Did you know that leisurely cycling for an hour at fewer than 10 miles (16 km) per hour burns about 270 calories (based on a 150 lb/68 kg person)? That’s more than walking at a moderate pace, or an hour of hatha yoga.
Now that the weather is changing, it’s time to tune up our bikes and our bodies and get outdoors.
Here are some targeted exercises to get you off the couch and on your bike just in time for Bike to Work Week and Month (these spring up in May and June—check your local municipal websites to find out when it is in your city).
You can do these exercises as a series once, or repeat the series twice for a greater burn. Make sure to warm up with some light activity like walking, jogging or dynamic stretching for at least six minutes before starting your exercises.
Rear and forward lunges
For rear lunges, stand with your legs hip width apart and your arms hanging beside you. Lift one leg and press it behind you, bending your back leg and dropping it toward the ground. Your front knee is at 90 degrees. Slowly stand up and bring your leg forward. Alternate legs.
For forward lunges, start in the same body position, but step forward while dropping your back knee toward the ground. Push off your front foot and come back to the center. Alternate legs.
Reps and sets: 2 sets of 15 for each direction
Beginner: no hand weights
Intermediate: add hand weights with a bicep curl
Advanced: add hand weights and raise your knee in the middle instead of stepping down
Squats with rows using a band or cable
Keep your legs hip width apart, and squat down as if you are sitting in a chair. Holding your hands on the band/cable, pull your elbows back at shoulder height as you stand up, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Reps and sets: 2 sets of 15
Beginner: use a lighter band/cable for the row
Intermediate: use a heavier band/cable for the row
Advanced: add a three-count pulse at the bottom of the squat
Bridges lying on the floor
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent and feet on the floor. Slowly lift your bum off the ground as high as you can go, squeezing your bum at the top. Hold for 1 to 5 seconds, and then slowly return to starting position.
Reps and sets: 2 sets of 20
Beginner: keep your arms on the floor
Intermediate: lift your arms all the way past your head, right down to the floor if you can reach that far, as you lift your bum up
Advanced: lift your arms and add a weight/medicine ball between your legs