Cycle Fitness #1
Welcome to the first of our fitness and therapy Blogs. It is our aim through these blogs to open dialogue with you, discussing the topics that matter most. Whether you are a regular cyclist or not, we will try to explore some of the common areas of cycling fitness and the benefits; along with cycling injuries, how they may occur, how to avoid them, and their potential treatment.
If you have a particular issue you would like discussed please contact us and we will do our best to offer you help and advice.
To get us started here a few things to think about over the winter months.
Love it or loathe it winter is upon us again.
The temptation to ease off exercising, hibernate and enjoy the festivities of the season are high. It takes willpower, determination and self belief to overcome this feeling, but the benefits outweigh the difficulties and are extremely worthwhile. Firstly, you will have gained 5 month’s additional regular exercise, self esteem will rise and you’ll be ahead of the game come the New Year’s resolution season.
Winter is the time to be imaginative with your exercise regime, whether you are a regular competitive cyclist, weekend warrior or family cyclist. Look for variety from your regular routine. It may be time to look at alternative routes, negotiate some trails, add in strength and conditioning, rehabilitate a niggling injury, adopt a flexibility or yoga routine, or simply find some fun alternatives to see you through the long dark nights.
Here are a few suggestions to keep you on top of your game.
- Roller workouts (rolling road) – great for core strength and improving bike handling
- Mountain Bike sessions – roadies you’re getting wet and muddy anyway!
- Spin classes – a break away from the misery of winter
- Hour Power session – if you have access to equipment measuring WATTS in the gym or home
- Weight training – often neglected by cyclists but can increase power and control
- Nordic ski or Stepper gym equipment – you’ll be surprised the gains you can make
- Heavy gear or Pace increase turbo trainer sets
- Night riding – buy those lights you keep looking at and get out
- Stretching or yoga – let’s be honest we should all do it but always find an excuse not to
- Try out Cyclocross – stay competitive in a new environment
- For those of you who prefer the gym at this time of year use this time to try something new and freshen up your exercise regime. Try the equipment you have been avoiding all year, increase the level your working at, try a different program on the equipment: be it treadmill, X-trainer, stationary bike, or join an exercise class, there are plenty to choose from or simply ask an instructor to surprise you with something new.
The only way your body and fitness will improve is by responding and adapting to new stresses.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes” Billy Connolly
As Billy suggests, the right clothing is key to continuing training outdoors, but for the uninitiated there are a boggling variety of clothing and materials to choose from and prices appear high, although you do generally get what you pay for. If you work on the basic three layer system you can’t go far wrong.
Firstly, a thermal base layer to maintain body heat.
Secondary, a breathable thin layer for comfort and further insulation.
Thirdly, a weather proofing layer, be it waterproof, shower proof or wind resistant to keep the worst of the weather out.
Another obvious consideration for the dark winter conditions is visibility. Many of the layered items above are available in high visibility materials and designs, so talk to local stockist for advice and availability.
Hats and gloves can be of lightweight insulating material, good enough to fend off the chill and small enough to put in a pocket when not required. For more severe conditions consider layered gloves. Personally I use Seal Skinz gloves and socks to keep the wet out and a Buff as a neck warmer, hat or balaclava. (www.sealskinz.com, www.buffwear.co.uk). Arm warmers are a popular choice and surprisingly effective not only in keeping your arms warm, but your hands too. I suffer with poor circulation and have always had difficulty with my hands, which is not helpful when trying to negotiate Welsh mountain bike trails, but the arm warmers have been a revelation.
We hope something in this article has struck a chord and inspired you to try something new this winter. Keep an eye out next month for an overview of cycling injuries and their treatment which we will expand on throughout the year. If you have any specific requests feel free to contact the Bike Adventures team.