Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve your health, or you just want to take up a pastime, you might be thinking about taking up cycling. When you head to the store, however, you may be surprised to find picking out a bike is more challenging than you thought. Why? Because there are so many different types of bikes, and the differences are far beyond aesthetics. In fact, except for having two wheels, the different types of bicycles couldn’t be more different. That’s because different types of bikes are specifically designed for different types of cycling disciplines.
So, how do you go about picking out the right pick for you? Well, to start, you need to decide which type of cycling you’d like to partake in. Mountain, road, BMX, track; there are so many different options to choose from. There are two other styles that are even more basic than the aforementioned styles, and in fact, they’re pretty much the foundation of more specific disciplines: uphill and flat cycling.
What is uphill and flat cycling? What’s the difference between the two? Which is better for strength and which is better for stamina? To find the answers to these questions and more – and to decide whether uphill or flat cycling is the better option for you – keep on reading!
What is uphill cycling?
Uphill cycling, as the name suggests, refers to riding a bike uphill; however, it’s more nuanced than that. In order to successfully ascend a steep incline, you need to approach it with a lot of acceleration. Once you start your way up that hill, you have to maintain a steady cadence. Essentially, it’s a resistance exercise, and in order to continue climbing and make it to the top of the hill, you must fight against the resistance that the hill provides.
Benefits of uphill cycling
Whether you dread it or not, cycling uphill offers several benefits, some of the most notable of which include:
- Boosts cardiovascular health. Uphill cycling is an intense form of cardiovascular exercise, and like all types of cardio, it improves your overall cardiovascular health, and minimizes the risk of other types of ailments, like heart disease and diabetes.
- Burns fat. You need to exert more energy in order to make it up those hills. In order to cycle uphill, you have to push yourself much harder than you would if you’re cycling over flat terrain. As a result, you’ll burn a lot more fat. As a matter of fact, a recent study found that uphill cycling burns nearly 3 times as many calories as flat cycling.
- Strengthen muscles. Uphill cycling is a full-body workout that strengthens the muscles in your legs, core, and upper body.
- Boosts sexual function. That’s right; uphill cycling will improve your performance in the bedroom. This heart-pumping exercise gets your blood flowing, which can lead to a better sex life.
And those are just some of the benefits that you’ll be able to enjoy from uphill cycling.
Uphill cycling tips
So, how can you make the most of uphill cycling? Here are some handy tips to keep in mind.
- Plan ahead. It’s important to note that size and steepness varies from hill to hill. As such, you really need to familiarize yourself with the type of hill that you will be tackling and adjust your cycling technique in order to make it to the top. Planning ahead is the best way to do just that. Map out your course so that you know what you’ll be up against.
- Pace yourself. You’ll need to spare as much energy as possible to make it up those hills, so pace yourself. Avoid burning too much effort and energy earl on, and instead, stabilize your power.
- Get in the right gear. Which gear you should use when you cycle uphill depends on your preference, so explore different gears, decide what works best for you, and adjust your gears so that tackling those gears will be easier.
- Take your time. Don’t rush yourself, otherwise you’ll burn out. Instead, take your time. Set a pace and stick with it.
What is flat cycling?
Again, the name pretty much describes this type of cycling: cycling on flat terrains. Though you may encounter some elevations every once in a while, they’re so slight that it’s likely you won’t even notice them. Since you’ll be riding on relatively flat surfaces, you won’t need as much strength and won’t have to exert as much energy as you would cycling uphill. That said, flat cycling requires more stamina.
Benefits of flat cycling
Like uphill cycling, flat cycling offers several health benefits, some of which include:
- Cardio workout. Though it isn’t as intense as uphill cycling, flat cycling is definitely a great form of cardiovascular exercise. To keep the bike moving, you need to continuously move the pedals, and the rhythmic activity of continuously moving the pedals boost your heart rate into the target heart rate zone.
- Fat and weight loss. The target heart rate zone refers to the zone where your body burns the most fat and calories. As such, flat cycling on a regular basis can lead to fat and weight loss.
- Improved overall health. Regularly engaging in flat cycling can help to reduce your risk of developing several types of ailments, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and even respiratory conditions. In other words, it can improve your overall health.
- Improved sexual performance. Just like uphill cycling, flat cycling can also boost your performance in the bedroom, as it enhances circulation.
Flat cycling tips
To make the most of flat cycling, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Maintain your cadence. To avoid getting tired out and to maintain your energy levels for long stretches, maintain a cadence between 70 and 90 rpms, steer clear of pedaling in high gear for extended periods of time.
- Change your position. Move your bottom on the saddle on a regular basis. Doing so will help to prevent your rear from getting sore, and your arms and hands from getting numb.
- Increase your distance. Increase your distance in increments. Each week, perhaps, add an extra mile onto your flat cycling trips. Doing so will surely improve your stamina.
Both uphill and flat cycling a great for your health and offer numerous benefits. To summarize, however, if you’re looking to increase your strength, uphill is the better way to go, while flat cycling is your best bet if you want to boost your stamina.