PHYSIO BIKEFIT STRETCHING RECOMMENDATIONS
A warm up and cool down is beneficial when doing any form of exercise and cycling is no exception, but having spoken to many of my cyclist patients about this, is seems it is overlooked by many! Even though their chosen hobby/sport means regularly being in one position for long periods of time.
There are many benefits of a warm up, these include:
- Increasing muscle temperature which in turn helps to enhance muscle contraction
- Preparing the body mentally- giving you time to prepare for the session ahead
- Increases the core temperature which increases the speed of nerve impulses in turn increasing reaction time
- Reduces injury risk by releasing adrenaline which helps to increase muscle elasticity
I’d recommend dynamic warm ups as opposed to static stretches before a cycle and for a cyclists this means the best option for a warm up is to do it on the bike! The first 10-15 minutes of your cycle should involve working up through the gears and increasing your cadence, this will help to increase the heart rate and get your legs turning.
Why should you cool down?
- It helps return the body to its pre-exercise state, by aiding in recovery and muscle adaptations
- Helps to prepare the body for the next session, whether that be tomorrow or next week
- Reduces the heart rate gradually while blood continues to circulate the body, which helps to remove waste products from the muscles while bringing oxygen and nutrients to them
- Your body will become stiff after being on the bike in one position for hours, stretching will help to return to normal range of movement
Ideally your cool down would involve 5-10 minutes of stretching as soon as you come off your bike, however we live in Scotland and this isn’t always practical - particularly if you’re coming off the bike cold and wet! In these circumstances, I would advise that once you’re home you have a warm shower and get on dry clothes before you stretch.
The cool down differs from the warm up in that the stretches should be static with holds for each stretch being 20-30 seconds - never into pain just to the point of tension. The main muscles that would benefit from a stretch post-cycle include:
- Thoracic spine
- Lumbar spine
- Hip flexors
The Benefits of Move-Ment
This year, SPEAR Sports Injury and Physiotherapy helped you Move-More in November! It is a common goal for our physiotherapists across all the SPEAR services as we aim to keep you moving and facilitate move(ment) in recovery and rehabilitation. We spoke to SPEAR physiotherapist, James who runs our SPEAR:Run, on the benefits of movement and choosing to move-more.
“Men and women alike can embrace the Move-More-in-November idea (or any month) by merely being active. It’s what we like to call Move. For example, set a distance goal at the start of the month (week / year…), and walk, run, cycle, swim or row your way to achieving it. The benefits of movement are both physical and psychological and in this blog I want to highlight the benefits of running.
- 1 hour of Running = 7 Extra Hours of Life
In a recent study in the Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases they summarised that in general, runners have a 25%-40% reduced risk of premature mortality and live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners.
- 1 Minute of Running a Day to Strengthen your Bones
This remarkable claim looked too good to be true in the recent study in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Testing indicated that, with this set-up, running at 12:00 per mile pace gives you a jolt equivalent to about 75 percent of the force of gravity, while running at 9:36 mile pace is about 100 percent the force of gravity. These findings aren't too surprising as to stimulate bone growth you need to load through the bone. Running is fantastic for loading and increases bone growth with every step. Controlled loading is important to ensure the bone load is not over its capacity.
- Running IMPROVES joint care
A report in 2013 looked at the common myth that running increases damage to the joint. Where in fact the study showed that runners have 20% lower risk of osteoarthritis and hip replacement than walkers. Furthermore averaging 15-23 miles per week is further beneficial than 8 miles weekly.
- Running reduces stress, Stress reduces regeneration.
Its well known that exercise releases a good hormone in the body called endorphins. These are what relates to the "runners high" that comes after a long run. In a recent interview with Mel Edwards, running legend, he was quoted as saying: "the best I felt in a day was after a session." Furthermore, there is research looking at factors that can slow healing/regeneration after a run and stress contributes to this. It is very important to have a balance between the load and the capacity of the body to accept load, in avoiding injuries - the bodies capacity is therefore reduced by stress. “Doing nature-based physical activity could lower stress and anxiety, while boosting mental well-being” according to research by Edge Hill University, maximising the existing mood-improving qualities of exercise.
These are just four benefits that running has on the body. Running also can be great for a social interaction (JogScotland, Parkrun, Fit Like Joggers, Metro Running Club to name a few Aberdeen local running clubs...). Running in a group or having accountability to another individual increases adherence to a new habit! It's as easy as putting one foot in front.... so what are you waiting for...."
How to start:
1. Pick a number of steps to complete this week (9000 - 10000 steps a day)
2. Download Strava app join the SPEAR:Run Strava group to share your achievement. #teamSPEAR
SPEAR:Run and some of your favourite running apps
With the modernisation of running, there certainly are a lot of apps out there that can help with your training! An app not only helps monitor distance or pace but some of them can map your run, help with motivation, monitor load and over training, build up a network of running buddies or help you venture into the unknown. SPEAR:Run physiotherapist, James took to social media recently and asked the question “what running app do you use”. Here’s a list of the top 10 and a few extras thrown in too!
This app is easily at the top of the list! It’s like Facebook for runners, cyclists, paddle boarders…the list goes on. A great feature of this app is that it keeps a total of your load week on week; you can even set a target distance to hit for the week.
Some other great features from Strava is the ability to monitor the shoe usage (knowing roughly how many miles each shoe has completed), a map view of your run and the segment feature. Over the course of your run there will be segments that are timed and every time you run a route your segment will be compared to your previous runs on the same route; and to others who run the same route! If you have the fastest time, you get a crown – total #runfasterinspo there. Starve also links with most GPS watches, helps with monitoring your runs and also keeps an online diary of your achievements…add James if you wish (James Cruickshank). This gets a full thumbs up from the SPEAR team.
This one is a relatively new discovery from James, it links with your Strava account and gives you a fly by of your run over Google maps. If you take pictures on your run it also embeds the pictures and where you took them onto the map… great if you trail run, run whilst abroad, do a lot of fancy runs…or just normal running!
This app is great for trail running, it is based on the ordnance survey maps that are already out there. You can buy segments of the map, which allow you to plot routes and plan adventures! There are alternative map apps, but this one has pre-loaded runs or hill walks with expected times and guided routes…. it also links well with Google maps and gives spoken directions if required.
In this app you can use it to predict performance in races based on previous race performances taking into account age, fatigue, etc. The accuracy is reduced, similar to taking your 5km time and predicting your marathon time, I believe this has to relate to training ability, training phase and also previous running experience. For those of you that have completed marathons, you will know that the last 6 miles feels like half way… If anything though it does give a good indicator towards a goal time, which of course your training can be linked to!
5. Running Hero’s
With this app you can run your way to free gear or heavily discounted brand names. Again, it links with your Strava account and the more you run the more awards / draw-entering occurs. You can earn anything from 30% off Nike goods, to a complementary Avocado on toast, 40% off SIS gels, 20% off of ADIDAS to name a few.
6. Map My Run
This is another map-based app for planning and running routes. It’s very easy to use and works off the GPS of your phone. A great app for tracking distance and pace of your run!
7. Couch to 5km Runner
This is a go to for anyone that dreams of running but doesn’t know how to catch that dream! The idea is to get you from couch to 5 km in 8 weeks at a sensible and controlled level. There is over 4.2 million success stories off the back of this app – getting healthy, getting fit, basically saving your own life! A great tool, spoken information, information updates and progression which helps you get your goal and there is a 5km to 10km follow-on app too.
Strictly not an app but these are very helpful for achieving the long runs at slow pace for the marathon-runners out there! There is a podcast for everyone, comedy, spoken books, physiotherapy, latest TED talks…the list is endless. A personal favourite for SPEAR physiotherapist, James is the Magic Sponge – a football talk programme sharing stories from the 90’s 00’s (disclaimer: the language is very choice so don’t download if easily offended).
9. Map – o – Meter
This map app shows satellite and hybrid settings to plan your run. It’s great for planning specific distance runs so you can complete training plans without having to run around the block a few times to make up the mileage! Is a little tricky to map out the dots but gives a good distance between plots in either km, mile or feet.
This final app in the list, combines music adjusted to the tempo of the run. It keeps with the speed of your run so your pace doesn’t drop when you get lost in the music. A good feature of the app is the “running story” where an audio book is combined with music to maintain pace and speed whilst listening to a story lasting 30-35mins long (i.e on average, long enough to get between a 5-7 km run.)
The list is definitely not exhaustive and we are always hearing about new apps, if you have a favourite app and it’s not mentioned above, let us know and some of the SPEAR team can download it and try it out.
Side note – since James put out this question out there, other popular apps have come to light such as, Zombie run – an app which goes along with a story line where you get chased by zombies and Run Smash – an app for data for logging runs and everything else data-driven!