When it comes to taking care of yourself, cycling is one of the best lifestyle changes to undertake. The health benefits of regular aerobic activity are innumerable, and cycling is a great way to keep your body fit. Yet, when it comes to maintaining your health, what you do off your bike can make an even bigger impact than what you do on it.
In order to get the most of your biking experience, it’s important to adopt healthy habits outside of your exercise time. Whether you are new to cycling or a seasoned veteran, here are some tips to further reap the benefits of a healthy, biking lifestyle.
The best way to keep your body in peak condition is to drink plenty of hydrating liquids! There is an abundance of fluids you can use to stay hydrated when cycling. Yet, when it comes to healthy hydration, water will always be the best choice for maintaining your wellness.
There’s a reason that water is associated with life; our body needs it to thrive! The average adult human is roughly 50-60% water. This means that we, as humans, are composed of a majority of water. When cycling, water keeps you cool through sweat, it strengthens your muscles against fatigue, and maintains inner equilibrium. This is why it’s important to be hydrated before, during, and after your cycling session!
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
It is important to get a good night’s sleep prior to exercising. The work that you achieve in your sleep can hugely benefit the work you do when you cycle!
When you sleep, your body is actively repairing and restoring itself. It does this through a protein called the human growth hormone. It is in our deepest slumber that the human growth hormone is released. This protein is propelled into your bloodstream, and actively repairs and prepares your body for a new day. This is why a good night’s sleep is imperative for a good day’s cycling!
Properly Fuel Yourself
In order to tackle a large bicycling feat, you need to properly fuel yourself for the challenge. You need to eat enough calories that you will be full and prepared for your ride.
When it comes to fueling yourself, it’s important to know that not all calories are created equal. Two hundred calories of cookies are much different than two hundred calories of bananas. The cookies may taste good, but they’re filled with refined sugars and unfulfilling additives. These empty ingredients will give you a quick rush, but will leave you drained of energy quickly after.
When choosing your diet, it helps to focus on natural sources of energy. Proteins, cruciferous vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and potassium-laden bananas are all great ways to keep yourself fueled and energized for whatever the day brings.
Stretch Your Tired Muscles
If you want to get the most out of your muscles, you need to stretch them after you go biking. Whenever you cycle, you are taking part in resistance training. This means that your legs are actively pushing and pulling against the pedals on your bike. The muscles in your legs will thusly be exerted and contracted for long periods of time. This is why you need to stretch after activity: to combat soreness and rigidity, it’s imperative to stretch out the contracted muscle.
After you go cycling, make sure to focus on each muscle group. Place an emphasis on the muscles in your legs, but also stretch out your arms and torso as well. Hold the stretch for ten to fifteen seconds, and never push anything that is painful. Breathe through each position to aerate your muscles and slowly return to normality. It is through this routine that your muscles are brought back to their normal length and preserved for many years to come!
When you go cycling, your bike, although crucial, is not the most important piece of equipment. The most important machine that you are using is yourself! You are a complex system of mechanisms, processes, and machinery. You need to properly fuel, maintain, and hydrate your machine to get the best use out of it. Through this self-care, you are empowered to get the most mileage out of your bike and, most importantly, yourself.