Stretch Before You Ride

Photo Credit: Jim Henderson PD
Riding a bicycle is a great way to get a good cardiovascular workout, improve muscle mass and lose weight. An increasing number of people leave the car in the garage or driveway and cycle to and from work to save money while getting fit. Be sure to take all safety precautions, including wearing a helmet, reflective clothing and riding in designated bike routes. Another precaution you should take is to stretch your muscles before hitting the road. Stretching your muscles improves your flexibility to reduce your risk of injury from muscle strain and joint sprains.
Your butt will be doing a lot of work during your ride. You should stretch the gluteus maximus and related muscles prior to riding. To stretch your glutes, lie on your back. Bend both knees and place your feet on the floor near your bottom. Place your left ankle on the top of your right thigh just below your knee. Use your left hand to gently push your left leg out and toward the floor. Push gently until you feel your left buttock begin to stretch. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.
Your legs are going to be pumping and pushing as you ride. Don’t forget to stretch your calf muscles, too. Stand next to a wall with your hand on the wall or hold onto a chair for balance. Step forward on one foot with your knee slightly bent. Keep your back leg straight with your foot flat on the floor. Lean forward until you feel the calf muscle in your rear leg begin to stretch. Hold for a few seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Stretch your hamstring muscles on the back of your legs before you ride. A pulled hamstring muscle is painful and will keep you from riding until it heals. Stand in front of a bench or low table and place one foot on the bench. Keep your other foot flat on the floor. Slowly bend forward at the hips and lower your face toward the foot on the table or bench. Bend forward until you feel the muscles in the back of your leg start to stretch and pull. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and then switch sides.


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