17 Sep Keep pedaling with awesome yoga poses which will have you riding longer and healthier
Cycling is super for your physical health and emotional well-being but there are some side effects that go with the long uninterrupted miles. They can take a toll on your posture and ultimately your body. Good News…when you understand those wonderful miles on the open road or trail can cause damage, you can find alternative ways to diminish the negatives and keep on pedaling.
The best way for cyclists to remain pain free and without damage is to incorporate a consistent yoga routine in your workout. The poses presented today will help you to strengthen and stretch the areas most impacted by cycling.
In the last couple of years there has been a ton of research on the negative effects of sitting. Unfortunately, cycling is more sitting. Problems arise when individuals don’t utilize their core, ergo, it becomes weak. Your core isn’t typically engaged while sitting unless it is strengthened. A weakened core means lower back pain. We also tend to round our shoulders which squashes all of our internal organs together and causes our hips to tighten. WHOA!
Yoga has a number of poses that help with building a strong core. Here are the top six:
The Bridge Pose
- Lie down on the ground with your upper body flat
- Your knees are bent at a 45 degree angle with feet shoulder width apart and flat on the ground
- Engage your bootie and lift your hips off the floor
- Roll your shoulders underneath your back, lifting your middle back off the floor
- Hold for three full inhales and exhales
- Lower hips to the ground
- Do 5-10 times
The Lotus Pose
- Lie flat on the ground on your stomach
- Your feet will be shoulder width apart
- Arms are straight by sides and with palms up
- On the inhale lift your feet, chest, and head off the floor
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together
- Exhale and slowly lower back down
- Repeat 5-10 times
The Boat Pose
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent
- Engage your core and lift your feet off the ground to make a V with your upper body
- Extend your legs out straight
- Stretch your arms to toward your legs
- Lean backwards with your core engaged
- Lift your chest upwards towards the sky while you inhale and exhale.
- You may only be able to do this with your knees bent to start.
- Exhale and set your feet down and repeat
- You can hold the pose for as many long breaths as possible
Hips can tighten up and be a catalyst for other body problems and ultimately for your cycling. Here are a few yoga poses that will help you stretch those hips:
- On your yoga mat get on all fours with your legs shoulder width apart
- Take your knees out a little at a time until your inner thighs are feeling a stretch
- Keep the tops of your feet and the front/side of your calves on the ground
- Lower your arms until you are on your forearms and hold for 30 seconds.
- Don’t push this pose too far too soon, but as you get more flexibility you will make your knees extend wider like a frog jumping
Thread the Needle
- Lie on your mat on the floor like bridge pose
- Lift and rest your right ankle on top of your left leg just below your knee
- Thread your right arm through your legs and grasp your left hand on the outside of your left leg
- Lift the left leg off the ground and towards your chest while flexing you left foot
- Hold for 30 seconds while breathing
- Switch and stretch the other side
- In a runner’s lunge (go ahead and stretch your hamstrings) with back leg straight
- Knee over ankle on the front lunging leg
- Drop your front leg sideways taking the ankle inwards across your body and in front of the straight leg (it will lie flat on the ground)
- Lean forward with your upper body until it is resting on the leg that is lying in front
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds with deep cleansing breaths
Yoga keeps your body loose, fit, flexible so you can live your best life. Further reasons to “yoga yourself” is to relieve stress and calm your central nervous system. If you haven’t discovered its benefits, do yourself a favor, stop pedaling for 20 minutes and give yoga a shot. Yoga is not only a welcome break, but it makes your rides much better, physically and mentally.
***Note: There are a number of Youtube videos that contain yoga poses for cyclists. Give one or all of them a try.