Cycling is really really great – now do something else

For some of us, there is a point where we can cross the line; we forget that other things can be fun besides cycling. We set our schedules around our rides, and forget about the importance of budgeting some energy and time for other activities. For you who’s lower back is weak, or achy, for those who’s shoulders are rolled forward even as you read this, READ THIS, and then go do something else.

I’m talking about the vital importance of cross-training. Being in the same position for a long period of time can strengthen some muscles and weaken others, causing imbalances in the body (have you rolled your shoulders back yet?). We know this from the warnings we hear about staying in the same position in our office chair. This is also the case with riding a bike consistently, and for extended periods of time (more than one hour per ride). Road riders can be particularly susceptible, because roadies hold their position far more than mountain bikers. Road riders are also more likely to be less upright, more bent over, thus increasing the stretch on the lower back, and making the spine an even less weight bearing position. However, this does NOT mean that mountain bikers are in the clear. Mountain biking has also been known to cause lower back weaknesses, particularly in women. The bottom line is, if you only do exercise that is non-weight bearing,  you are likely not just to weaken some muscle groups causing imbalances in the body, but can also weaken some bones. Bones need weight bearing exercise to keep strong and healthy. When bone density decreases, it eventually causes Osteopenia (the predecessor to Osteoporosis). For cyclists the bones that are most likely to be effected are the vertebrae in the lower back. It is a particularly insidious condition, in that it can creep up on the avid cyclist very easily. For more information about this, read this article from the LA Times :

Cycling Can Shortchange Your Bones

So this is a warning to those who find it hard to get off your bike. Get off your bike and do something else. Run, hike, do yoga, make love, go to the gym; anything but the bike. Remember, everything in moderation (including moderation 😉 ).

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2 Responses to “Cycling is really really great – now do something else”

  1. Atomic Bombshell Says:

    You’re absolutely right. I love cycling so much that I neglect weight training, and I really shouldn’t do that. Thank you for the reminder!

  2. Monsieur Says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Monsieur.

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