Cycling for weight loss: I started riding for just 10 mins a day. Here’s what happened next.

Cycling for weight loss: I started riding for 10 mins a day for 1 month. Here’s what happened next.

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By Clint Latham – Get FREE updates on new posts here

I was over weight, tired and stressed. I was running a coffee brew bar, a professional photography studio, managing a cloud automation team, a member of the board of directors for a non-profit and attending law school. It was easy to say that time was one thing that I didn’t have a lot of. However I knew that I could spare 10 mins a day. Just 10 mins I could make a big shift. I love to ride anything with two wheels and pedals. So I made a promise to myself to get back on the bike. I started by waking up 10 mins earlier each day and taking a spin around my neighborhood. Here are the 7 things that happened next

1) Burning Fat – When your out of shape it doesn’t take much to get your heart rate up. When you get your heart rate up to 75% of your max heart rate you are burning fat and generating EPOC. EPOC or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption is the affect of your body trying to return to a state of homeostasis after exercise. During EPOC your body burns primarily fat as a fuel source.

2) Increased Mood – Getting out on the bike releases endorphins. I found that it really doesn’t take much to get the mood enhancing effects of exercise. Just 10 mins a day I would start the day feeling a lot better and more prepared to tackle the day ahead. When the body senses stress from exercise it induces a fight or flight mechanism. One function of fight or flight is to release endorphins to help block the sensation of pain and increase performance. This increase in endorphins gives you that great euphoric feeling after a workout.

3) Look Younger – All it takes is a culmination of 75 mins a week for the body to increase cellular telomeres. Telomeres bookend our cells and help them fight off the affects of aging. By riding my bike for just 10 mins a day I was reaching 70 mins a week. All I had to perform was an extra 5 mins of physical activity each week during my daily work. I could take the stairs, move boxes or take my dogs for a walk.

4) Healthier Heart – Along with looking younger, the American Heart Association indicates that it only takes 75 mins week for a healthy heart. That is assuming you’re not suffering from any cardiac conditions. I started to notice an increase in my over aerobic capacity within just a couple of weeks. I was no longer getting winded walking up stairs and could chase my dog across the park with out gasping for air.

5) Healthier Joints – Riding a bike is a very low impact form of exercise. Meaning that it doe not put a lot of undue stress on your joints. This is the reason cycling, especially stationary bikes, are recommend by the Arthritis Foundation. Pedal to strengthen your heart, hips and knees.

6) Increased Energy – Once I got my butt off the couch and started riding again this increased my aerobic capacity. Exercise trains your cells to work more efficiently at delivering fuel and oxygen to your muscles. As your heart and lungs become more efficient you have more energy for more mundane tasks in life. I felt this right away. No more mid afternoon crashes and reaching for the coffee pot. However I still reach for the coffee pot. But to enjoy a really nice cup of coffee and not for the caffeine jolt.

7) Better Sleep – Regular physical activity will help you to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. I noticed this right away. I was no longer dependent upon sleep aids and didn’t have problems waking up early. Regular morning rides were just what I needed to create a normal circadian sleep rhythm.

The Takeaway

It doesn’t take much to receive all the many benefits of exercise. If you’re like me, once you get started your discipline becomes habit. Once you create a new habit it becomes really easy to maintain that habit. This is the biggest mistake most new cyclists make when it comes to getting on the bike for the first time or getting back on the bike. Trying to do to much right out of the gate. When I was racing our coach used to always preach that in the time trial to ease into the pace and not to shoot out the gate to hard. Treat your health like a time trial. Ease into the pace and eventually you’ll be putting the hammer down!

How can 10 mins a day change your life? Leave a comment below.

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