Cycling is one of those activities that seems to have done well during the COVID 19 lockdown. There are reports that bicycle sales have increased over the lockdown period which would indicate that more people are taking to cycling for exercise. The large cities in Australia are tackling social distancing on public transport and suggesting people ride a bike to work rather than catch the train.
It’s easy to socially distance when cycling and so a great opportunity to catch up with a fellow cyclist friend. With this in mind it is worth going over a few aspects of becoming a better biker.
There are 2 components that are important to helping you towards that goal of becoming a better cyclist:
- a proper targeted, structured and regular training regime.
- Ensuring enough rest and recovery time – which is often overlooked
Like any sport, to become better at riding your bike to need to train. That means you need to push your body physically to improve. The same applies with any activity – to improve you need to do it and push yourself to get a training effect.
A structured training regime will ensure you don’t over -reach and help push you enough to improve performance but without overdoing things which can often lead to injury. If you are starting out new and are on the older side of 40 years and up – make sure your training goes up in small increments. Older bodies need more time to adapt to increased physical demands.
Your muscles will adapt with targeted training sessions, and importantly the rest periods are critical to assist recovery and muscle adaption so you can perform better. When rest periods – which includes adequate sleep and nutrition- give your body the opportunity to make the necessary physiological adaptations from the training. Poor recovery times can often lead to declining performance.
There are many apps out there that will provide you with a structured and targeted training regime. They will give you time to recover so you can continue to improve.
There are a few other things worth mentioning about cycling regarding recovering from injuries.
Firstly, cycling is great for rehabilitating knee injuries. It is repetitive work that will strengthen the quadriceps muscles which plays a key role in knee strength. The cycling action will not overstress the knee joint and so is a safer way to rehabilitate and strength the knee joint.
Secondly, cycling can play havoc with neck and lower back injuries. Not always – but worth keeping in mind. The problem lies in the position – hunched forward and head titled up when you are riding. If you happen to have a chronic lower back injury that you know is aggravated by sitting for long periods, ease into cycling with care and make sure you stretch your hamstrings and hip joint muscles well before and after each ride.
Cycling is a wonderful activity – remember safety first on the road and avoid the punctures!
Hope this helps, Deb