Recover Fast from Injury – Get Back on the Bike

February 27, 2014

Bike Fit at BikeParts.comEnthusiastic recreational riders and competitive athletes can make early season training errors.  Namely, taking on too much physical activity too quickly. Going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of one type of physical activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury.

Injury is among one of the most challenging experiences you can face as a cyclist. When you’re injured, you almost certainly can’t ride in the way to which you’ve become accustomed–and you’re often not able to ride at all. Obviously, the first rule of thumb is to avoid injury in the first place!  But when an injury or a crash happens, how can you recover from an injury faster?

In the same way that you have goals when you are training and competing, you should have goals set for your rehabilitation. Instead of focusing on what you are missing from not training, focus on what you have to do to heal faster.

Focus on nutrition.  You are what you eat.  If injury is preventing you from sticking to your cycling training plan, consider watching what you eat!  Not to avoid gaining weight, but to improve your recovery time.  The post, What Can I Eat to Recover from Injury?  illustrates the role of omega-3 fats, protein, glucose, and herbal supplements in injury prevention and recovery. What you eat can affect your mindset, motivation, and outlook.

Focus on strengthening your weakness.  Substitute your ride time for other supportive activities. Consider heading to the gym to lift weight and do core workouts.  Or, maybe focusing on stretching and yoga would be most beneficial.  According to the post, Yoga for Cyclist, cyclists need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but they also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength.  If you are new to yoga, you may want to experiment with different types of yoga to see which works best for you. Yoga offers many varieties and styles from the slow pace of Hatha yoga, to the fast vigorous pace of Ashtanga yoga. All styles can be beneficial but the most applicable for cyclists are styles that focus on continuous movement. Styles such as Ashtanga, Power, and Kundalini are steady flowing, work through a full range of movements and build great muscle endurance.

Focus on your bike.  Can the Right Bike Parts Make a Difference in Injury Prevention? In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit. Whether you’ve just sustained an injury or you are in recovery, consider the benefits of a professional bike fit.  Having the right bike parts and bike fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries.

Focus on Data.  Data, as in metrics, biofeedback, and a training log offer keen insights into your recovery.  The post, 5 Ways to Use Data to Recover from Injury, suggests different ways to track soreness, mood, fatigue, motivation, sleep hours, and sleep quality as key metrics in your recovery program.

Ultimately, training is all about stressing your body with hard workouts, and then letting your body adapt to that load. If you push too far, injury and crashes happen.  While many riders understand that recovery is key to getting back on the bike, oftentimes they fail to take their recovery as seriously as they do their training.  Heal faster.  Focus on overall recovery, stretching, hydrating, and resting.  Soon, you’ll be back on the bike in no time with added gains towards overall sports performance.

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Yoga and Cycling: What’s In It For You?

January 30, 2014

shutterstock_139589627Cycling has many healthful benefits.  Yet, it’s not a complete exercise in itself.  Meaning,  regular stretching is needed to lengthen and stretch the muscles to keep them optimum for prolonged riding.  Have you ever wondered if yoga is for you?  According to the post, Yoga for Cyclist, cyclists need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but they also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength.

You might wonder why to do yoga over a quick stretch here or there? Where yoga excels over the usual stretch-it-out routine is thoroughness. A simple yoga routine can warm up, strengthen and stretch all the major muscles groups before you’ve even started targeting anything specific.

Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins’ benefits from the focus it brings to his cycling, while others, such as pro mountain biker and Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, use yoga to gain strength. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.

The next question – how to get started?  Consider first where you are in your training and racing season.  In the offseason yoga can be used as a workout to build strength, whereas during the peak season it should be used as a recovery tool.

Next, if you are new to yoga, you may want to experiment with different types of yoga to see which works best for you. Yoga offers many varieties and styles from the slow pace of Hatha yoga, to the fast vigorous pace of Ashtanga yoga. All styles can be beneficial but the most applicable for cyclists are styles that focus on continuous movement. Styles such as Ashtanga, Power, and Kundalini are steady flowing, work through a full range of movements and build great muscle endurance.

Another option to consider is whether or not you want to take a class, opt for an online course, or just follow along with pictures in a blog post like this one.  There are tons of videos available to purchase too.

Many cyclist struggle with having enough time to ride their road bike  much less make time for yoga.  Yet, online yoga classrooms are starting to cater specifically to the athlete-turned-yogi making it easier to fit yoga into the day. One in particular, YogaGlo, has an entire section dedicated to yoga for cyclists with classes ranging from 5 minutes up to a full 60 minute class and targeting everything from shortening recovery time to supporting your knees. They also offer a 15-day free trial for new members, so you’ve nothing to lose.  A nice option considering you can check the program out without compromising the purchase of upcoming bike parts  for the new season.

Some other great yoga resources include:

  • My Yoga Online – yoga video classes offering a huge range of styles and classes for working specific areas or issues.
  • Yoga Journal – online yoga magazine with a comprehensive index of yoga poses, including correct alignment, how to safely perform the pose and benefits.
  • Google – find out where your nearest yoga studio is, and get signed up!

If you are a cyclist and haven’t started doing yoga than what are you waiting for? Yoga could just be the missing piece in your daily routine.