If you want to become a better cyclist, then do yoga and meditation.
This is still a relatively ‘new’ concept to a lot of cyclists, but I can assure you that your legs/body/mind will feel the goodness that both can bring to the organs, cells and nerve system within just a month of practice.
The Benefits of Yoga for a Cyclist
I started doing regular yoga in 2009. This time was in my early years of bike racing, and I was curious as to what yoga could potentially do for my mental state, my well being and my body. It was subtle changes I noticed that over the years have resulted in dramatic changes on the bike. The weekly routine of yoga, including deep breathing and stretching the body out aids the body. Firstly, the organs are aligned and used to their full capacity. Plus, yoga quietens the brain from the ‘chit chat’. Yoga has done wonders for my general state of well-being on a bike and has increased my body’s ability to recover off the bike.
Increased Cycling Flexibility
Cyclists are notorious for their lack of flexibility through the hips and yoga/stretching is an excellent way to unlock the hidden resources of your hips. I regularly do a ‘Hatha’ yoga sessions, that involve holding deep hip openers for up to 8 mins at a time. Opening the hips supports better blood flow and that, in turn, helps the legs push the pedals. It is not uncommon to rocket up hills the day after a yoga session as the body has a renewed sense of energy.
Strengthening of a Cyclist’s Immune System
Yoga and meditation also strengthen the immune system. A 20-minute meditation a day has been proven to support health in the body. Why? Because when we sit still, breathe deeply and let the body relax it quietens the sympathetic nervous system (often referred to as the fight or flight mode). This practice, in turn, can help support better blood flow to the brain, indicating less constriction of blood vessels & lower respiration rates and heart rates.
So go look up your local yoga/meditation studio or do a class on YouTube for free. Chances are you might like it. Plus, you’ll begin to understand that all those hippies/bohemian types are actually on to something pretty good.
About Our Cycling News and Review Columnist
Genevieve Whitson is a NZ born, British/Scottish cyclist, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Gen has a raced at the highest level for Road, Cyclocross and Mountain biking, have competed in four World Championships, multiple World Cups as well as riding professionally on the road. Gen has raced all around the globe on the road bike and is currently riding for a Belgium team, Isorex competing in all the major spring classics.
Highlights of her career include gaining a top 30 finish at the World Cyclocross Championships, a stage win in a major USA road tour, and winning the 2015 Scottish National Hill Climb Champs. Gen also loves to ride a rickshaw in Edinburgh for strength training on the side and is heavily involved in supporting/mentoring up and coming female/male athletes to ride to their potential. Her mantra on the bike is: Eat the pain…
Disclaimer: The information published in this column is the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.
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