In a time of mortgage slumps, greenback-gouging gas pumps and other financial woes, consumers look to conserve cash flow. One strategy that is gaining popularity is leaving the car in the garage and riding a bike to work. Cycling not only increases exercise levels but also cuts down on pollution and traffic.
If you plan to raise your weekly biking mileage—or are dusting off your bike after years of dormancy—consider these suggestions from Ricardo Rodrigues, founder of Beginner’s Mind Method Training, an athletically based fitness company.
Bike Fit. An improper bike fit can lead to knee, low-back, neck and shoulder problems. To avoid injuries, adjust the saddle so that the descending leg is almost fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke. When the pedals are horizontal, the front knee should be positioned directly above the front foot. Make sure you are comfortably seated so that minimal pressure is placed on the handlebars.
Sample Exercises. To make the most of the bike-riding experience and to fortify the body against injury, implement the following exercises into your routine 2–3 times per week:
1. Plank Hold on Stability Ball. Place hands on stability ball with toes on ground. Keep body as straight as possible. Novice exercisers can place ball against a wall for increased stability. Hold for 30 seconds, progressing to 45.
2. Static Wall Sit. Place back flat against wall, and lower the body until hips and knees are at 45-degree angle. Hold for 30 seconds, progressing to 45.
3. Hip Extension on Stability Ball. Lie supine with upper body relaxed, and place feet on top of ball. Slowly lift hips until they are extended into neutral position. Repeat 7–10 times.