We are always looking for fun activities to do with our grandkids so we wanted to know “Is Bicycling Good Exercise”?
To maintain physical fitness we need to be physically active regularly.
Wikipedia states that bicycling(cycling, biking) provides a variety of health benefits and is the main source of transportation in some countries.
Bicycling is a fun, low-impact workout that improves heart health and builds strong legs helping you lower your risk of health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
If you are biking outdoors you also get the added benefit of fresh air and exercise which are also great health boosters.
Kids love bicycles because it gives them a sense of freedom, independence, and camaraderie as they ride around with their friends,
Table of Contents
Health Benefits of Bicycling Regularly
Bicycling is an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels, and lungs all get a workout.
You will breathe deeper, sweat and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level.
The health benefits of regular cycling can include:
- increased cardiovascular fitness
- increased muscle strength and flexibility
- improved joint mobility
- decreased stress levels
- improved posture and coordination
- strengthened bones
- decreased body fat levels
- prevention or management of disease
- reduced anxiety and depression
Bicycling is a low-impact, healthy, and fun activity that is great for all ages and it easily gets kids outdoors and active. It gives them a sense of freedom and independence as they explore the great outdoors with their friends.
It is important that the bicycle properly fits the rider. A bike that is too small is both uncomfortable and more difficult to ride.
Likewise, a bicycle that is too big for the rider is difficult to ride and hard to control.
First, you want to ensure you have about one to two inches of clearance between the tube and your crotch on a bike that has a top tube.
You will also want to ensure the seat height is adjusted to fit the rider. Have them sit on the seat and place their heel on the pedal. If they can’t reach the pedal, lower the seat until they can. If the leg is bent at the knee raise the seat until it’s straight.
Wear a properly fitted helmet every time you ride. This will protect you from a serious head injury in the event of a fall or crash.
There are also water bottle holders, mirrors and bells or horns if you will be riding on roads, locks if you plan on stopping at a store, and any number of other items to help make bicycling more convenient and fun.
I found a great selection of bicycles and accessories on Amazon and it is delivered to your door check it out here.
What Road Rules Should I Know?
If you’re allowed to ride on the street, follow these road rules:
- Always ride with your hands on the handlebars.
- Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb.
- Cross at intersections. When you pull out between parked cars, drivers can’t see you coming.
- Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals.
- Ride on the right-hand side of the street, so you travel in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic.
- Use bike lanes wherever you can.
- Don’t ride too close to parked cars. Doors can open suddenly.
- Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic (red) lights just as cars do.
- Ride single-file on the street with friends.
- When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to their left side, and call out “On your left!” so they know that you are coming.
It is important to know and use your hand signals.
Use your left arm for all signals:
- Left turn: After checking behind you, hold your arm straight out to the left and ride forward slowly.
- Stop: After checking behind you, bend your elbow, pointing your arm downward in an upside-down “L” shape, and come to a stop.
- Right turn: After checking behind you, bend your elbow, holding your arm up in an “L” shape, and ride forward slowly. (Or, hold your right arm straight out from your side.)
Understanding the safety rules is key in having a fun safe bicycling experience.
We have a Type 1 Diabetic grandson so we needed to also learn how to keep him safe while out riding bicycles.
Type 1 Diabetes poses some unique challenges while exercising so we’ll explore those now.
Is Bicycling Safe for Type 1 Diabetics
We know that regular exercise is an important part of Diabetes Management whether Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and it is a really fun way for all of us to get exercise while out exploring and having adventures together.
For a diabetic bicycling helps lower A1C, promotes heart health, can help manage weight, fights against insulin resistance, and even releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals in the brain).
In the case of a Type1 Diabetic, it is very important to not only balance the insulin doses with the food eaten but also the activity you have done. Every activity counts including housework or yard work.
By knowing how the body and blood sugar responds to exercise, and having supplies with you it is possible to keep blood sugar from going too high or too low.
With kids, this is all much trickier because most of the time they don’t plan exercise. It changes every day, they come home from school and go for a bike ride with friends or they sit and watch TV first. Will they be active for 15 minutes or an hour risking a low, you just never know.
As the caregiver of a Type 1 child, you must always be prepared to give 5-15 grams of carb, depending on the child’s age and size, for every 30 minutes of sustained physical activity and monitor sugar levels more frequently.
Try To Prevent “Lows”
There are various ways blood sugar can respond to exercise and each is dependent upon:
- what is your blood glucose level before you begin
- how intensely you are exercising
- how long you are active
- any recent changes to insulin dosage
It is important to plan because blood sugar can drop during or after exercise which makes it so important to frequently monitor blood glucose, plan ahead and always be prepared to treat hypoglycemia(low blood glucose).
Trying different activities and monitoring blood glucose often is the best way to learn how your body or that of your child responds to exercise. Also, test with different lengths of time. Some activities may cause blood sugar levels to drop while other activities may not. No two people are the same so you need to test this for yourself.
If you notice the blood glucose is trending down before a bicycle ride, have a snack before going. Always carry a carbohydrate snack or drink that can quickly raise blood glucose in case your sugars drop.
What If You’re Too “High”
Exercise can also cause blood glucose to run high especially if it is a high-intensity exercise.
Always test blood glucose before exercise.
If you test high then test for ketones, if you test positive for ketones avoid vigorous exercise and reschedule that ride for when you have things more stable.
If you test negative and feel fine you should be fine to exercise but keep a close eye on your blood glucose.
Before You Ride
Always test before going for a ride.
Be sure to pack plenty of water to stay hydrated while riding and to help with highs.
Remember to take fast-acting sugar snacks with you to treat any lows should they occur.
It is a good idea to have Glucagon with you in case of a serious sugar crash.
We have found this great insulated backpack with a pocket for an ice pack is perfect for carrying the Diabetic supplies needed for our grandson but would also work for taking a lunch.
During You’re Ride
It is important to test blood glucose levels frequently as things can change quickly when exercising.
Take frequent breaks to drink water and stay hydrated (dehydration can lead to high blood sugars).
If sugars start to rise too high, drink plenty of water.
If sugars go, low eat a sugar snack.
After You’re Ride
After a ride, everyone needs to drink water and have a snack.
Diabetics need to test their blood glucose levels and make adjustments accordingly especially after a hard ride.
When it comes to exercise for a diabetic it tends to be a constant juggling act but eventually, you will know how your body reacts and be able to work with your health care team to determine the best course of action for you.
We wanted to know “Is Bicycling Good Exercise” and we have determined that YES bicycling is one of the best forms of low-impact cardiovascular exercise for anyone of any age including type 1 Diabetics.
It is a fun way to get outside for fresh air, vitamin D, and exercise all at once.
It is important to ride a properly fitting bicycle and to wear a properly fitting helmet. If you will be riding in traffic reflective clothing is important to help drivers see you more easily.
For those adventurous grandparents out there a bicycle makes a fantastic Easter gift and Amazon has quite a selection of bicycles and accessories of bicycles and accessories and they can deliver right to your grandchild’s home.
Knowing the safety rules and following them as well as always using hand signals will go a long way to staying safe so you can enjoy bicycling for many years to come.
Diabetics need to test their blood glucose before, during, and after any exercise.
Be sure to take all necessary supplies for testing blood sugars with you as well as water and fast-acting sugar snacks with you to treat “highs” or “lows” if they occur.
By being prepared whether Diabetic or not, bicycling is an adventurous and fun way to get exercise.
Have fun on your bike and stay safe.
Thanks for dropping by, please leave your comments or questions below.