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Many are taking to the roads and cycling during COVID-19 for exercise.

When cycling is part of your training program, you must build up your training sessions gradually by starting with a 30-minute period and then increasing a few minutes each day. A training period of 45 minutes is good with a proper warm-up and cool down period. The cyclist must take care not to overdo it and to constantly check their pulse rate.

The objective is to hold it above 120 beats per minute but under 150. You will find that you have a certain pulse rate at which you'll level off.

Cycling helps increase your cardiovascular endurance by maintaining or even increasing oxygen capacity. It causes less trauma than running, especially involving knee injuries. It improves your ability to run uphill by increasing the oxidative capacity of the Vastus Lateralis muscle. As this muscle's oxidative capacity improves, it also improves its ability to do extended work.

When you increase your leg speed in cycling through the technique of 'spinning", or pedaling rapidly in low gear, this in turn reduces the forces that your muscles and joints must transmit to the pedals, which will reduce the wear, tear, and fatigue on your body.

Cycling also helps to increase flexibility in the hip and knee joints by stretching the connective tissue while the impact of running tends to tighten the connective tissue around the joints.

When you think about the jarring impact of the feet upon the pavement when running, a force of about 375 pounds repeated approximately 1700 times per mile, cycling makes a lot of sense.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Dr. Weiss is a veteran of 35 marathons. For more information go to