This is the second installment of a multi-part blog that discusses off-season (and on-season) activities.
Now we are into the heart of the Holiday season; post-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas. This is a minefield for me; I have the opportunity of gaining more weight than I ever want to lose! Cookies, stuffing, you name it – it’s all out there! My only defense is mindfulness. Wish me luck.
Hopefully you had an opportunity to purchase the Bike for Life book I recommended in part 1. A few people have, and the feedback is very positive.
This installment, I’d like to discuss an area in which many cyclists, including myself, really fail. Stretching. I saw a lot of eyes roll when they read that word. Yes, you know; no, you don’t want to. While cycling is a great aerobic sport, it puts you in a physical position, where your upper body remains relatively static. We have all gotten off our bikes and were unable to stand up straight. We need to stretch to return some of that lost flexibility. I personally have found that stretching has improved my endurance and made me a faster rider.
I have found that simple yoga can help a lot. Let me suggest a way to stretch effectively without having to go to yoga class and humiliate yourself! YouTube. I have watched many videos, and I have found yoga instructor, Sandy LeBlanc, to be especially kind and detail-oriented. She has two yoga videos specifically for cyclists.
The 10 Minute video is for after a ride. All the positions are done standing up, so you don’t need to sit on the gravel road next to your car! The second video – Deep Hip Opening is my favorite. It helps stretch out tight hips, which is the cause of many lower back issues.
You can watch these on your phone, PC, or smart TV. I have downloaded them to my tablet to take with me when I travel. I watch and mimic them with my wife, who is very yoga-accomplished and she likes them too. Try to do each one, once a week, even if you are not currently riding. This could be the most valuable new cycling activity you do.
Best of luck and have a happy holiday season!