We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Self here on FitSugar!
The cool breeze, scenic view, money saved on gas — biking is one of those leisurely Summer workouts that not only helps tone the legs (and slim the wallet), but it also blasts about 500 calories per hour!
This week kicks off National Bike to Work Week and the only proper celebration includes leaving the car at home and busting out the bike for your commute. Your party favor — a hot bod.
"I bike to work once or twice a week," American Council on Exercise-certified spokesperson and exercise physiologist Pete McCall, M.S. says. "Even if you're doing it at a moderate pace you're still expending more energy than you would sitting in a car or riding the subway. Biking not only targets the entire lower body, but it's great for reducing stress--the ride to work allows you to relax before the day starts, and on the ride home you can unwind from the day. Plus you can always push a little harder on the way home since you can jump right in the shower afterwards."
But I know what you're thinking: "biking to work is such a hassle!" Think again! We have easy solutions to some of your top two-wheelin' dilemmas. Time to saddle up!
- I don't want to get sweaty: The first thing to keep in mind is that a commute to work doesn't have to be a high-sweat, intense cycling workout. Ride at a moderate pace for 30 minutes or less, and you won't look like you've just stepped out of a shower. Case-in-point: SELF magazine's editor-in-chief bikes to work and manages to look impeccably chic when she arrives! (If you live too far from work, try driving halfway then biking the rest.) A few things to throw in your bag (or store at your desk) to quickly clean up your act: dry shampoo (I love the citrusy scent of Keratin Complex's Volumizing Dry Shampoo, which doesn't fall on your clothes thanks to its brush applicator), deodorant and fresh towelettes for a quick rub down. Also, try grabbing a few sample perfume testers next time you're at a department store and keep those stashed at your desk!
- Ugh, helmets are such a drag: Sure, I'll admit that helmets don't do wonders for a fresh blowout, but safety comes first! Luckily, Yakkay has a chic solution for your helmet woes. Purchase the base helmet then accessorize with fashionable coverings to ride in style--my favorite is the casual Pairs Black Oilskin (pictured). While the cute helmets are currently available through the website only, the European company is setting up shop in New York retailers this July. Also, try wearing a bandanna under the helmet to help prevent the frizzies.
- I don't own a bike: Purchasing any new bike gear and gadgets includes an upfront investment but there are tons of financial incentives to help offset the cost including no gas station stops. One money-saver is the Bicycling Commuter Act, which entitles you to $20/month (read more about act here) for repairs and maintenance. If you're still not sold on owning a bike, see if your city offers any rental bike programs, such as Washington D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare.
Be sure to read up these traffic safety rules, then you're ready to hit the road with your fellow biking commuters!