Stretching & Walking to keep Bicycling
As you may know I have been working on getting back to cycling and stretching is part of that process. However, I have also been thinking about how avoid problems in the future. I know this is a major concern for Professionals but what can those of us who are older and with fewer resources do.
Walking uses a very different set of muscles than bicycling and is a weight bearing exercise that strengthens muscles and bones. Research indicates that walking improves fitness for even trained athletes. A walk the night after a long ride may not be as good as a professional massage but will help you the next day. Making walking part of your cycling program will help keep you on the bike and enjoying the ride.
I believe the answer to avoiding many over use conditions is stretching and walking (plus riding a recumbent if your hands, neck, back, or butt hurt). It is when we become so obsessed with riding that we don’t have time to stretch and walk that injuries occur. Over time our addiction to bicycling builds muscle imbalances that put pressure on nerves and create other problems. If you agree, here is a great set of stretches, the best I have seen for cyclists – Stretching After Riding
I know the web page says stretching before cycling but most research shows that stretching is far more effective when the muscles have been warmed up and that is after the ride not before. Instead of stretching first, start your ride slowly and let the muscles warm up as you ride. As Bob Roll used to say, “Start slow to finish fast”.
If you like Yoga more that Andersen’s approach or are just looking for something different, take a look at Yoga for Cycling. The Yoga approach is a more sophisticated stretching system than Andersen’s with advantages if not taken to the extreme.
So learn to make stretching after your ride part of your ride and try to walk as much as possible.