Exercise bike and yoga: why they should go together
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If you usually train on a stationary bike or elliptical machines , you probably spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase power, speed and resistance.
Instead, if you think of yoga, you might think of it as an equivalent of stretching or something you do to prevent soreness after a workout. And while you’d be right to assume that yoga has a lot to offer when it comes to avoiding sore muscles, there’s actually a lot more to it than that.
Based on the fluid connection of movement and breath, yoga gives you the tools you need to control your breathing, get your heart rate under control, and ultimately access more power on the bike. It also helps keep your muscles flexible and therefore less prone to injury. Encouraging joint space and alignment and increasing mindfulness are two other beneficial aspects of yoga.
How does yoga complement more cardiovascular activities like cycling?
It can be hard for those who love the hustle and bustle of a high heart rate to get excited about something that seems slower like yoga, but it really has a lot of potential to improve your performance in all physical activities. We rarely take the time to tune in and appreciate what our body is doing, how it feels in different positions, and how it affects us mentally and emotionally; yoga gives us that opportunity.
Why is yoga such a good complementary activity to stationary bike training in particular?
Yoga can help in three main ways: it improves flexibility, increases strength, and develops breathing techniques.
If you regularly do long sessions on the bike, it is essential to stretch and work on flexibility. After spending so much time hunched in the same position, your shoulders, neck, chest, and hip flexors all require some attention. These are all parts of the body that yoga addresses. Once you incorporate stretching and improve your flexibility, you will also quickly notice that you recover faster after training on the bike.
In order to safely enjoy cycling training, you need to make sure your muscles and joints are strong and stable. For cyclists, it’s especially important to work on core strength. Our abdominal muscles are connected to and work with the lower back, so improving core strength will help relieve back pain. Core exercises also strengthen the muscles along the spine, improving overall posture and naturally allowing the spine to be more flexible.
If you want to be able to stay relaxed and focused while riding, it’s important to have some control over your breathing. Steady, flowing breathing allows you to calm your mind and connect with how your breath affects your body and the power you are capable of exerting. Yoga brings this focus to the fore, allowing you to cultivate better breathing habits that will then become automatic when you train.
Cycling is a very linear movement, while yoga involves a lot of twisting. Why is twisting important for overall health and fitness?
Twists are important to everyone as they support spinal health, act as a natural detox for the body, and improve internal organs and digestion. For cyclists in particular, twists are also the ideal exercise to relax your back and relieve pain throughout your spine. A simple reclining supine twist is one of the best solutions out there for many types of back pain.