- How Much Biking Is Too Much?
- Duration and Intensity
- Why You Need Recovery
- How Often Should You Rest?
- Is It Ok to Bike Every Day?
- When Is It Harmful to Ride Every Day?
- Bike Commuting Long Distances Daily
- So How Much Biking Is Too Much?
How Much Biking Is Too Much?
Catherine Pulsifer says it best. She says, “In all aspects of our lives, balance is key. Doing one thing too much can cause upset, like the old saying goes, everything in moderation is the secret!”
I feel like we live in a society that keeps pressuring us to continue to push beyond our limits. As soon as we achieve a goal, we need to set another one, repeating this cycle indefinitely. But how far is too far? Where is the balance?
This quote and mentality translates to all parts of our lives, but what about biking? How much biking is too much? Where is the sweet spot where we are challenging ourselves as athletes, but not pushing ourselves to a point where we physically or mentally reach a breaking point?
Because every person is different, there will not be a one size fits all answer. But, if we take a step back, the key is in the quote above. Moderation. Balance. Rest. Recovery. We need to listen to our bodies and respect our bodies, and we will bike as much as we want without suffering the consequences.
Duration and Intensity
Biking every day is perfectly healthy. It can bring a lot of benefits to your life. But, if you are the type that wants to set goals to bike every day or often, you need to do this successfully by considering your duration and your intensity.
Some bikers can easily ride 20 miles a day without breaking much of a sweat, while others may struggle to get in 5. Both are completely fine! If you are wondering how much biking is too much, you need to first understand your baseline fitness level for a comfortably attainable duration. If you can only ride for 20 minutes before you get completely winded, make a goal to ride 10-15 minutes a day until your body gets used to that amount of time.
Similarly, if you bike as fast as you can or do HIIT intervals every single day, you are also going to burn out or get injured. It’s inevitable. It is too much on your body to go all out every time you hit the bike. So, not only do you need to consider the duration of your ride, you also need to consider how intense your ride is. If you’re just starting out, find an area with flatter roads or somewhere that will allow you to ride at a leisurely pace.
Of course, some bike rides are going to be intense and will push your endurance to your limits, but if you make them all of your workouts, then it will be too much biking for your body.
Why You Need Recovery
Recovery plays a huge role in finding balance if you don’t want to overdo it and bike too much. Finding balance is not pushing yourself too hard with your duration or intensity, but it’s also about taking care of your body and getting it ready for the next ride.
Recovery comes in many forms, and it is the single most important factor for not overdoing it. You need to recover properly if you want to continue to see improvements in your fitness, prevent injuries, and have fitness to be a part of your lifestyle.
Nutrition plays an integral part in your recovery as it benefits both your endurance and your strength. Even if you’re biking to lose weight, you still need to make sure that you are striking a healthy balance of taking care of your body after a long ride and achieving a calorie deficit.
Besides fueling properly before your workout and during (if it’s a longer ride), you also need to fuel properly afterwards. Having good post-ride nutrition will really help your recovery along. Ideally, you will need to eat 30-60 minutes after your ride.
In terms of what you should eat to restore your body after a ride, you should always think about real, whole foods, but many suggest thinking about adding carbohydrates first.
Similar to nutrition, think about hydration both before, during, and after your ride. Hydrating after your ride helps your muscles, heart rate, and fatigue recover.
While there’s no magic number or amount, make sure that you have water or a healthy sport drink in hand when you finish your ride. Make it a point to continue hydrating throughout the rest of your day, especially if you’re riding in warmer weather or with the sun out.
The last step in proper recovery is sleep. Making sure that you’re getting adequate sleep when you are training will help you ensure you aren’t biking too much or burning yourself out.
For adults, the Sleep Institute recommends getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. So, if you’re training hard and you don’t want to overdo it, make sure that you’re at least within this recommendation.
Taking care of yourself after your runs with nutrition, hydration, and proper sleep will play a big role in your body’s ability to bike more safely.
How Often Should You Rest?
One thing that wasn’t mentioned above with recovery was rest. It’s so important that it needs its own section!
The number of health benefits of rest days is endless! When you rest your body, you are decreasing your risk for injury and muscle fatigue while increasing your body’s ability to repair muscles, replace your energy, and more!
So, if rest days are so wonderful, how often should you take them? Well…. it depends. It depends on your fitness level and what your body is used to. It also depends on how well you’re taking care of your body and how intense your rides are.
But it’s recommended to take at least 2 rest days per week for amateur riders. While the pros might ride six or seven days in a row, it may not be what is best for you at the start. It’s always better to err on the side of caution with this one if you don’t want to overdo it.
Is It Ok to Bike Every Day?
If you’re physically fit, you are used to biking regularly and you ride at a lower intensity, then biking every day is doable! Many people workout daily, but this is definitely something your body would have to work up to.
Like I mentioned above, professional biking athletes workout 6-7 days a week, so unless you are close to that status, it may be best to just prioritize your rest days in order to prevent biking too much.
When Is It Harmful to Ride Every Day?
Like I said, you can ride every day under the right conditions. If you’re not careful with biking every day, you can easily get into a place where you’re biking too much. Biking every day becomes harmful when you’re not taking your recovery seriously through nutrition, hydration, and sleep. It also can become harmful if you’re riding either too far or too intensely.
How much cycling is too much in a day?
There’s no magic number to set for how much biking is too much in a day. For some, biking 20 miles a day is healthy, but for others biking 5 miles a day may be too much for them. You need to listen to your body and if you notice any signs of overtraining, then you know that you’re biking too much.
What are signs of overtraining?
Throughout this entire article, I’ve discussed the importance of knowing your own level of fitness and understanding your body’s limitations. This can be pretty hard to know. Where’s the line between pushing yourself and pushing yourself too far?
If you are biking too much, your body will give you some indications that you’re overtraining. Here are some signs that you need to take a step back and bring some more balance to your biking routine….
- Constantly tired
- Constantly sore
- Trouble sleeping
- Unwanted weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
If you notice some of these changes in your body, you are probably biking too much. You will definitely need to consider dialing it back, consulting a doctor and trainer, and finding more balance.
Bike Commuting Long Distances Daily
What if you’re wanting to bike to get to work rather than only biking for exercise? How much commuting by bike is too much then? The good thing is that commuting is typically at a lower intensity and slower pace, so it would be sustainable to do it more often.
Again, while there isn’t a one size fits all answer, it’s pretty acceptable to commute one to ten miles per day.
So How Much Biking Is Too Much?
So, we’ve looked at this question from many angles. How much biking is too much if you’re commuting? How much biking is too much if you want to ride every day? And so on.
But, really, how much biking is too much? While I can’t give a specific number, I would refer to the above signs of overtraining. I would talk with your doctor. I would recommend you getting a full understanding of what you’re capable of, listen to your body, and go from there.