The Cycle of Life

Posted by in Healthy Living on March 7, 2015 Comments off

Biking(1)Every year, the spring thaw brings new growth, summer’s heat brings abundant fruits, autumn brings a last gasp of color, and winter brings stillness.

Like other living things, it’s easy for us to fall into that cycle, too.  In cooler weather, we slow down, longing for fleece and slippers, and comfort foods.

But there’s no reason you can’t stay active—and every reason you should. Dr. Gabe Merkin says that, while you do burn more calories in the warm weather, it shouldn’t deter you from exercising in the cold:  “Staying in shape is a year-round proposition.”1

Before you head out on the bike trail, you’ll want to brush up on few rules of the road, and make sure your bike fits and is functional.

Geared to Go

If it’s 40°, don’t dress too warmly!  A lightweight, windbreaker over a long-sleeved shirt, with a moisture-wicking layer next to your skin will do the trick.  Comfortable, close-fitting pants are best, with bike shorts beneath, if you want some padding.  And don’t forget your helmet!  But that vented plastic cap won’t keep the air from chilling your head; wear a headband under it.  Full-fingered gloves are essential when it’s cold to keep your fingertips agile—handy when changing gears.  Finally, don’t forget to equip your bike with reflectors.   You’ll need lights, too, for dawn or dusk rides.

Happy Trails

Choose your route where there’s the least amount of traffic.  Even better: find paved or dirt paths specifically dedicated to cyclists and joggers, which usually run through scenic areas.  If you must share the road with automobiles, brush up on your hand signals, follow the same rules (that means stopping for red lights and stop signs), and always ride with traffic, not against it.

Safe Riding

  • Leave the headphones home.  They can drown out important sounds—and are even against the laws in some areas. Listen, instead, to the sounds of nature or your riding companion.
  • Fit your ride.  Take the few extra minutes to be sure your seat is comfortable—and a comfortable height.  Gel or sheepskin covers can keep you from saddle soreness.  Your leg should be only slightly bent at the full extension to keep from putting too much pressure on your knees.
  • Pump your brakes.  Don’t ride them down a hill; you could blow out your tires.
  • Change position.  Don’t keep your body in one spot for two long; it could cause extra soreness.

For more tips, visit: http://www.wellnessletter.com/html/fw/fwFit06Cycling.html

Find some popular foliage-viewing routes here: http://www.bicycling.com/ride-maps/featured-rides/fall-foliage-bike-routes

1http://www.drmirkin.com/public/Ezine030605.html