An effective post-ride routine is a crucial part of a good, structured work-out and effective bike training. Many people, myself included, push themselves further in the hopes that it will have the most dramatic effect on their fitness. I’ve discovered from years of cycling that exercising smartly isn’t about completely wiping yourself out, and then doing it again on your next ride. An effective recovery prepares your body for ongoing work-outs.
Failing to adequately recover from a long bike ride can result in both physical and mental fatigue. Subsequently, if your body is depleted you’ll be less likely to get back on your bike and continue your routine. For optimal cycling fitness, strike a balance between expending your strength and adequately recovering it. I would like to share my personal routine and hopefully inspire some of you to give it a try.
Stretches after Cycling
Stretching is one of the most important parts of my post-ride routine. When our bodies spend a lot of time in certain positions and doing certain repetitive muscle movements, such as when riding a bike, it can reduce our range of movement. And it can lead to a lot of problems. For example, cyclists often have very tight hip muscles. Not to mention back pain, and various aches and pains in joints such as elbows and knees.
Stretches can help, and can restore our bodies to a wide range of movements. Long term, stretches will prevent pain and facilitate mobility. For me, the best time to stretch is immediately after I’ve arrived home and jumped off my bike. I focus on each area of my body that has been put through its paces, starting with my legs and moving up towards my core, back, arms, and neck, spending at least 40 seconds on each.
I’ve always found that if I don’t eat something after a strenuous bike ride, the fatigue starts to set in quickly and my body feels weak. This is because nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein are vital to recovery, and the body is particularly receptive to the benefits of these foods after exercise. If you feel like you can’t eat anything, there are a range of shakes and commercially available drinks which deliver a mix of nutrients to replenish the body. Such as the Amazon best seller – Nuun Active Hydration, Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tablets.
My personal choice after a workout is usually either a chicken-breast sandwich with crusty white bread, or a big bowl of pasta, with cheese if I’m especially proud of myself. Carbs will help replenish the glycogen in your muscles, while protein repairs and rebuilds your muscles.
Reinvigorating Your Body After Cycling
This part of my post work-out routine is one part recovery and one part reward. Getting out of your wet clothes, showering, and changing into some clean, dry clothes prevents any risk of infection. Once you’re cleaned up, reinvigorating your body with various products and techniques will reduce stress on your muscles, protect your skin, and leave you feeling refreshed.
Learn some basic massage techniques (I learned many from YouTube).
Working out some of the knots and kinks in your muscles can help increase blood flow and reduce muscle tightness. Next, dedicate some recovery time to skincare; I’ve invested in a range of men’s grooming products that I use after every bike ride to reduce soreness and protect my skin.
Relaxation and Rest after Cycling
After a long bike ride, you may want nothing more than to lay down and sleep. I’ve been in this position many times, but sticking to the post-cycle routine is of the utmost importance, so get everything essential out of the way before curling up into a ball.
Once you’ve accomplished your post-workout tasks, you can finally relax. Do something special and rewarding to ease you into your resting phase. I usually treat myself after every ride to make my cool-down routine that much more appealing. For example, I got a great spa gift set for Christmas; the soothing balms and lotions help prepare me for some restorative sleep.
Related: If you’re serious about getting into bike training, check out Average Joe Cyclist’s Beginner Cyclist Training Program and also Monitor Your Exercise Intensity with a Heart Rate Monitor to Get Fit
Did I miss anything or do you have any better ideas to share? Let me know by commenting. Don’t forget to check out the rest of my work on The Spoon Drawer and follow me on twitter for all the latest – @EdwardPhelan1
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