Have you ever felt you should be doing more to keep fit, but the idea of spending hours in the gym sends shivers down your spine? We know the feeling. These days, both adults and children are constantly warned about the dangers of being a couch potato, so many feel it’s high time they did something about it.

At Ski & Trek, we are firm believers in leading an active lifestyle, whether you’re wiling away hours on the slopes or breathing in the fresh air of the Great British countryside, there really is no denying that spending time exercising in the outdoors is beneficial for our mental and physical health. To mark the release of our latest cyclewear lines, we have put the spotlight firmly on cycling as a hobby that can help people of all ages keep fit.

If you’re new to this pastime, you may feel you don’t know where to start, or even why you should be cycling in the first place. So, we’ve put together this handy guide to tell you everything you need to know.

Why should I cycle?

It can feel a little frustrating when you’re constantly being nagged into exercise, but we’re huge supporters of leading a healthy lifestyle, and we want to help our customers make the right choices. The fact is, cycling regularly can help you lose weight, but not only that, your fitness will improve and also your stress levels.

According to data from the NHS, cycling is the third most popular recreational activity among individuals in the UK, with 3.1 million people riding a bicycle every month. One of the main reasons for this is accessibility. With the right equipment, virtually anyone can enjoy cycling, from toddlers and able-bodied adults to young children and people with disabilities.

It’s also easy to fit into your everyday routine. Substituting getting the bus or driving to work for a bike ride, or swapping your weekly jog (which can be damaging to your knees and ankles) for a picturesque cycle couldn’t be easier. Not only that, strapping on your helmet and cycling to your chosen destination is a great way to save money, and that's not even mentioning the environmental benefits.

What do I need?

First and foremost, having a quality helmet is absolutely essential for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Riding your bike on busy roads with other vehicles is not without its risks, so it is vital the appropriate safety gear is worn to lower the chances of a serious injury should a collision occur.

Your helmets should be marked to prove it meets the British Standards, while it should fit on to the head comfortably and snugly. In terms of position, it should sit just above the eyebrows, and should not tilt back. The straps should not be twisted, and there should only be room enough for two fingers between the chin and the strap.

While other cyclewear is optional, it is certainly worth investing in appropriate clothing - such as specialised shorts, tops and waterproofs - if this hobby is likely to turn into something more serious.

Trouble staying motivated?

When you introduce a new form of exercise into your routine, it can be all too tempting to have the odd rest day here and there. However, you'll soon find you’re having more days off than days spent keeping fit. Therefore, you need to find ways of making this new activity a part of your everyday life. Why not download a cycle journey planner to keep a record of everything you do while out and about? Looking back at the progress you’ve made could help you stay motivated, while also keeping track of your results.

Another way to ensure you stick to your exercise plan is by cycling to work or school. Commuting by bike is a great way to avoid the packed trains and traffic jams that are commonplace during rush hour - and you can rest easy knowing you’re doing your bit for the environment as well. If you’re the parent of a younger child, why not accompany them on their way to school? It’s a great way to ensure they stay safe, while helping you get fit too.

We know that cycling the same route every day can very quickly turn into a bit of a chore, so we’d advise keeping up your habit at the weekends as well. Biking for pleasure means you and your family can see some of the fantastic places the countryside has to offer.

Our advice

As the old saying goes, variety is the spice of life, and we’re firm believers of this at Ski & Trek. No matter how old you are, with a few minor changes to your routine, cycling could become a part of your everyday routine, and we are confident that you’ll start to feel the benefits very quickly. Obviously, staying safe and having the right equipment is key, and we’re here to offer you the best advice on clothing and accessories to keep you safe on the road.

You can expect plenty more from us in the coming weeks as we delve deeper into the health benefits of cycling, along with a few fun blogs that show how cycling has changed through the decades. Stay tuned!