Motivation Comments Off on Health Benefits of Regular cycling |

Health Benefits of Regular cycling

They say you can never forget to ride a cycle, so maybe now is the time to hop on and see the benefits that regular cycling has on your overall health says Deepthi Velkur

We often hear people making excuses for not finding time to indulge in some form of physical activity or they find themselves too tired to move a muscle after a hard day’s work, but, we often forget the benefits of performing a regular physical activity. Doing something physical keeps us active and reduces the risk of developing a serious health condition associated with our sedentary lifestyles. There are many ways to improve our lifestyle, but nothing can beat cycling.

Cycling is a low-impact exercise which is healthy, fun and enjoyable for people of all age groups. It makes for a fun group activity to do with friends and family and really helps spend quality time with them.

Taking your bicycle to work (big dependency on traffic and weather here!) or even to the store close by is an excellent way of building a regular exercise routine into your daily routine and it helps the environment too!

Riding a bicycle every day can turn the wheel of our lives for the better. How you ask? Read on to know more:

Improves your cardiovascular function: Cycling being an aerobic activity makes your heart, lungs and blood vessels to work out as well. Regular cycling helps bring down your blood pressure, lowers your calorie count limiting your chance of being overweight and increases the heart rate thereby pumping blood to the rest of the body.

Promotes weight-loss and tones the muscle:Cycling is an effective routine to do if you want to lose weight. It helps burn calories and works on multiple muscle groups such as quads, hamstrings, calves, biceps, glutes, shoulders, and back muscles. The number of calories you burn during a cycling activity ranges from 400 – 1000/per hour depending on the intensity with which you ride. So, in addition to losing fat, you will also tone your muscles.

Improved Posture:When we cycle, we end up doing a lot of balancing without even being aware of it. This balancing act helps improve our posture, develop better full -body coordination and strengthens our upper body muscles.

Reduced Stress: Any form of physical exercise brings down your stress and so does cycling. It keeps your mind healthy, helps to introspect your problems with a calm mind and you feel less helpless in dealing with your problems.

Improved mental well-being: Any aerobic activity releases endorphins and the adrenaline rush uplifts your mood making you have a happier outlook on life, boosts confidence that comes from accomplishing new goals you set for yourself.

You sleep better: Cycling boosts your sleep quality and is especially effective for those suffering from insomnia. Try riding a bike in the evenings as this is known to help you sleep better. However, you can also ride in the morning as it will keep you active through the day and help you fall asleep quicker at night.

Kind to the environment: Riding a cycle doesn’t require you to burn fuel – you protect the environment by decreasing pollution and lowering the demand for fuel. World over, several countries are encouraging their citizens to ride to and from work or school. It is definitely a healthy and sustainable option.

As a child, most of us would get out on our cycles and feel the road flying beneath our wheels; it reminds us of a feeling of freedom and release. That doesn’t get old. It’s still there. Riding around corners and whizzing past with the wind in your face makes you feel like a kid again.

So, there you have it – researchers have me convinced that cycling will add days to my life, and the child inside me has learned that it adds life to my days. Both are valuable lessons.

So, let’s all keep moving and keep discovering.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Training Comments Off on How do you train for a long-distance cycle ride |

How do you train for a long-distance cycle ride

There’s little that can beat the beautiful simplicity of a bike ride but you need to prepare well so you have a stress-free ride says Deepthi Velkur .  

A good long ride with the fading sun warming your back and the cool wind in your face is probably one of the most gratifying cycling experiences there is.

Amateur and relatively seasoned cyclists alike, dream big of achieving the “century ride”- a distance of 160.9km (or 100 miles). There is nothing quite like the feeling you experience riding through the most scenic locations on two wheels. Despite the tired legs and weary back, you put in that little extra to discover new lanes, explore new places and create new memories on each ride.

As you start preparing for that long-distance ride, I would like to put out a couple of words of caution –be prepared!

Any such endeavour requires you to have great stamina, thorough planning, and strong mental courage. This can be achieved through high-level endurance training (core, flexibility, and muscular strength) as well as building your aerobic and lactic acid capacity that will help tackle those long gruesome rides effectively.

I have a few simple suggestions that will be of help to make the most of your rides.

Set clear goals:I have mentioned this is in several of my articles and I cannot stress the point enough – setting small and realistic milestones always comes in handy in achieving your end goal. It is equally important to re-visit your goals every few weeks and make alterations till you achieve what you’ve set out for.

Training week: For endurance cycling, building your base fitness is important. Your training regimen should include interval training two to three times a week, strength building exercises every other day and stretching post training to improve flexibility and stiffness.

Build your aerobic threshold by going on long rides at a steady and low-intensity pace twice a week. Going the distance is all about endurance and that is in finding an optimal pace – keep your threshold level at approximately 75% of your maximum heart rate. Invest in a good heart rate monitor to get a more precise reading. 

Beat bonking: Start with a good breakfast that includes lots of carbs and less protein especially on training or event days. Carry enough food and water with you on your ride and adjust your intake of food depending on how far out you plan to ride.Eat that little something one hour into your ride and every 30-45mins thereafter. Refueling with a drink or meal containing 1:4 ratio of protein to carbs will speed up recovery by quickly replenishing glycogen stores to avoid the dreaded bonk.

A pair of good padded shorts:  Cycling is fairly a low-intense sport and over the course of 80, 95, 160 kms it is not that your legs will tire out but you will begin to feel every bump on the way through your neck, shoulders, hand, and butt. Investing in a good pair of shorts with lots of padding and by changing your posture and position every now and then, helps relieve you of aches and pains in certain areas of the body. 

Mind over matter:Unfortunately, it is our mind that usually gives up first. Imagine how frustrating it is when you have been riding for a while and covered 1\4thof the distance. Fear not, train well and push negative thoughts away – just focus on the ride ahead. Going on long rides work best with a group of friends as you tend to go faster, conserve energy and focus better.

Divide the distance by two: No matter what distance you’re aiming at covering, the best approach is to divide the distance as two halves. The first half is usually easy and will seem like your spinning along while the second half will have your muscles working hard. During this half, please do not forget to refuel when required. Push yourself harder this time to achieve the best results. 

Watch the winds and foresee trouble: Winds can favor your ride or work against you. If you start out with a tailwind, roll easy and you’ll face with the headwind on your way home. When riding in a group, stay together during headwind stretches as each of you can take turns at the front sheltering the ones behind. Carrying emergency gear on your ride comes handy if you need to fix anything on your bike.

Adding a few of these tips in your preparation will bolster the training and help you achieve a comfortable, satisfying ride. Have fun! 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

Read more