We all have our reasons for riding a bike —whether it's simply the joy and freedom of being outdoors, the many benefits of moving our legs and getting our heart pumping, the positive effects pedaling has on our mental and emotional health, the opportunity to socialize with friends, getting us out of our cars to get from point A to B...the list goes on, and those of us who love riding often have a difficult time coping with time off the bike when they're faced with an injury or other circumstance that prevents us from pedaling.
The prospect of losing our fitness, not having an outlet or missing out on the fun can be frustrating, but there are ways to handle it that may even improve our riding once we do get back in the saddle.
Here are 6 tips to help you deal:
1) Know that in most cases, injury is temporary. It may feel like the situation will go on forever, but accepting that it likely will not will help keep you from feeling down about being injured. Try to stay positive and focus on healing!
2) Understand that sometimes a break can be a good thing. For very avid cyclists who put in dozens of miles per week, time out of the saddle can actually benefit the body. Getting extra sleep, slowing down and diversifying your activities can make you stronger when you get back on the bike.
3) Embrace crosstraining. If your injury allows for it, adding core and upper body workouts to your routine will improve your balance, bike handling skills, and can help prevent future injuries. Also consider low impact activities like swimming to stay fit without burdening your joints. Click here to find free online strength training workouts.
4) Take this time to improve flexibility. Consider incorporating a stretching ritual or yoga into your routine. We can all benefit from staying limber, especially as we age. Practicing yoga strengthens the core, strengthens smaller muscle groups and improves our breathing. Find yoga and other free classes to stream here.
5) Get on your feet. If you're able, go for long walks or hikes, which will get your limbs moving and your blood flowing. It may not be as thrilling as bombing down a long descent, but being outside will do wonders for your mental health. Bonus: Explore trails and places that are closed to bikes, and doing it with family or friends will help stave off the FOMO.
6) Take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. Fill the extra time in your day by doing something new. Take up reading, learn a new craft, or take on a home improvement project. It will keep you occupied and hopefully content!
Bonus: Indulge in some self care. Being injured is tough, physically and mentally, so taking good care of yourself is super important. Eat well, drink plenty of water, get extra sleep, get a massage and spend time doing things that make you happy, without feeling guilty about it.
Look for tips on how to ease back into your riding routine following an injury in next week's column.