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Cycling on a stationary bike is an excellent cardio workout that targets your quads, calves and core, all while increasing your heart rate and rate of breathing. According to LiveStrong, riding a stationary bike for just 30 minutes will burn up to 300 calories. However, there are a few things you should know before getting on the stationary bike.

#1) Stretch

Spend five to 10 minutes stretching your body before using a stationary bike. Stretching improves blood flow and muscle flexibility while reducing the risk of injury in the process.

When stretching, lift one of your knees and gently hold it against your chest for five seconds, after which you can bring it down and repeat with the other knee. It’s also a good idea to stretch your shoulders by lifting your arms above your head and rotating your shoulders like you are shrugging.

#2) Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during and after using a stationary bike. Why is this important? Well, assuming you cycle at a moderate pace, you’ll lose a substantial amount of body moisture through perspiration. And if you don’t consume enough water, you’ll become dehydrated, resulting in muscle cramps and fatigue. This is why most seasoned athletes and gym rats bring a water bottle to use while cycling on a stationary bike.

#3) Adjust the Handlebars

One of the first things you’ll want to do after getting on a stationary bike is adjust the handlebars. Nearly all gym-grade bikes have adjustable handlebars. Lowering them will make you feel more aerodynamic, but this doesn’t offer any real benefit since you are indoors. Raising the handlebars, on the other hand, allows you cycle upright, which many people find to be more comfortable. Adjust the handlebars until you find a height that works best for your needs.

#4) Adjust the Seat

In addition to the handlebars, you should also adjust the seat. Ideally, the seat should be about the same height as your hip when standing. This will allow you to pedal while creating just a slight bend of 5 to 15 degrees in your knees when fully extended. If the seat is too low, your knees will have a greater bend, causing increased stress and restricting your ability to pedal.

#5) Watch Your Knees

Stationary bikes have a low risk of injury when compared to other exercise machines and equipment. However, it’s still a form of impact exercise, meaning it places stress on the joints and supporting structures. One area of the body, in particular, that’s susceptible to injury when using a stationary bike is the knees. If you experience swelling, redness or pain in your knees, stop using the stationary bike and wait for the symptoms to subside.

#6) Pedal With the Balls of Your Feet

You should pedal a stationary bike by pressing down with the balls of your feet. Some people have a tendency to pedal with their toes, which reduces their performance and increases the risk of injury. Be conscious of your posture when using a stationary bike and pedal with the balls of your feet, not your toes.

#7) Familiarize Yourself with the Digital Display

Finally, familiarize yourself with the stationary bike’s digital display. Most models allow riders to change the resistance setting on the display. Some also support incline settings to make it more challenging. Start with the low settings and gradually increase the resistance settings until you find the right difficulty level for your needs.

Riding a stationary bike is a fun way to burn calories and tone your body. To reap the most benefit from this workout, though, you should follow the seven tips listed here.

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Why You Should Stop Chasing Happiness and Let It Come to You

Do you pursue happiness instead of giving it the chance to find you? Many people imagine they need to seek joy, pounce on it, and hold it tightly. Realistically, though, you can’t hunt for happiness; it’s the result of positive thoughts and accepting the flow of life. Don’t chase a blissful existence, and you just might have one. Let’s look at why striving for happiness won’t make you happy.

Trying too hard thwarts your efforts

When you attempt to capture happiness, you’re forced to look at unhappiness. You have to conclude joy’s inadequate before you seek more. Once you recognize you lack bliss, the journey begins. You strap on your rifle and head into the wilds to bag your trophy.

You judge your thoughts and behavior, trying to get rid of negativity, but your prize is elusive. As you focus on obliterating challenges, the natural flow of life stops. You no longer observe incidents that support happiness, and you miss wonder and spontaneity.

Acceptance of life’s ups and downs makes you happier

No matter how hard you try to make every moment joyful, you won’t succeed. Life is full of contrasts, which means you will meet highs and lows. Embracing impermanence and unpredictability puts your mind at rest; you recognize you don’t need to waste energy trying to control events.

Once you accept you’ll sometimes be happy and at others sad, you won’t think the downs of life suggest failure. Instead, you can see adversity as normal, and even helpful if you delve deep. After all, challenges assist growth, and the wiser you are, the easier it is to be happy.

How positive thinking brings happiness

Happiness-seekers often reason positive thoughts must be uplifting. It’s helpful to focus on ideas that inspire, but positive thoughts aren’t always Pollyanna-like, they are constructive. When you face hard times, it won’t help to believe everything’s superb. Useful ideas, though, bring solutions, and improvements increase confidence.

Chasing happiness is like running after prey instead of waiting for it to appear. The more you hound your quarry, the faster it runs away. Sit tight, accept the natural rhythm of life, and aim to think constructively. Don’t try to find happiness, it will come to you.

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