Choosing the Best Bike for Your Outdoor Workout

March 21, 2016
Best Outdoor Workout Bike

Warmer weather provides ample opportunity for outdoor activities that burn calories and strengthen our hearts. That said, high-impact exercises can be dicey propositions for seniors and younger adults with joint problems. Bike workouts are the perfect solution for these people; however, it's important to choose the right bicycle for your requirements.
Evaluating Your Options
There are four basic types of bicycles. These include:

  • Mountain bikes: Ideal for hills and rough terrain, these bikes are okay on pavement, but work best on dirt paths. They are also relatively slow due to their smaller wheels.
  • Road bikes: Good for going long distances on paved streets, these bikes have narrower wheels for increased speed and a smoother ride.
  • Hybrids: A cross between a road and mountain bike, these versatile bikes are good options for people who are just beginning to ride.
  • Recreational bikes: Ideal for leisurely rides, these bicycles are best for people who need transportation from point A to point B.
  • Racing bikes: Designed for optimal speed, these lightweight bikes are usually made from high-tech materials, which make them quite pricey.

Making a Good Choice
When choosing a bike, ask yourself the following key questions:

  • Will I ride the bike on roads or trails?
  • Am I riding for fun, for fitness or to save gas?
  • What riding position would I prefer? (Upright or leaning forward)?

Once you've answered these questions to the best of your ability and can better target the right kind of bicycle.
Ensuring a Good Fit
If you choose a bike that doesn't fit properly, you may experience muscle and back pain, which will discourage you from riding. You may also be at a higher risk of crashing. Adjustments can help, but only to a point. Before settling on any one bike, check the following:

  • Be sure your leg is slightly bent when your foot is on the pedal at its lowest point.
  • Your arm should also have a slight bend at the elbow, when your hands are grasping the handlebars.
  • When straddling the bike, be sure there is a one-inch clearance between yourself and the bar.

Things to Consider
Although you can save good money buying used bikes, newer models tend to be safer and longer-lasting. They also provide the opportunity to meet with a knowledgeable bike seller who can help ensure a proper fit. Also, always wear a helmet when riding your bicycle and meet with your physician for a checkup before beginning any rigorous fitness routine.

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