ExperiencePlus! - Bicycle Tours since 1972

Bicycle Training and Fitness

Keeping Your Body Happy, Keeps You Happy

by Sarah Awe - Thursday, August 7, 2014 Plank on the Paris to Marseille ride with ExperiencePlus!

So you’ve been putting in lots of hours of training and preparation for your upcoming ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tour, fantastic!  All of these hours will certainly help make your tour that much more enjoyable and stress free when your tour finally comes along.  However, perhaps last week or maybe in the next couple of months you will roll out of bed and think, “Ouch, when did getting out of bed become painful?!” or “All this training I’m doing, why do I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck?”  Don’t worry, most people will experience this at some point in their exercise lives.  This is just your body’s way of saying, “Hey!  Pay attention to me, stop beating me up for a moment and give me some TLC”.  It is very easy to neglect some simple yet very important things that will help keep your body happy and in good working order.

-Hydration!
A very important question to ask yourself if you’re not feeling as spry as usual is, “Am I drinking enough water?”  May seem like a silly question but, hydration plays such a vital role in feeling well but, it seems to be a very easy thing to forget about.  Our bodies are made up of 60-70% water so if you think about it, we really do need quite a bit of fluids to keep things moving properly.  I have worked with a few clients who have expressed concerns about unusually achy joints and after incorporating a bit more water and fluids daily, they feel considerably better.  Just add water, what an easy fix!  Of course that is not always the case but I’d say it’s worth a try.  We lose fluids constantly throughout the day by producing saliva, sweat, urine, digestive enzymes, lubrication in joints and blood.  How much water do you need?  Everyone is different and has different levels of activity but trying to drink whenever possible is a good idea, especially while active.  You can maintain hydration with other things besides water, fruits and veggies carry a lot of water as do all other beverages you drink.  An easy way to tell if you are staying adequately hydrated is to pay attention to the color of your urine.  A pale yellow is a good sign but, urine that is dark in color or odorous may be a warning sign that you need to get to some water ASAP.

-Stretching!
Along with awesome training comes tight muscles and joints if not stretched regularly, along with tight muscles and joints comes pain and discomfort.  Solution = stretch, stretch, stretch!!  I would recommend waiting until after your workout to do your stretching but whatever feels better for you.  Take a couple minutes after your workout or throughout the day.  Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and try to relax into your stretch.  Try not to force your body into positions it doesn’t want to go.  A stretch should be slightly uncomfortable but never painful.  Here are a few of my very favorite stretches:

Piriformis Stretch:  This stretch is good for hips and glutes.  As long as you have healthy hips you can try:

piriformis stretch

If you aren’t sure your hips will appreciate this stretch you can also try:

piriformis

Child’s Pose: Stretches upper back, mid back and lower back.

child pose

A modification for this would be:

alternativeHip Flexors:  Hip flexors take lots of abuse while cycling so be sure to find a stretch that you like:

hip

hip_flexor

 

 

-Try something new!
Perhaps you aren’t feeling like yourself because you need a break from your regular routine!  Maybe it’s time to try something new and different for a day or two.  Try a yoga class, a strength class, a group fitness class, go for a hike, swim, run or just take a nap.  If you don’t give your body an easy day once in a while, you may feel it.  Not only does it give your body a break, it will give your mind a break as well.

We only get one body so it is important to take good care of it.  Staying hydrated, stretching regularly and taking an easy day once in a while will help keep your mind and body balanced.  Pay close attention to how you’re feeling, if your “bad” days are outweighing your “good” days it may be time to seek a professional’s opinion to make sure there isn’t something more serious going on.  Happy training!!

Sarah Awe - Sarah Awe: As owner and personal trainer at becomefit (www.becomefitfc.com). Sarah is able to put into practice her experience and education surrounding health and fitness. She graduated from Florida Tech with a BS in Psychology and from Southern Arkansas University with a MS in Kinesiology. She is also certified by the NSCA as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Sarah believes that living a healthy, balanced lifestyle is a key to success! You can email Sarah at: sarah@becomefitfc.com