Experts say that cycling is one of the most complete and universal activities to prevent back pain, protect joints and improve the circulatory and immune system. To abandon yourself to this fun outdoor training, take note of the following keys.
Which bicycle do I choose?
Mountain bikes with thick wheels are ideal for getting around nature. The paved terrain and the long routes are more bicycles run, light and manageable. For the city, what is suitable is an urban one, more robust than the road, but less spectacular than the mountain. Other options are BMX for acrobatics; ‘Cruiser’ for quiet walks; Electrical … If one is already available, and it has not been used for some time, it is advisable to set up, checking from the wheels to the brakes, passing through the rest of the parts. Make sure you are of the right size by consulting the experts. Before starting the ride, check the tire pressure, because if they are somewhat deflated it becomes worse and the risk of puncture a tire is greater.
What equipment is appropriate?
A basic and lightweight equipment that allows sweat, can include cycling- the maillots are designed to absorb moisture – padded gloves and no fingers, to avoid damaging the palm of the hands, and essential for safety the helmet, which should fit snugly on the head. In addition, sunglasses, windbreaker and footwear that allows the adhesion to the pedals. For the bicycle, do not forget a basic patch kit (tire repair), an air pump to inflate tires, lights and water. It is essential to always carry a bottle to stay hydrated (drink sips every 15 to 20 minutes of pedaling) and avoid the hours of exposure to the sun.
What benefits does it bring?
Pedaling on the bicycle for 30 minutes burns about 300 calories and doing this exercise regularly activates the metabolism, making the consumption of both in activity and at rest, is increasing. Biking tones legs and buttocks, in addition to improving heart rate, improving the circulatory system and reducing the possibility of cardiovascular accidents. In addition to practicing cycling, being an outdoor activity, relaxes and releases stress. With regard to running, when cycling the knees and feet suffer less, no pressure is exerted on the joints, and therefore is a low impact sport. Also the heart benefits in this comparative, since when riding in bike this muscle does not work as intensely as it would run.
What would be a full cycling session?
It is convenient before riding the bicycle to warm up the body muscles for five to 15 minutes, doing some exercise or walking.
For those who start cycling, the first sessions should last about 30 minutes, and with a pedaling rate of not less than 60 pedals per minute. An ideal cycling plan includes a regularity of three to six sessions per week, starting with 20 minutes and increasing from two to five minutes per week.
Do not forget that it is about riding enjoy the bike, and therefore the pace should be adapted to each.
5 tips to get started in cycling
If you are a beginner cyclist you probably have a lot of doubts about the material, equipment and tools that you should take with you at your exits.
It is normal that, at the beginning, we tend to be very foreseeing and take more things than necessary, with the discomfort of carrying more than you need that implies.
Here are 5 tricks that experience tells us:
- Not too much or too little clothing
When it is cold it is common to see cyclists who are covered up to the eyebrows, with long coats, jacket, hat, panties and winter gloves.
Then there is that other group that goes with short breeches almost all the year, that at best put on legs, sleeves and long gloves.
What does this depend on? Since you are accustomed to the cold and the requirement of your workouts, if you take the bike to practice moderate exercise you will need more warmth than in the case of high intensity workouts where the body produces more heat and therefore you need less clothes.
- The just and necessary tools
We do not need to be loaded with all the arsenal of “irons” in the toolbox.
The critical points of the bike (the ones most likely to fail) are the wheels and the transmission.
Regarding the wheels there are compact solutions to replace and inflate them, while in the transmission we should focus on the chain, which is the part that has the greatest stresses.
- A healthy chain
It is crucial that all the components are in optimum conditions, after all the fact that any part of the bike is in poor condition can give us a hard time going down a port or tracing a path.
As we pointed out in the previous section the chain is the part that suffers most of the whole and (together with the wheels) is that which can leave us completely thrown at any exit, because without chain there is no movement in the wheels.
While it is not an overly expensive piece, it pays to know simple tricks to lengthen its life and measure its wear and thus avoid scares.
- The energy needed for your effort
Cycling is an ideal sport to get in shape. Complement your outings with a diet rich in protein and taking hydrates only in the first part of the day can ensure you lose weight and improve your performance.
In addition to your usual food there are a variety of products designed to be consumed by athletes, is the so-called “supplementation”, bars, gels, recuperators, isotonic, etc.
These products are designed for comfort and maximum energy and nutrient supply in the moments that your body needs it.
- Proper training
You may not have thought of cycling as something in which you should waste time planning your outings and the hardness of these to increase your performance. You simply limit yourself to enjoying the bike, and that’s great.
But if you want to set more demanding goals, if your dream is to participate in a cycling tour that involves having a good bottom and resistance, here you should think about optimizing the time you use in your outings and that these are aimed at constant improvement.
Not for more training you are going to be a better cyclist, ideally put into the hands of a specialist to guide you in this regard.
Tips before practicing cycling
Before practicing cycling it is important to keep in mind some tips:
To make the correct adjustments of the bicycle that allow to optimize the performance on the same. Always choose the right bicycle that suits the athlete and not the other way around. Proper adjustment is to gain in comfort, improve performance and reduce the chances of injury. As a general rule we will try to ensure that the angle between the body and the arms does not exceed 90 degrees.
Pedaling at high cadences has been proven more profitable than pedaling with low cadences, as it involves a lower muscular movement.
Pedaling standing requires more muscle activity so it is less energy efficient than pedaling sitting. We will only resort to this position for brief intervals when we have, for example, to overcome a difficulty of the terrain, a section of maximum slope or when we need rapid increase of speed.
Using specific footwear with a high degree of stiffness and proper foot placement means a substantial improvement in the quality of the technical execution.
The trajectory described by the knees in the frontal plane should be as straight as possible. Any movement that comes out of that verticality supposes a loss in the force that is transmitted to the pedals and can produce injuries.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is that only force should be applied when lowering the pedal and trying to relax the muscles as much as possible during the mounting phase of the same, failing to do it correctly can cause lumbar problems due to the stress it generates This level.
All sports practice must end with a period of cooling or return to progressive calm. In this phase the use of passive stretching is highly recommended. Especially directed dorsal and lumbar musculature and the back of the thigh.
In addition, it is very important to perform compensatory muscle exercises to have an effective, unbalanced muscle and focus on the deep, thoracic and paravertebral abdominal muscles.