Rid­ing wave of pop­u­lar­ity

Life & Style Weekend - - YOU - With Hamish McMichael Visit Hamish at Kaizen Ex­er­cise Phys­i­ol­o­gists, 2/47 Sixth Ave, Ma­roochy­dore and get your well­ness on track. hamish@kaizenep.com.au

THERE have been some sub­tle shifts in recre­ational pat­terns of Aus­tralians over the past decade. There have been some mod­est in­creases in swim­ming and jog­ging and go­ing to the gym. The dra­matic rise in the pop­u­lar­ity of cy­cling isn’t sub­tle – it’s been mas­sive.

While golf was the favoured re­cre­ation for many mid­dle-aged men, cy­cling has found new pop­u­lar­ity in this group. There is a grow­ing trend of men re­plac­ing their colour­ful golf shirts and plaid pants with skin-tight ly­cra. The emer­gence of the MAMIL (mid­dle aged man in ly­cra) over the past decade hasn’t been sub­tle ei­ther!

Aus­tralians are cy­clists. More than 50% of Aus­tralian house­holds have at least one bike in work­ing or­der. And 17% of the pop­u­la­tion (a whop­ping 3.6 mil­lion) ride a bike in Aus­tralia each week. If you’re on the roads early in the morn­ing no doubt you have en­coun­tered the MAMIL. The yel­low jersey of cy­cling par­tic­i­pa­tion be­longs to these men aged 34–49, with 26% of this age group cy­cling oc­ca­sion­ally or reg­u­larly.

The soar­ing pop­u­lar­ity of cy­cling is due to a num­ber of fac­tors – petrol prices, busy roads and traf­fic, and let’s not for­get Cadel Evans’ Tour de France vic­tory in 2011. Nor­man Mor­ris from Roy Mor­gan Re­search also points out that cy­cling has low im­pact on joints and has a strong so­cial as­pect (cy­clists of­ten ride in bunches), mak­ing it ap­peal­ing.

In our last ar­ti­cle we talked about the im­pact of pro­longed sit­ting. While cy­cling isn’t quite the same as sit­ting, cy­cling can wreak havoc with your pos­ture and your back if you don’t do some sim­ple ex­er­cises to main­tain your body.

Here are our top three ex­er­cises to look af­ter your cy­cling body:

Lower back

Pro­longed round­ing of the lower back at work and/or on the bike can cause prob­lems. Ly­ing with a foam roller or rolled up towel in your lower back for a few min­utes each day can take a lot of load off your lower back mus­cles and the discs be­tween your ver­te­brae.

Up­per back

Hunch­ing over your desk and hunch­ing over a bike can have a com­pound­ing ef­fect on your pos­ture. Use a roller or a rolled up towel and place this along your spine. This ex­er­cise will help to open up your chest and lengthen your spine.

Legs

Cy­cling uses the quadri­ceps – the mus­cles on the front of your thigh. These can tighten up and cause knee prob­lems, a com­mon is­sue with cy­clists, or dis­rupt your pelvis and lower back.

Square your hips and tuck your hips un­der by squeez­ing your glutes on the bent leg side and hold for 20 sec­onds. Re­peat three times.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Hamish demon­strates the quadri­ceps stretch.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Ly­ing with a foam roller for a few min­utes each day can take a lot of load off your lower back mus­cles.

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