Is Biking 20 Miles a Day Healthy?

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Is Biking 20 Miles a Day Healthy?

In a world filled with cardio options, what’s your flavor? There’s so many options for getting your heart rate up, blood flow pumping and body the care it deserves. From long walks to endurance filled runs to challenging hikes to biking long distances, there’s pretty much something available for everyone’s skill set and taste. And contrary to popular belief, it is okay to take part in more than one. If you’re anything like me, then you enjoy them all.

My latest and greatest obsession, though? Biking. While you can bike indoors at your local gym, I highly encourage you to get outside and see the beauty that surrounds you. It’s the perfect way to get some Vitamin D, exercise, and see things you’ve probably never noticed before. In fact, there are several trails I’ve been on around my area that you can’t get to by car, so the only way to access them is by biking!

Biking 20 Miles a Day

If you’re an avid adventurer and always down to explore, then biking is probably for you. We travel a lot and there’s always so many things I want to see and do. Biking these areas has brought me some of the most insanely beautiful views and memories that will last a lifetime.

I hop on my All Trails app and find the best biking trails surrounding where I’m visiting. It’s become one of my preferred things to do when traveling to a new destination because there truly is so much to explore and biking is a quick, fun way to do it. Plus, the whole family can join in! Not to mention you’ll burn quite a few calories by riding just a few miles! Calorie burns plus a view? Sign me up!

Not only is biking great for you, it’s beneficial for the environment too! When you bike to your destination rather than drive, you’re helping keep harmful pollution and gas-related emissions from our environment. Environmentally friendly, perfect way to explore, fun form of exercise.. The list of pros keeps growing!

However, it’s important that you don’t overdo it. As with all exercise, some of us are at different levels and have different goals. Some people may go biking 20 miles a day, while others may be better off biking 20 miles a week. There are different factors to take into consideration before hopping on your bike and heading out for a long ride.

Goals

Before deciding if biking 20 miles a day is healthy, you need to determine your goals. Everyone’s goals are different.

Biking 20 Miles a Day

So for some, biking 20 miles a day may be feasible and for others it may not be — and that’s okay! To know if biking long distances each day is right for you, then you need to know what your goals are.

Biking to Lose Weight

Trying to lose weight? According to BikeTrainerWorld.com: “Cycling for weight loss is easier once you figure out your caloric needs and how many calories you need to burn every week. That said, there is no magic number of miles. A person weighing 130 lbs burns 36 calories per mile when cycling moderately at about 12 miles per hour. A heavier person will burn more. To lose weight through cycling, you need to focus more on the intensity of the ride and not the number of miles. Regardless of how much you want to lose weight, be careful not to ride too many miles away from home — especially when you are alone. Last, check what you eat for better results.”

There’s even one man who proudly attributes losing 55 pounds in 5 months to biking!

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Training for a Triathlon

If you’re biking to train for a triathlon, then your goals and needs are going to differ completely from someone who is just looking to lose weight or stay fit. In fact, biking 20 miles a day may be the perfect way to push yourself harder.

Some people may start with biking 20 miles a day depending on where they are in their training and increase the mileage from there. Keep in mind that you don’t want to put too much strain on your body. So, some days you should bike less than 20 miles and others you can bike more. Be sure to listen to what your body is telling you and give it the breaks it needs!

Biking 20 Miles a Day

Biking to Stay Fit

Are you taking up biking to help you stay fit? This was my reasoning! I love hiking trails, but it can get a bit tiring and take a good amount of time. I found that biking is the perfect way to experience the trails at a faster pace and helps me to stay fit. Plus, it’s always fun to switch up your cardio! Let’s be real here, walking or running every day can get a little boring.

BikeTrainerWorld.Com states: “The general rule for cycling for fitness is cycling over short distances on a regular basis. Experts recommend thirty minutes of exercise per day for an adult and sixty minutes for children. The average cyclist rides 10 miles to 12 miles an hour (at a moderate pace). You can, therefore, begin with about 5 miles per day—assuming you do not do any other physical activity.”

Biking to Get Outdoors

Is biking your way of getting outdoors? That’s a great idea! If your goal with biking is to experience more nature, then you probably need not bike 20 miles a day. While there are some trails well over that, determining whether that’s a good idea is completely up to you and where you are at in your fitness level! If you’re heading outdoors to bike, be sure to take some water along with you and stay hydrated!

Your Current Health

Another thing to take into consideration before biking 20 miles a day is your current health situation. Are you active? Do you exercise regularly during the week? If so, biking 20 miles a day may be the perfect challenge for you. If you’re someone who is more sedentary and doesn’t get much cardio in, then a long distance bike ride may not be the best idea.

Biking 20 Miles a Day

These factors and others (ex: being overweight, health issues, etc.) all play a role in whether biking 20 miles a day is healthy for you. Before partaking in any form of exercise, it is important to consult with your physician — especially if you suffer from health issues.

How Long Have You Been Biking?

While it might sound easy in your head, you should not take biking 20 miles a day lightly. It’s definitely not like riding your bike around as a kid! A seasoned biker will easily be able to ride 20+ miles a day, while someone who rides around leisurely may struggle. If you’re a newbie, then start out by biking a few miles a day or by biking for a certain amount of time — 30 minutes is always a great starting point.

How Far Have You Been Riding?

Before biking 20 miles, also take into account how far you have been riding. If you have only been biking a mile or two a few times a week, then maybe you should aim for a five mile bike ride instead. From there, you can work your way up to meeting that goal of biking 20 miles! You might even be able to go farther than that. On the contrary, if you have been riding 10 to 15 miles a day, then biking 20 miles may be the push you need to take your exercise to the next level.

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Terrain

Even for the most avid bikers, terrain can play a huge role in the distance they travel. It’s important to take terrain into consideration before hitting a long trail. If it is a mostly flat surface and you’ve been biking often, then biking 20 miles should be fun!

However, if you are biking a trail with high elevation, then it may be a good idea to cut the distance down some. When I bike a trail with a high elevation, I’ve found it very helpful to take breaks. There are even times where we only bike half of the trail because of how extreme it is. Again, this is one of those circumstances where your experience level and overall health will play an important role in how far you go.

Health Benefits

Not only is biking a fun way to explore, it also comes with so many health benefits. Honestly, I wasn’t aware of much other than being a killer leg workout.

 
 

But biking has improved my health – mentally and physically including:

Cardiovascular

This one probably goes without saying, but biking is a cardiovascular activity, so it strengthens your heart! In fact, the British Medical Association reports that cycling just 20 miles a week slashes your risk of coronary heart disease in half when compared with staying sedentary.

Boosts Your Brain

Believe it or not, exercises like biking that increase your heart rate also boosts your brain health. This happens because it leads to an increase in production of nitric oxide (a potent vasodilator), neurotrophin (growth factors) and a protein known as noggin, which all help promote stem cell division and new brain cell formation.

Biking 20 Miles a Day

Weight Loss

Another one that is a given is that biking is a great way to lose weight and stay fit. In fact, biking 20 miles a day burns roughly around 1000 calories. So, if your goal is to lose some extra pounds, then it’s time to hop on a bike and go for a ride!

Strengthens Muscles

Do you perform all the squats and deadlifts known to man and have yet to see definition in your legs? If so, I highly encourage you to bike a few times each week. Biking is great for your quads, glutes, hamstrings and abdominal muscles. You will seriously be amazed at how much stronger these muscles will get in a short amount of time. Keep in mind, you’ll probably be sore after your first couple of times riding, so be sure to stretch and ice your muscles down!

Better Mental Health

Rough week at work? Kids stressing you out? Biking may be the fix you need because it helps boost your mental health. In fact, depression, anxiety and stress are lower in individuals who are physically healthy.

Fresh Air and Sunshine

One of my favorite things about biking is that it gets me outdoors and exploring. As I stated earlier, there are so many views I’ve seen that weren’t possible by car. Biking 20 miles a day is the perfect way to get some fresh air, sunshine and be one with nature.

Biking 20 Miles a Day

Social Interaction

Believe it or not, bikers somewhat have their own little community. It makes sense that you will connect with people who already have something in common with you! There’s been a countless number of people I’ve met by hitting the trails or biking through my neighborhood. Biking is a great way to experience some social interaction and meet people with the same interests as you!

Better Sleep

Who wouldn’t benefit from sleeping better at night? Your body and brain rely on sleep because you heal while you rest. When you don’t sleep well at night, then your hormones get all bent out of shape causing you to be more likely to gain weight, have mood disorders and lower immunity levels. A study by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found that previously sedentary insomnia sufferers who started cycling just 20 to 30 minutes every other day reduced the time to fall asleep by half and increased their total sleep time by nearly an hour.

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Conclusion

In determining whether biking 20 miles a day is healthy, there are several factors you should consider.  What is your goal?  Are you thinking of biking 20 miles a day to help lose weight, stay fit, training for an event or to just get outdoors?  All are great reasons!

Next, consider your current health situation.  Are you an active person?  Do you bike regularly and if so, how far?  Then you have to decide for yourself, based on your current health, whether biking 20 miles a day is healthy.  For most active people that are active and exercise regularly, biking 20 miles a day would be a healthy activity.  If you don’t exercise regularly, start off by setting a small achievable goal and work up from there.

There are many excellent health benefits to biking 20 miles a day.  If you aren’t at a fitness level right now where you can do that, start working towards it and enjoy the ride!

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