Many of the good things in my life are intertwined with bike rides.
My first date with my husband was a bike ride from Prospect Park, Brooklyn out to the ocean edge at Reese Park. As we left the city of New York behind us that day, wheels spinning beneath us, it was clear to me from that there was something special going on.
And since marriage and the two children that have come with it, we have navigated many a city street and mountain path as a family. First, our children perched on the back seat, sometimes napping, sometimes kicking us with delight. Then they progressed to trail-a-bikes. And now they lead the way, fierce mountain bikers in their own right.
So biking for me carries many a good memory. It’s been a core part of my emotional health. And it’s been a core part of how I keep my body healthy too.
When it comes to exercise, a bike may be one of the best pieces of equipment you can ever invest in. It’s easy on the body but still gives you a tremendous workout. And it opens a world of exploration to you.
But less often discussed is how a bike may become a favorite piece of office equipment for your home business. I’ve used biking effectively to help me work better and keep work in perspective.
In college, when I got on my bike for exercise, I could escape the books, deadlines and pressures. On my bike, I flew off to farm country and fields, leaving campus far behind.
I still use biking when I’m lost in a sea of work. On a bike I reconnect with my thoughts, problem solve, peddle off stress, and facilitate transitions between work and family.
It’s been an important part of my healthy home business arsenal.
So in this article you’ll get two sets of tactics. You’ll find out not only how to get the most out of your bike as an exercise tool, but also how to use it as a home business tool.
Bike To Exercise – Bike For Biz Tactic #1: Prepare Your Body
Biking is probably one of the best low-impact sports you can do. Bad knees, squeaky hips, tender ankles won’t stop you. You can still bike.
My father has terrible knees. Biking is one of the few activities he can do besides swimming.
But this being said, you can still do more to make it easier on your most vulnerable joints. By preparing your body.
When you strengthen the muscles around your joints, you take the pressure off of them causing less friction and strain.
We have a slew of exercises that strengthen your legs. And we use these diligently year-round to help with biking. The payoffs in biking pleasure are immense.
Exercises for your back and core can also help make biking more enjoyable.
With some pre-biking conditioning you’ll be strong enough to get more out each biking workout and more enjoyment.
Bike To Exercise – Bike For Biz Tactic #2: Set Your Bike Up Right
Most muscle strains on bike rides can be fixed with better equipment or resolved by adjusting your bike’s settings.
If you’re experiencing knee discomfort, make sure your seat is set so that on the upside of your peddle rotation your knee is directly over your ankle, not angled forward. And on the downside of your rotation (with your heel resting on your peddle) make sure your leg is almost straight with just a slight bend of the knee.
If you ride a road bike but your back or neck is bothering you, try a mountain bike. You sit up more with these bikes making it easier on your back.
Make sure you have a bike that is not too long so you’re straining to reach the handlebars. You should be leaning forward at a nice 45-degree angle with a slight bend of the elbows.
If your bottom is giving you pain, invest in a more cushioned seat or bike shorts with padding on the bottom.
Bike To Exercise – Bike For Biz Tactic #3: Make It Short
Like most exercise plans, we often put off biking because it just seems like such a big enterprise. Don’t – this preconception just defeats the best intentions to go out and get biking.
Instead, tell yourself you’re just going for quick ride. I’ve squeezed in short 30-minute rides before I have to get back for a client call. Knowing I have an appointment makes me ride harder.
To make up for a short ride, make it hard. Sprint hard in intervals. Spin on the downhills and really work up a sweat.
Bike To Exercise – Bike For Biz Tactic #4: Go Long And Explore
If biking is a regular activity, it can sometimes lose its appeal. It becomes utilitarian, a must-do that you just do to get it over with. Similarly, often we get so caught up in running our home businesses that we lose track of one of the best advantages of this work situation. Flexibility and control over your schedule.
So, if you’re losing your taste for biking, change things around and tell your boss (you) you’re taking the afternoon off.
Find a great destination or a place you’ve never explored and go by bike. Meet a friend for lunch, check out a new park, or even make a run to the library through a new neighborhood. You never know what you’ll discover.
Biking’s beauty is that it can take you places. I used to love exploring new neighborhoods in Brooklyn by bike. And now I explore old logging roads in New Hampshire.
Just be sure that you give yourself time to explore and carry with you essentials to make it a good trip: Hydration (like water), healthy snacks, a cell phone, money, a first-aid kit and extra layers of clothing.
Bike To Exercise – Bike For Biz Tactic #4: Make It Social
One of the dangers of working from home is that you can lose touch with other people. If you have a family, this may not be such a problem. But even then, you may be struggling to make time to spend with your children and spouse.
Biking provides a great way to remedy this. When you bike with a partner or group . . .
1. You get time with someone to talk, observe, share the moment.
2. You increase the safety factor. If you have an accident or injury, someone’s there to help. And two or more people are much less likely to be targeted for attack by someone up to no good.
3. You increase the motivation and challenge. A biking buddy can help you push over one more hill or go a little faster.
My husband and I go biking together all the time. If you got kids like we do you may also want to take the whole family on a bike ride.
Bike To Exercise – Bike For Biz Tactic #5: Make It Work For You
We live in a world of information overload where time to mull over things – actually the ability to think! – is quickly disappearing. A bike can take you away from the hubbub of the computer and restore this time and space for deeper thoughts.
Have a specific problem or project you’re stuck on? Look it over and then hop on the bike.
Nothing like putting your body in motion and focusing your conscious mind on navigating the road to let your subconscious mind do some serious problem-solving.
Copywriter Pete Savage recounts in his fantastic home biz book, The Wealthy Freelancer, how he used biking to solve a problem directly. Every afternoon, he’d plop his child into the bikeseat and take him for a ride. This little excursion helped his son take a nap, gave him a little thinking time during the workday and gave his wife a break.
Bike To Exercise – Bike For Biz Tactic #6: Make It Early
Especially in the summer when the days get hot, there is nothing like an early morning bike ride. The world is fresh and so are you.
As I’ve written before, getting some early morning activity in is better than coffee for getting your brain juices moving.
We often grab a few bites of banana or peanuts and then jump on the bike before the sun hits too hard.
Additionally, research is showing that working out when you’re in a fasting state (before you breakfast) can help you lose more weight and regulate your blood sugar better.
A hint here, however: If you’re going out before eating, make sure you bring a small snack and don’t make it too long. You want to push your body to wake up a little but not drive it into that serious hunger mode. That’s not good for you.
Bike To Exercise: Bike For Biz Tactic #7: Make It Late
When you work at home, saying goodbye to your office and hello to your family can be hard to manage each afternoon. The siren call of work seems to seep out your home office door.
For this reason an afternoon bike ride solo or with your family can serve as a great way to break things up and transition.
Better yet, often enough it’s sometimes hard after a long day of work to muster up the energy to get the next phase of life done – making dinner, helping with homework, working out sibling spats and getting a few evening chores done.
Biking, like any activity, can give you that second wind you need to get through the evening until bedtime arrives.
Bike To Exercise – Bike For Biz Tactic #8: Make It Indoors
Biking is such a good activity – but unfortunately it usually has to be done outdoors. Buying a whole separate exercise bike may seem like an unnecessary expense.
However, there’s an easy compromise for biking indoors when the weather won’t cooperate. You can put your bike on a simple stand that isolates the rear wheel. This wheel is connected to the gears and when you raise it up your bike stays in place. Voila! You’ve got an indoor stationary bike.
Not only do I use this regularly in the winter, sneaking in a few 30-second to 1-minute intervals when I need a quick pick-me-up. But it also served me well when I was pregnant.
Biking is not always so great with a big pregnant belly. Your sense of balance is off and moving quickly to navigate can be tricky. For this reason I spent lots of time during both pregnancies biking indoors on my trusty little bike stand.
Finally, a bike stand is much more affordable than a treadmill for indoor fitness options.
Get Exercising On Your Bike And Build Your Business!
Unfortunately as home business owners we can’t apply the lovely bike to work tactic that folks in the other work world can use. But we’ve got options and I’ve put a lot of them down here.
Here you have 8 great tactics for using your bike to not only keep you healthier but to also help keep your business going strong. With these tactics in mind, when you bike to exercise, bike to build your home business too.
Please share with us all other ideas you have to make this piece of fitness equipment an indispensable part of your fitness plan – and your healthy home business.
This post is part of the Your Healthy Home Biz. YHHB gives home business owners specific strategies, tips and inspiration for how to run your home business without running yourself into the ground. To get weekly tips sent right to your inbox plus the invaluable but free guide “The Easy Way To Sneak Exercise Into Your Workday And Get More Done” sign up at www.yourhealthyhomebiz.com.