Cycling: Enjoying your fitness outdoors!

11392894_10153924172762598_3777624427085136122_nOne of the best things about summer is getting a chance to go outdoors. During the weekends, if you don’t have anywhere planned to go, it’s still nice to take a day trip to the mountains, or maybe head to the coast for a few days. It’s nice out, after all- it’s not like it happens every day in the Pacific Northwest.

One of my clients, Jenn, loves to talk about her time on a bike. To her, cycling is the end all of transportation methods. Need to get yourself from point A to B? A bike will do it. Want to burn off some steam or calories? Well it just so happens that a bike does a great job at burning calories. Even if you have cargo to move, you can do it with a cargo bike built for heavy loads. To her, the summer season is bike season, and she embraces it fully.

Now, I don’t necessarily cycle as my main source of transportation like Jenn does, but I do enjoy it from time to time. Especially when I get a chance to do it down at the waterfront in Portland, or on the Banks-Vernonia trail when I get a chance to get out there. And there are definitely some great health benefits to riding a bicycle, other than the cardio you might get on a cycle machine.

Whether you’re a casual cyclist or a hardcore ironman/woman in training, here are a few reasons you might want to jump on a bicycle when you get a chance this summer time:

Cycling conditions your muscles: Unlike a cycle machine, a bicycle is guaranteed to give you varied resistance as you go up and down various hills. You’re going to get a great workout in your legs, thighs, and gluts.

Cycling helps with joint conditions: Believe it or not, cycling is considered a low impact form or exercise, unlike jogging which has an impact with every step you take. This means you’re going to put a lot less pressure on your knees, which will really pay off in the long run.

Cycling increases lifespan: It’s the small things that really help when it comes to your lifespan. The British Medical Association discovered cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 50%.That’s a huge benefit, for just going outdoors for a few hours.

Cycling improves the waistline: When you’re on a bike, you can expect to burn around 300 calories per hour, which roughly translates to losing 11 pounds of unhealthy fat per year on a person. Plus, you get to enjoy the sights going by.

Cycling improves mental health: On the other side of the spectrum, cycling can even improve your brain. Bicycling has been proven to reduce stress and increase hand-eye coordination among those who choose to cycle a mere 30 minutes a day (Maybe stay out of the city  that might add to your stress levels). The Journal of Occupational Health published an article showing cycling significantly improved mental health among those who choose to commute daily to work.

So don’t forget to grab your bike this coming weekend. Your body will thank you!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Enjoying Your Vacation

iStock_000002284032XSmallLast Tuesday, I wrote a little about ways Boomer Fitness can help you stick to your fitness goals while on vacation. Even while you’re on a trip, you still have goals you want to reach, and spending a whole vacation ignoring your fitness standards is not going to be easy to make up at the gym when you come back.

When you’re on vacation, make sure you enjoy yourself! After all, it’s not every day you get to spend some time exploring the Oregon Coast. And keep in mind that while you’re travelling, you can still stick to your fitness goals by making small adjustments.

So here are a few Dos and Don’t you can remember the next time you go on a trip out of town:

DO enjoy yourself – You’re on vacation! Odds are, it’s been a long time since you were able to drop everything and enjoy yourself. So get out there and make sure you make the trip a memorable one. If you have stuck to your diet, spent a lot of time at the gym, and seen improvement, go ahead and enjoy that extra drink or dessert.

DON’T make yourself sick – Keep in mind that if you have been sticking to your diet and spending some meaningful time at the gym, you wont be doing yourself any favors if you splurge too much. Many foods you may have eaten before you started working out are going to immediately affect your body once you eat. Many of my clients will feel lethargic after enjoying some fast food for the first time after a few months of swearing off the stuff.

A happy medium I like to recommend is making plans to enjoy a nice dinner in the middle of your vacation and then the last day of your trip. That way, you can really look forward to and enjoy your meal, without going overboard.

DO take a break from the gym – As the owner of a gym, this one isn’t as painful as you might think to recommend. If you’re spending some time on vacation, don’t force yourself to go out of your way to find a gym. There are plenty of other ways to work in some exercise, and the trainers at Boomer Fitness can help you find alternatives. Besides, spending time at the gym is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.

DON’T take a break from your body – Just because you might not be headed to the gym doesn’t mean you should stop all fitness. You might be taking a break from the gym on a vacation, but your body doesn’t magically “pause” its fitness.

Instead of dropping everything for a solid week (or however long your vacation might be) talk to Boomer Fitness about how you can stay on the horse. We usually recommend a few workouts you can do as you wake up, and a few stretches you can do before you head off to bed. While it likely isn’t as intensive as a day in the gym, your body will thank you for not giving up on it for a whole week.

DO go exploring on your own power – When you’re visiting a new place on vacation, go explore it! You’re only in the area for a short period of time, so you might as well see as much as you can while you’re there. Even if you’re just spending some time away from the office, take a day and discover Portland, or take a day trip and walk up and down the Oregon coast.

DON’T sit inside – Don’t experience your vacation looking out a window, or by sitting in an easy chair all day. Go out and enjoy the outdoors! See the sights, and engage the world around you. If you’re travelling with friends, invite them to go explore with you.

Go for a hike either in the countryside or through the city. Take a bicycle tour and go see the tourist spots, or go on your own and find the hidden corners no one else finds. If you’re near some water, go jump in the water and swim a few laps. However you explore, make sure you’re actively doing it. After all, being able to do all of these activities is part of the reason we exercise. Enjoy the hard work you have been doing!

However you take your vacation, make sure you’re enjoying yourself. And when you come back ready to hit the gym again, Boomer Fitness will be here, ready and waiting to help you get back into the swing of things.