With the weather finally making a turn for the better, many people are back hitting the road on their bikes. The Centre for Fitness Health and Performance has been very passionate about cycling in recent years - having ridden and helped hundreds of cyclists with organizations such as the Jack Ride for mental health, Hardwood Hills Epic 8, Collingwood's Centurion, and the Morning Glory Cycling Club.
We would like to share with you a few quick cycling tips to both improve your performance and protect you from strain or injury. If you are an avid cyclist or if you have a cycling related injury, we strongly encourage you to come into our clinic for an initial assessment so you can get back in the saddle pain free!
1. Warm-up and stretch before your ride. Having a good preparation routine before your ride is very important to reduce injury risk, especially early in the cycling season. Tight hip flexors, low back and neck/shoulders are a common areas of concern.
2. Take the weight off your shoulders - Always ride with your shoulders relaxed and elbows slightly bent. This will help to prevent muscle fatigue caused by over-tensing your muscles and also helps with shock absorption to reduce strain through joints of your wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and midback.
3. Change your posture on the bike. If you’re often in a drop down position, switch to a more upright posture with spine straight and check for proper handlebar height a few times during your ride. Also be sure to let up on your grip and shake out each hand every once in a while to prevent numbness and tingling in your hands.
4. Proper breathing technique is so important for optimizing your performance. Focus on deep inhales and exhales early in your ride to activate your cardiovascular system.
5. Properly hydrate and nourish your body before, during and after ride. Preparing and restoring water, electrolytes and nutrients is vital in aiding recovery and reducing fatigue and soreness.
6. Mindfulness activity before your ride is a great practice. This allows you to disengage from all the stress and distraction of daily life and enter into your ride with calm and focus. You will be more in-tune with your body (to know how hard to push on any given day) and be more aware to make quick decisions. You will also appreciate and enjoy your ride that much more!
Ride safe everyone and have a great cycling season!