Pedaling Your Way to Better Health
If you’re looking to add a new healthy outdoor activity to your workout routine, try bicycling. A low-impact activity that is suitable for all ages and abilities, cycling provides a great way to get outside, and it can be enjoyed year-round with the proper apparel.
The talented, young cyclists from Team Columbia-Highroad, the No. 1 men’s and women’s professional cycling team in the world, know all about helping newcomers get into cycling and staying protected from the elements. By following some of this winning team’s simple tips, you’ll be on the road to your very own Tour de France or Giro d’Italia in no time.
Skill Building: Set realistic expectations by choosing bike trails or courses that suit your skill level. If you are just beginning, don’t try routes with steep inclines and sharp turns — you’ll likely end up sore and discouraged. A number of resources are available to help you pick the perfect trail. For instance, www.pedaling.com allows you to select trails based on length, difficulty and traffic levels.
Clothing Selection: As a team that races more than 200 days a year, the riders of Team Columbia-Highroad need to have the right gear for every type of weather condition. While you’ll likely be spending less time training than the pros, protection from the wind, rain and sun is still a must. In selecting clothing for the outdoors, there are three essentials: fit, comfort and protection from the elements.
Clothing like Columbia Sportswear’s Omni-Shade shirts, jackets and pants provide protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays, making bike rides more comfortable and enjoyable. “When you’re spending six or seven hours outside in the sun, it all adds up,” says Team Columbia-Highroad cyclist and World Cup champion Kate Bates. “The Omni-Shade material is fantastic. It means you don’t have to worry about overexposure.” For more information about Omni-Shade technology or to locate apparel for your outdoor adventures, visit www.columbia.com.
Complementary Activities: Many outdoor activities can complement your biking routine — swimming, walking and hiking are all low-impact activities that will help keep you in shape. Team Columbia-Highroad’s four-stage Tour de France winner Mark Cavendish says, “I like to go walking and hiking and cross-country skiing. I think, fundamentally, that’s where the majority of outdoor people can start.”
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