Hello everyone. This is a guest post from Chloe who writes for ActiveQuote.com
As we enter February 2013 you may have already given up on your New Year’s resolution to get fit (in fact, you may not even have made it past the first week of January!) If you are struggling to stay motivated, or are simply looking for a new activity to try, there are two sports you may want to consider: running and cycling. Both are high intensity and work your cardiovascular system, and both have their own unique advantages. Here we pit running and cycling against each other- which one takes your fancy?
1) Low Cost
One of the best things about running is the low cost involved in getting started. Sure, avid runners may spend hundreds of pounds on trainers, Lycra and tracking equipment, but when you are a novice it is surprisingly cheap to get prepared. All you really need is a pair of running shoes and some lightweight clothes. Don’t be tempted to splash out on very expensive trainers to start with- your local sports shop will be able to help you find a budget pair- but you need to make sure they are designed for running rather than the gym.
Like many women, my ‘problem area’ is my thighs, and without regular exercise they start to turn to jelly. After many years of trying different activities (including numerous Legs, Bums and Tums classes) I have found that nothing tones my lower body up better than running. When you run, not only do you burn hundreds of calories, but your quads and glutes in particular get an excellent workout. Supplement your running with squats for extra toning.
I’m not going to tiptoe around the subject- running hurts, simple as that. It’s not so much a specific pain, but a more general my-legs-are-going-to-fall-off-and-it-hurts-to-breathe kind of pain. Luckily, the fitter you get the less it will hurt, but it is never going to be a breeze. However, the reason I love running so much is the satisfaction you get when you finish a run. No amount of working out in the gym will give you that same feeling of exhaustion and pride. And the longer the run, the greater the satisfaction- hello half marathons!
Some people like to go it alone, but personally I find that one of the best parts of running is having a friend alongside you in the same boat. Your running partner can ease the boredom on the longer runs, and push you to keep going when you are tired or feeling the pain. Try and find somebody of a similar height or ability to you, otherwise you may find yourself either struggling to keep up, or not working hard enough. A running club is a good way of meeting a variety of people, and it will give you the incentive to go out every week.
1) Gets You From A To B
After our success in the 2012 Olympics, Britain has gone cycling mad, and a lot of the issues we cyclists used to face on the roads are becoming ancient history. Cycle paths are popping up in cities all over the UK, and drivers are starting to treat people on a bike with a bit more respect (my ride to work is no longer a death defying feat!) Now summer is on the horizon you too could replace your car with a bike; not only is it good for your health and the environment, but it is free as well. Just think- no more expensive tanks of fuel.
2) Easy On The Joints
If you suffer from joint injuries, running may not be an option for you because of the impact it causes on your body. Over the years I have witnessed many friends have to claim on their private health insurance for running related conditions like shin splints, runner’s knee and Achilles pain. In contrast, cycling is actually used in many joint rehabilitation schemes because it takes the stress off your knees and ankles. So if you find yourself struggling with high-impact forms of exercise, investing in a bike could be the perfect solution.
3) Off-Road Cycling
If you do not fancy cycling on the roads, why not consider investing in a mountain bike? Off-road cycling is a completely different experience to whizzing along in a city or on country lanes, and if you are a nervous rider you may find that you prefer being away from cars and other vehicles. Serious mountain bikers spend years perfecting their downhill riding, but you do not have to know complicated tricks to be able to enjoy getting out of the city. After being dragged kicking and screaming to a cycling holiday in the Alps, I can assure you that off-road cycling can be enjoyed by riders of all abilities!
4) Cycling Obsession
Nothing seems to grip people quite like cycling. I have watched my partner, my best friend and my dad all succumb to the mania- before I knew it they were shaving their legs and going out for rides at 7am on a Sunday morning. After you splashed out a month’s wages on that dream carbon fibre bike, a top of the range GPS system and endless quantities of Lycra seems perfectly reasonable. And with the Tour de France to watch every summer and track every winter, fanatics are able to get their fix all year round. You have been warned!
About The Author:
Chloe writes on health and fitness for ActiveQuote.com, a health insurance and income protection comparison website.