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Yoga Helps Bicyclists Get a Leg Up on Speed and Recovery

Super active quadriceps, strong hamstrings and monster gluteal muscles are what propel a road bike across pavement. Just take a look at the lower bodies of famed cyclists such as Lance Armstrong or Cadel Evans and you will see some serious power pent up in their legs. In professional racers, the contractibility of muscle fibers is beyond efficient, and the speed at which they fly up steep grades is unimaginable.

While we may not boast the title of ‘Tour de France winner,’ we can still enjoy trying our best in a local bike race or just having fun while riding along our neighborhood bike path. Either way, nursing our well-used legs is of great importance. Post ride or race, ice and massage are crucial for speed of recovery, and so is yoga.

The following yoga poses are superbly beneficial to anyone who enjoys spending time in the saddle, i.e. the bicycle seat.

Runner’s Lunge

You might as well call this ‘cyclist’s lunge,’ as it is helpful for runners and riders alike. With the front knee directly over the ankle and the back leg stretched as far back as possible (toes on the ground) the psoas muscle receives a lovely stretch for restoration of length and suppleness. In cycling, the psoas muscle is responsible for bringing the knee forward at the top of the pedal stroke, as well as keeping the pelvis stable while pedaling.
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Lose Your Saddlebags by Spring Break

If the dreary weather has you chomping at the bit to plan a sun soaked Spring Break, you may want to start planning your bikini bod as well. If the eating over the holidays and low energy from the winter blues have left you self conscious about your saddlebags, leave the “leg work” to us.

The butt/thigh area is a big trouble zone for many, and despite what most think, squats and lunges are not enough to get rid of your saddlebags. While these exercises work you forward and backward, making them great for the hammies and quads, to hit the saddlebag area you have to work on an angle.

The following exercises will shrink your saddlebags, and these are personally some of my favorites to do because you can perform them laying on the ground, surfing the ‘net or watching TV. Not that I’m recommending that, it would probably be more professional to tell you to concentrate on your working muscles, breathing deeply and watching your form closely. So do that.


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Yoga Hip Openers for Winter Athletes

After a full day of snowboarding, skiing or snowshoeing the muscles of the hips can shorten and tighten. Flexible, open hips are a must for winter athletes. Without them performance may decrease while the risk of injury increases.

The following hip opening yoga poses are a must for keeping the lower body healthy and limber.

Warrior I and Crescent Lunge for the Hip Flexors

The psoas muscles, located along the front crease of the hips, are the powerful muscles that give winter athletes control, stability and strength. When they are tight, the low back suffers and as a result, injury can occur.

Yoga poses that stretch the psoas muscles are warrior one and crescent lunge. Similar to a runner’s lunge, these poses extend the front of the hip, giving those mighty hip flexors a dose of elasticity. For best results, be sure to tuck your tailbone under slightly.


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5 Principles of Safe and Effective Forward Bending Yoga Poses

During this hectic time of year your yoga practice is especially helpful in reducing anxiety, but if you cannot fit in a full yoga class, practicing on your own is second best. Restorative poses like forward bends top the list to release stress and refresh the mind and body, but it is important that they are done correctly.

The following principles are categorized by body part and action to help you practice safe and effective restorative forward bending yoga poses.

Hips

Imagine your pelvis as a bowl of water and your spine as the stream of water that spills from the bowl. By placing both hands on your hips and tipping your hips forward first as if to pour the water onto your feet, you set the forward bend up from your hips rather than from your lower back. This prevents the action of lumbar lordosis (rounding out) from your lumbar spine, which can stress the discs of the lower back.

Knees

If your hamstrings are tight, simply bend your knees. This will allow your pelvis to tip forward with ease without rounding your lower back. Also, you can bend your knees if you feel tension behind them and if you feel a tugging sensation on your sitting bones. It is best to feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle, rather than at the attachment points (sit bones and backs of knees). This helps to protect your tendons and ligaments from excess strain.


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Keep Your Joints Healthy with Effective Supplements

There are two things I’ve learned since moving into my new home.

1. I had no problem meeting my step goal from Miss Courtney Crozier’s summer challenge since I now have 3 sets of stairs to go up and down all day.

2. The creaking noise I’m hearing is not from my stairs, it’s from my knees.


I’m not sure what caused it: whether it’s my years of sports playing goalie and catcher in high school or rugby in college. It could be the stress on my body from the extra 120 pounds of weight that I had less than a year ago. Maybe I’m just getting, dare I say it, … getting old??

The good news is I’m not in pain…yet. However, this could be the warning signs of something greater and as a health care professional I should not be ignoring things. I am considering taking some supplements to help lubricate my joints like I’m the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.


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