Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Biking as a Lenten Practice

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Biking as a Lenten practice
By: Charles E. Buban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
11:16 pm | Friday, March 30th, 2012
The upcoming Holy Week break should be an excellent chance for us left here in the city—and with no home province to go to—to take our bicycle for a long spin.
Because traffic is expected to be light, one could safely bike around the city and at the same time, avoid the toxic exhaust fumes that smother the city’s main thoroughfares during regular days.
If you are struggling to find time to ride a bicycle around a hectic job and demanding family life, this upcoming holiday would be an excellent chance.
“Aside from the fact that one will only need a bike, a helmet and water bottle, biking also improve cardiovascular fitness as well as improve your arm-to-leg, feet-to-hands and body-to-eye coordination,” informed Dr. Adolfo Bellosillo, who is the founding president of the Foundation for Lay Education on Heart Diseases.
The head of the Makati Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation and Preventive Cardiology Unit added that biking is a good way to lose those unwanted weight. Steady and moderate cycling burns about 300 calories per hour while at the same time, builds muscles and boosts metabolic rate long after finishing the ride.
Bellosillo, however, gave these useful advice and reminders to make biking during the Lent fun, healthy as well as accident-free.
  1. Tell yourself that biking during this Lent will improve the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional parts of yourself since you will be giving up if not cutting back on harmful behaviors, and increasing behaviors that contribute to a consistent sense of well-being.In fact, why not arrange a bike tour that benefits a charitable organization or a needy individual.
  2. Follow the traffic law. It would be very stupid to race through a red light when there’s cross traffic or go to the middle lane when you know fast vehicles would be using this particular lane.
  3. If you are planning to ride a bike, don’t skip breakfast because undereating in the morning usually leads to increased calorie consumption later. Remember that eating breakfast replenishes your liver glycogen stores (which typically dip while you sleep), which you will need to stabilize your blood sugar while you bike.
  4. Choose food that is low in fat, and avoid very sugary foods. Try bananas or other fresh fruits if you’re going on a long or very strenuous ride.Remember that you could also eat pasta or rice before a bike ride, but not within the hour before you go out.
  5. Tag along younger members of the family since this will ensure that lifelong skills of safe biking are ingrained at an early age. This encourages a healthy lifestyle, boosts confidence and develops independence.
  6. Avoid biking against the traffic because when you are riding the wrong way there’s a huge chance of getting hit by a vehicle making a right turn from a side street, driveway, or parking lot. Motorists will not be able to see you immediately because they were looking the other way considering they do not expect someone would be coming at them from the wrong direction.
  7. If you are getting too breathless to talk, slow down a bit until you are breathing more easily. This is probably the most important reminder from Bellosillo.
It is still best to consult your doctor when thinking about incorporating biking into an overall fitness program as he or she shall advise you regarding your limits and capacities and what you should avoid doing. “Becoming fitter does not mean pushing yourself to the limits and you don’t have to be a brilliant biker to enjoy pleasure and health benefits,” Bellosillo said

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