I was cycling this morning with some clients and we all worked hard and it was fun – my zone put out some interesting numbers but that is a story for another day about recovery and maximum heart rate changes.
It got me thinking a little though. How does a ‘go hard’ cycle session fit in to the whole fitness, wellness and strength approach for the average person? The thing is, you don’t want to focus on just one thing. I saw this old couple on one of those sensationalist current affair programs last night. They were in their 60s and running a marathon a day! Now far be it from me to criticize such an active couple but to be honest they didn’t look well from where I was sitting. There was evidence in their bodies of the massive pull of gravity that results when a particular muscle group is overworked. They had this stooped posture and the oxidation damage to their skin was huge. The alternative of sitting on a couch and getting more and more dysfunctional by the day is definitely a far worse option and clearly not what I am advocating (derrr!).
My point is that we should be looking at a mix of activities and ones that open up the body not close it down. Too much flexion, both lumbar and hip (bending of the spine and movements that bring the thighs to the ribs) should not be overdone. How does cycling fit in to the equation getting back to my starting point? Too much cycling or too much running will make you stoop but when built in to an intelligent overall program that considers the right strength training, will be a great change up and awesome cardiovascular workout.
What about Pilates? Great thing most people would say. I would agree but…. make sure it is not overdoing the ab thing and has a great bunch of extension activities in it – think lying facing down and pulling shoulders back etc. Look around you and think about the consequences of our daily life where we all sit at a desk and do so much in front of our bodies. Where do you want to end up in your old? We came from the ground and we will all end up back there one day but don’t hasten that process by doing more things that will make your head go forward any quicker than it has to. Think how heavy that thing is and the effect on the rest of the body if your centre of gravity shifts forward! Open up, choose your activities wisely and you will stay tall and look and feel great all the way in to old age. Keep a good mix of stuff in your program and most important of all have fun!