With the sun shining and the days long, the summer is a perfect time to look at getting fit. Sport is all around us with Wimbledon just finished, the Women’s Euro football, England cricket and the Tour de France all upon us. So what better way to get fit than take inspiration from the professionals.
Cycling is close to my heart having ridden across Europe ten years ago; and the biggest thing I learned about it back then is that anyone can do it. Regardless of your current fitness levels or how long ago you last sat on a bike, you could use this summer to get fit and enjoy some lovely Hampshire countryside.
Once you get over the rustiness of your legs (and perhaps bike in my case) you can get benefit from any distance, incline or speed. If you are starting out it maybe laps around a field or short road route that best suits, allowing you to stop if needed and gauge your level.
It's great for your health
Not only do you get to see your local countryside at a nice pace but cycling is great for stamina, strength and stability (three key ingredients to physical balance). Make sure your bike is set up correctly and if you are not sure, consult your local bike shop. This set up allows your to create maximum power whilst maintaining efficiency.
Cycling is a great way to improve lung capacity and endurance in your muscles. VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen you can take into your body) is highest amongst cyclists and cross country skiers. Whilst you may not find much snow around in this weather, uptake of oxygen is great for all around health and stamina.
Using the gears on a bike can help you build muscle strength in your legs and low back. If you are riding up hill, stand up off the saddle and push with your whole legs to get a more full workout.
Cycling is known as a closed chain exercise (you are attached to the machine). Closed chain exercises help to provide joint position feedback to your brain and thus increase stability.
If you do head out on your bike, be sure to always cycle safely. Wear a helmet, long clothing to cover bare skin and use headlights when dark. If you haven’t ridden your bike for many months or more, do get it serviced before using it too.
Most importantly have fun!
Joe Allnutt - Director & Osteopath
Read more about Joe in 'Our Team' section