With the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, we enjoy cycling for enjoyment and release of stress. How about release of stress on your muscles? Below are some on-bike stretching and exercises. Yes, we said On-Bike... Time is cycling!
Brought to you by the League of American Bicyclists
- Reasons to stretch
- Reduce tightness and strain in your neck, back, shoulders, arms and face
- Ride longer with less fatigue; recover faster with post-ride stretches
- Always warm-up muscles before stretching; cold stretching can cause injury
- Be careful
- Never attempt these stretches while riding in a group or paceline situation
- Check for traffic, slow down and maintain control of your bicycle
- Attempt only on smooth, flat, dry pavement
- Lower and middle back
- With one hand on the bar, reach back and place your forearm across your lower back
- Twist your upper body toward the hand that is behind you; hold for 5 seconds
- Look over your shoulder and move that shoulder back while moving the other forward
- Shoulder and neck
- Reach across chest to opposite shoulder as far as comfortable; hold for 5 seconds
- Lift shoulders towards your ears until you feel tension
- Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly roll back to original position
- Fingers and forearms
- Place hand on hip, palm down, fingers up; straighten elbow to stretch for 10 seconds
- Place fingers on handlebar and push down to stretch forearms; hold for 5 seconds
- Bend hand back as far as possible; rotate wrist back and forth; hold for 5 seconds
- Face and jaw
- Open your mouth in an "O" then move your lips right to left to stretch cheek muscles
- Open your mouth wide to stretch jaw muscles
- Never clench your teeth while riding
- Arch your back while lowering your head slightly
- Then straighten your back and lift your head up to straighten your spine
- Hold each for 5 seconds; perform both stretches consecutively
- While coasting, straighten one leg in the 6 o'clock position and drop your heel
- In the 3 and 9 o'clock position, stand and drop both heels; switch feet and repeat
- Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and repeat
There is debate on whether stretching helps prevent injury, but it is clear that it is vital to fitness. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are the top 5 benefits of stretching!
- Increased flexibility and joint range of motion:
Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but you can regain and maintain it.
- Improved circulation:
Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you've had any muscle injuries.
- Better posture:
Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.
- Stress relief:
Stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress.
- Enhanced coordination:
Maintaining the full range-of-motion through your joints keeps you in better balance. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls, especially as you get older.