As New Years resolutions start to kick in next week, I wanted to do a short series to help you succeed in Charleston with the most popular resolution; to get in shape. Today we will discuss cycling in Charleston. Just to be sure that we have realistic expectations of what should be expected for a normal adult:
Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.
(Moderate intensity is defined as physical activity working hard enough to break a sweat but still being able to carry on a conversation.)
Now that we have our recommendations, where and how are the best ways to accomplish this in Charleston? This is by no means an extensive list, please feel free to add your thoughts or experiences.
Cycling is a great low impact cardio workout on the rise in Charleston. There are three important steps to becoming a cyclist.
1. Familiarize yourself with cycling. There are many things to consider when thinking about beginning cycling. From the new cycling laws and road etiquette to different types of gear, I tend to use the Coastal Cyclist for great information. For those of us who are new to cycling the most important thing to do is to make sure that you are safe. Coastal Cycling provides a great information guide for beginners. They also have great ride maps and information for group rides.
2. Once we have learned the basics through the internet, Charleston offers many local bicycle shops in town. They are very helpful. I tend to recommend The Bicycle Shop because that is the one I have personal experience with. I'm sure that the others are great as well. The salesmen are all great resources to begin answering your questions and help get you plugged into the local community.
3. Make it a habit. This is the hardest part of creating a sustainable exercise routine, but in biking it is relatively easier. WebMD does a great guide on how to make your exercise a habit that will last longer than a couple of weeks. One of the great things about Charleston is that there is a large community of bikers to ride with. Your local bicycle shop and the Coastal Cycling website are great resources to help you get involved locally. MUSC also has a very active cycling group. One of my personal favorite resources is MapMyRide.com. Not only does it log, track, and provide ride routes, it is free for your iphone and is integrated with twitter.
Cycling is a wonderful low impact exercise that can be a lot of fun. On average, it burns 97 calories for every 10 minutes of riding, but the low impact nature of it allows for long rides and increased stamina.
Charleston is a great place for cycling because it provides a strong community, great bike shops, and great rides. Whatever your New Years resolution is, you should consider joining the cycling community here in the Lowcountry.