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Is Road Cycling Good Exercise? | A Complete Guide (2021)

Is road cycling good exercise?

Road cycling is a great form of exercise that can burn many calories and give you an excellent workout.

It has also been seen to have a number of health benefits for the cardiovascular system. If road cycling is done in moderation, it should be an enjoyable activity that you can stick to over the long term.

Road cycling will give you a workout that is lower in intensity than that of jogging or other high-impact aerobic activities. But it can still be an excellent way to get your heart pumping and burn calories.

While road cycling, most people are at 50 to 75 percent of their maximum heart rate, with experienced riders getting up to 85 percent of their maximum heart rate. This puts road cyclists at about the same exercise intensity as casual joggers.

In both activities, you can build cardiovascular fitness without straining your knees and joints by running on the pavement all the time.

Is road cycling dangerous?

The answer is yes, road cycling can be dangerous. You are riding a bicycle on the same road as cars and other motor vehicles that are many times heavier than your bicycle and you.

If you happen to crash into one of those motor vehicles, it only takes a low impact for your body to receive serious injuries or even death.

The percentage of cyclists who suffer these injuries is extremely high in comparison with other sports – both per number of participants and in absolute numbers. According to an American study from 2006, 1 out of every 4 000 hours spent by cyclists riding their bicycles results in an injury.

Road Cycling

Is road cycling bad for your back?

One of the most common kinds of pain cyclists experience is low back pain. This type of pain leaves many riders wondering:

“What is going on with my back? How can I fix it?” In fact, some people make huge changes in their cycling lives by simply looking for a cause and an effect to the problem. So, let’s go over the top four causes of low back pain for cyclists.

1) Lack of Core Strength – Cyclists often perform a majority of their miles while riding in the saddle (at least until you get really good).

After hours and hours in this position, over time it weakens your hip flexors, lower back extensors, abdominals, obliques, glutes. you get the point. We like to call this complicated group of muscles your “core.”

Your core is a powerhouse of strength and stability that runs through your entire body and needs to be strong and balanced for efficient cycling form, power, speed, endurance, and durability. You can’t get these things without a good score!

2) Low Handlebars – The low handlebar position is well known for causing back pain in cyclists. This usually occurs from either putting too much weight on the hands or bearing weight through the elbows instead of keeping the shoulders down on top of the bars.

Either way, you look at it, more weight goes up toward your head (where it doesn’t belong) versus going down the pedals where you want it.

This causes an over-arching of the back (known as hyperlordosis) which is a very common cause of low back pain. Often, this can be fixed with simple changes like raising the handlebars and bar-ends or taking some pressure off your hands by using gloves or grips.

One thing to note though: If you’re getting elbow pain from too much weight going into your arms, then check out our guide on how to fix that here!

3) Butt Wink – Most cyclists are familiar with “butt wink.” It’s when your pelvis tucks under at the bottom of each pedal stroke.

Over time, this motion can create problems up and down the kinetic chain (more so inexperienced riders versus beginners). In other words: It’s not just your back that can get in trouble from this, but your hips, knees, and ankles too.

Just like with low handlebars, the root of the problem lies in a cyclist’s positioning. Many riders over-stride on the upstroke which causes you to lose power by reaching for each pedal instead of pushing it down.

Also, some people tend to have different flexibility levels in their hamstrings and hip flexors — an imbalance here can create a chain reaction of pain as well!

4) Weak Core – We already covered how core muscles work for cyclists. But did you know everything starts with your core? You need to have strength from every angle to help keep your spine safe while riding your bike.

We know, what a concept! (Insert sarcasm). For those who don’t understand the connection between core strength and low back pain, that is exactly why we wrote this article for you.

This basically sums up most of the major causes of back pain in cyclists. Of course, there are more factors like inflexibility and other muscular issues that can cause or contribute to low back pain.

But many riders often find relief just from making simple changes to their handlebar positioning or investing in upgraded components (new grips, pedals, etc). If all else fails — go see somebody who knows what they’re doing!

Is road cycling hard?

Of course, it is, riding a bicycle over hills and through forests – up mountains even! – certainly requires plenty of effort. The truth about cycling though, is that it can be hard in many different ways.

According to the well-known neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Glaser from King’s College London, road cycling takes an average of four to five-month.

Road Cycling

For beginners to get used to the intensity and monotony (cycling on level ground) has been compared by researchers as mentally draining as performing a full day’s work in an office job.

It can take another six months or so before a cyclist feels like they have nailed their technique enough to be confident in peddling at high speed and tackling steep whilst avoiding busy traffic. Because of this, cycling is a sport that can take a lifetime to master.

But what about the other end of the spectrum? What makes road cycling such a difficult sport are the mental battles that you have to face in order to overcome some of its challenges.

But nothing can be as hard, frustrating – not just in cycling but in life too – as losing something and not knowing how it happened.

You know, like misplacing your car keys or losing your phone, only to find them hours later under a pile of washing on your bedside table.

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