Helpful Tips For An Effective Recovery Post Cycling
Whether it's a week-long bike-packing trip across the mountains or days of preparation for a cycling marathon we're bound to feel sore right after. This soreness can also come after long hours of riding. Our muscles often get tightly wound up and cause contractions after a nice and intensive exercise, if not treated it can lead to stiffness and even build up to an injury. Overusing muscles is a strict no-no. It's important that we prepare our body for recovery. We've all heard of the term recovery, but have we actually implemented it into our lives?
What is recovery?
Recovery refers to a healing period between the end of an exercise and getting back to a normal and recovered state. This distance between the two states allows our muscles to relax, recover and even gain strength. However, a recovery period should be carefully planned. Too less or too much recovery are bad for our body. We have divided this article into three major components, hence preparing a guide that will help you get back to your cycle. These components are:
We've all heard the question: is cycling a good exercise? And the answer is yes, however, we need some good exercises to recover from the intense cycling sessions we've had. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Warm-up exercises: This is a pre-requisite to make our cycling easier and better. a good warm-up session also aids in recovery at a later stage. One must never skimp on a warm-up and try high-intensity cycling on cold and stiff muscles. By doing so we are simply deteriorating our performance and reducing the potential in our muscles. One of the ways we can warm up is by introducing low-intensity exercises like light jogging, brisk walking, or even skipping. We can also do some jumping jacks. Active stretching is also an important part of the warm-up. Pulling your knee to the chest and standing on your toes and moving into a forward lunge is the perfect stretch. Five to eight reps on each side are perfect.
- Cool-down exercises: Just like warm-up exercises, our cooling-down sessions are important as well. Static stretching is an important part of our cool-down process. These stretches are essential in providing our bodies with the necessary rest and even help lower the lactic acid build-up which can later be the cause of soreness. Standing quadriceps stretch, seated hamstring stretch, and hip flexor stretch are some of the important stretches to keep in mind.
Cycling exercise benefits all of us and it is important that we recover properly from it to enjoy it for longer. Nutrition plays an important part in recovery because it helps us refuel and rehydrate our bodies. Nutrition also promotes repairing of muscles and their growth, which can be a goal for few. Nutrition also plays an important role in improving our immune function; therefore we must keep the following points in mind for a good recovery session:
- Carbohydrates and proteins: These two macro-nutrients are important for the recovery part of our body. The food we eat after our exercise is important and it should be rich in carbohydrates and proteins. Grilled lean chicken with some whole wheat pasta is an excellent option. We can also have a bowl of brown rice with some lentils or beans, this meal is delicious. We can also include some yogurt with bananas or a nice paneer sandwich. These meals are wholesome and improve our recovery rate as well. Make sure to cook these food items in good quality oil like olive oil or include foods like avocados and nuts, healthy fats are important for the absorption of nutrients.
- Fluids: Our bodies are made up of over 60% water, it's important that we consume enough fluids to rehydrate as well as allow our muscles to rejuvenate and reap the benefits of exercise. We must keep rehydrating ourselves with electrolytes or sports drinks throughout cycling and even during recovery, fluids should be an important part of our exercise. Keep sipping on fruit juices or water. However, stay away from highly sugary drinks and limit your caffeine intake as well.
The points above were helpful but there are a few other important points that are required to truly recover and reap the benefits of that intensive cycling session:
- Get your eight hours of sleep. Sleep is the best and the simplest thing we can do to recover, and it shouldn't be too difficult, after that exhaustive yet rewarding cycling session. Our body does the best work while we sleep and performs even better, physically and mentally.
- Active recovery is important too. Just because you've decided to rest and recuperate, does not mean you can stay on the bed or couch all day long. Walking and leisurely cycling are important as well, it's important to move without a particular goal as well.
- Massages are your best friend. If you can go to a massage parlour, then great! But self-massaging is great as well. soothe your muscles and rub them with some gentle pressure. You can use your favourite creams and oils and make it a nice self-care session.
- Introduce some mobility exercises too. Mobility and flexibility go hand in hand. Try out some exercises that will help you out of the stiffness. These exercises can be a part of your cool-down and warm-up routines. They are helpful in making our postures taller.
- Ride the correct bicycle. It's important that we ride the correct bicycles. Ninety One Cycles is an excellent homegrown brand that creates cycles perfect for our bodies. Defeatr 29T New Edition is an excellent all-terrain bicycle that our bodies will thank!
This guide above will help us extract all the benefits from not just our recovery session but also our cycling. Recovery improves our performance and gives us the ability to push forth our limitations. We must never take our recovery lightly and give our bodies the time to recuperate.
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