity. Basic runs are typically short and the natural speed should be used to appropriately assess and improve on your latest fitness level. Other running classifications will eventually be used when your levels have increased for more challenge.

Marathoning signals extraordinary levels of self-sacrifice, dedication, time management, and more. To a large extent, social signaling sits at the core of the psychology of marathon running. — Glenn Geher Ph.D.

Higher running levels can be combined with your basic runs for the whole week to add challenges gradually to your initial running program. With this combination, you begin your run at a neutral speed and then increase it throughout the end of your run.

 

Your Biking Program

Biking is known to provide a range of benefits for our mental and physical health. This includes the prevention of cancer, decreased risk of heart disease, improved fitness levels, decreased risk of hypertension and other blood-related conditions, and improved mood and way of life. With biking, you are encouraged to set short term goals that you are sure to achieve or exceed without too much effort just to keep you determined to move forward.

With biking, you have several options and you can go for one or another substitute to keep your routine fresh and interesting. The various classifications of biking are casual biking, track biking, mountain biking, triathlete biking, and road biking. Of course, most people begin biking casually, in the neighborhoods, parks, or along the streets because this enables them to bike freely and enjoy the view at the same time taking advantage of the benefits. A lot of people simply choose to stay as casual bikers and continue to improve their fitness levels and reap other health benefits even without progressing to another classification.

Drs. Stéphane Brutus and Alexandra Panaccio, and Roshan Javadian, M.Sc., discovered cycling to work is a good way to have a good day. “Employees who cycled to work showed significantly lower levels of stress within the first 45 minutes of work than those who traveled by car,” said Brutus, the lead author. — Rick Nauert PhD

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The Importance Of Hydration And Nutrition

If you are in a training program, it is necessary to make sure that you consuming adequate food that is healthy and contains nutrients that will help you stay strong and resilient. Of equal importance is getting more than enough fluids to prevent weakness and other possible problems such as low sodium and potassium levels and dehydration, particularly if you are into the extreme and lengthy biking competitions.

The building blocks of most, if not all, nutritional plans are carbohydrates and proteins, as these are crucial both for energy and recuperation. About 50% of one’s energy actually comes from carbohydrates. The recommended protein intake generally is around 12% of one’s total daily calorie intake. You can ask your primary physician for the necessary guidelines regarding nutrient and caloric intake, which is based on your recent health stats.

As for hydration, a person is required to drink 200 to 300 ml of fluids 20 minutes prior to exercising. He should also consume up to 600 ml of fluids (water, juice) every two or three hours of physical activity.

Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. — Joshua Gowin Ph.D.

Cycling And Running Program For The Week

If you are committed to doing both running and biking training, you should first do each activity alternately. For example, you can bike on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and then run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This will prevent you from having muscle soreness that will keep you from performing appropriately for a few days. Your body needs time to rest and recuperate. The keys to rest and recuperation are taking a nap when needed, eating the proper food, and getting enough sleep, which is about 8 to 10 hours.

Source: cyclingweekly.com

Short-term recuperation is the period of time that you get for rest following training, and this includes a cool-down stage. Long-term recuperation is something that you will have to learn and work on for the whole year. This may take some weeks wherein low-intensity training with breaks are allowed for full recovery from extreme training.

Aside from a biking program, which is definitely helpful, you may also wish to get help in the comfort of your own home. You can do this by subscribing to the BetterHelp app, and online counseling platform that caters to different people tackling various mental health problems. Watch some success stories here, or learn more about how to get started easily and conveniently.

 

 

5 Best GPS Sports Watches To Help With Your Fitness Activities

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The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a technological and scientific advancement that assists individuals when finding their way towards, say, a family member’s home or a new restaurant in town. It works through a satellite that transmits a signal to a receiver that is attached to a portable device. When you type an address, the information on how to get there will be available within seconds. It’s that easy, yes.

In 2014, fitness tracking devices were a $2 billion industry and they are expected to grow to over $5 billion in 2 years. —

To make matters more evolved, the developers have made it possible to broaden the usefulness of this navigator by creating some of the best GPS sports watches for swimming, marathons, and other fitness activities. Their efforts do not end up futile either as many athletes, old and new, come to realize the benefits that one provides. If you wonder what those may be as well, keep on reading below.

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1. Garmin Forerunner 15 GPS Running Watch (Large, Black/Blue)

When you are in a sporting event that requires you to run and swim for miles, a regular timepiece cannot help you finish the competition. However, the Garmin Forerunner 15 can. The structure of this watch, you see, withstands any weather condition. It also has an integrated system that can guide you in every distance you cover.

It is the best GPS sports watch, in the sense that its LCD – measuring 0.98 x 0.94 in inches – clearly indicates the number of kilometers you have reached, how long it has taken you to do so, and how many calories you have burned. When the GPS is in use, the battery can last for eight hours at maximum, regardless if you are 50 meters deep in the water or not. This small apparatus can stay connected to a footpad or an iOS computer as well.

Pro:

Garmin Forerunner 15 will notify you with a beeping sound or a flashing screen for every mile or kilometer covered.

Con:

Though it only weighs 1.6 ounces, it does not have a compact design.

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2. Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch (Includes Heart Rate Monitor)

Polar V800 has the style and practicality that most triathletes look for in a gadget. With its sleek body and capability to match with various Bluetooth-enabled devices, this watch allows you to keep in touch your activity buddies at all times. It is also suitable for training and actual competitions.

The inbuilt barometer carefully observes the altitude that you are at, while its internal system lets you make different profiles for all the sports you do. The rechargeable battery can last for no more than 14 hours even in the GPS mode. This particular product has an H7 sensor for monitoring your heart rate and pace.

The Gorilla lens placed on top of the Polar V800 GPS Sports Watch ensures that it will remain free from scratches during practice or real races. Moreover, it is waterproof up to 100 feet.

Pro:

The extended battery life entails that you can train or participate in a triathlon with it turned on until the end.

Con:

Android users cannot link it to their smartphones.

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Are they useful? Sure! They are great for those who really have no idea how many calories they are burning during an activity or how many calories are in different foods they are eating. — Mary E. Pritchard Ph.D.

3. Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Sports Watch (Includes Heart Rate Monitor)

Garmin Forerunner 220 is among the best GPS sports watches in the market because of its unique functions and breathable strap design that adhere to the needs of the athletes. This watch is perfect in case you like to keep your friends and family members updated about your current status in an event through social media channels.

It has a timer that you can click on the side when you want to monitor your speed. Even for indoor purposes, the sensors can record your time, pace, heart rate, and distance. The colored LCD has a high resolution for nicer visibility. All the information that registers on the product appears automatically to the Garmin Connect application.

The Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS Sports Watch weighs 1.4 ounces only. The strap is changeable as well.

Pro:

The device encourages you to improve as it keeps track of your previous record and informs you whenever you beat it.

Con:

It offers more internal than external benefits to consumers.

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Source: flickr.com

4. Polar M400 Smart GPS Sports Watch (Includes Heart Monitor)

Whether you prefer to see the best GPS sports watch in black, green, pink, white, red, or blue, the Polar brand has ascertained that you will obtain your heart’s desire through its M400 timepiece. One excellent point about this device is that it is not sports-specific, which means that a swimmer, a runner, or a cyclist has a use for it.

The Polar M400 Smart GPS Sports Watch is a lightweight device at 0.25 ounce. This watch has a Running Index feature which can aid you in observing the fitness of your heart. That enables you to know if your body can still handle the workout. Furthermore, its waterproof functionality makes it an awesome companion for triathlons or swimming competitions. The tracking system can monitor not just your pace but also your sleep quality or physical inactivity.

Pro:

The battery persists for eight hours.

Con:

The display may become unreadable in low light.

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5. Garmin Vívoactive GPS Smartwatch

When it comes to the latest technology, Garmin makes it certain that they are far from the last position. As a GPS timepiece that doubles as a smartwatch, it is highly advantageous for individuals in the sports world to have.

The touchscreen LCD permits you to operate the device even under the sun. At 1.3 ounces, the Garmin Vívoactive GPS Smartwatch completes charging in less than 90 minutes. There are pre-installed applications in it as well that are useful when you are walking, running, golfing, swimming, biking, et cetera. Its built-in Bluetooth technology makes it effortless to receive notifications about texts, calls, or e-mails too. With the GPS tracker on, the battery can last for 10 hours straight.

Pro:

It is compatible with Android- and iOS-powered devices.

Con:

It does not include a sensor for heart-rate monitoring.

Final Thoughts

Each of the products within the list above presents their advantages and disadvantages individually. It is up to you to decide now which one suits your personality and sporting requirements.

Because keeping older adults physically active means that they stay sharper mentally, it doesn’t take a large leap to realize that encouraging structured exercise regimens later in life may be one of the best ways to keep older adults independent longer. — Sian Beilock Ph.D.

Good luck on your fitness journey!

The Four Types Of Walking

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So we walk every day. When we wake up and go to the bathroom, kitchen, and towards the car, we walk. It is a common thing the most of us do aside from talking, and the health benefits of walking, both physically and mentally, are known to us. But did you know that there are four types of walking which you probably don’t notice? Well, not until now, you don’t.

Chun-Yu Kuo and Yei-Yu Yeh had undergraduate students from the National Taiwan University contemplate alternate uses for chopsticks while they walked the perimeter of a 400 x 500 meter rectangular area or wandered freely within the area. They all then had 10 minutes to list out uses, and the free walking group outperformed the rectangle walkers on the task. — Thomas Ward Ph.D.

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Just The Way You Walk: The Meaning Of Your Steps

Walking is a process that involves movement from your head down to your toes, and of course, your brain. Some of your steps are longer than the rest, and the right step may be shorter than the left. Your gait and posture are certainly affected by the quality of your strides, and your pacing might be showing clues about your character and your health condition.

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Most Common Biking Injuries

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Bicycles have been around since the 1800s, and now it is considered as one of the favorite ways that people do to stay active, lose or maintain weight, and keep themselves physically and mentally healthy. Biking is actually an extreme cardiovascular exercise that works on the whole body all at once. It is not surprising that as of today, there are approximately 80 million cyclists in the United States.

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