Pedal your way to better heart health

Riding a bike — either outdoors or inside — can be a good way to exercise at different levels of intensity.


Image: © Susan Chiang/Getty Images

Spring's milder temperatures often encourage people to exercise outside. Riding a bike can offer a nice break from walking, the exercise that doctors recommend most often. If you're bored of your walking route and looking for bit of a challenge, consider cycling. Biking enables you to travel faster and farther than jogging or running but puts far less stress on your joints.

"I have many patients who bike, and they find it's a great way to get some exercise, especially when the weather's favorable," says Dr. Brendan Everett, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. Cycling may not burn as many calories as jogging over a given period of time, but jogging is difficult for many people, he notes. Also, you can choose a route that suits your fitness level — from a short, flat loop to a longer ride with gently rolling hills.

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