Biking as Exercise
Don’t have enough time to exercise with work and other commitments?
Life is busy for sure, but there are many ways to bring exercise into your daily schedule...and biking to work (or while running errands or going to appointments) is a great example.
Here are some great tips for working a bike ride into your routine:
Make it a family outing
If biking to work isn’t feasible for you, then consider making a bike outing a family endeavor.
Find a biking buddy
The great thing about biking is that you can cycle just about anywhere — in your neighborhood, around town, to work, across the county, in the mountains.
And one of the best ways to explore is through local meetup groups. Many do trail rides, overnighters, multi-day (and even multi-week) cycling tours, networking, and social events.
Before you pedal off, though, make sure you take a few precautions to keep your excursion safe and enjoyable.
Chief among these is wearing a helmet. Whether young or old, wearing a helmet is a must.
In fact, it’s not just safety smart, it’s the law. Several counties – including King, Pierce and Snohomish – will cite you for not wearing a helmet. And for good reason.
“We see emergency room visits due to bike accidents all the time. People were either going too fast, or taking a corner too quickly, and they fall and hit their head,” says Kevin Hanson, M.D., an emergency physician at EvergreenHealth.
“Many are minor, but there are too many that are much more serious. Wearing a bike helmet can make a huge difference in whether a person walks out of the hospital.”
Study after study has shown that wearing a bike helmet decreases the risk of brain injuries — in some cases, by up to 85 to 88 percent.
In fact, Dr. Hanson feels so strongly about wearing bike helmets that he insists upon it with his own kids. “No one leaves the garage on their bike until helmets are on,” he says.
And he adds that it’s not enough just to have a helmet on your head. It needs to fit properly and be level and snug.
“If it’s moving around, you either need a smaller size or you need to insert pads or adjust the chin strap,” he explains.
A good way to test the fit is to do an “eyes, ears, mouth” check:
- Eyes: You should see the edge of your helmet when you look up.
- Ears: The straps should form a “Y” under your ear lobes.
- Mouth: The chinstrap should be snug enough so that when you yawn, the helmet pulls down on top of your head
In addition to the helmet, Dr. Hanson also reminds us to pack water (to stay hydrated) and sunscreen (to protect against harmful UAV/UAB rays).
And a bike pump is also handy to have “just in case.”
Local biking resources