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Is your daily routine negatively impacted by that relentless ache in your lower back? Can you feel it throbbing for attention as you read this? You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life.
Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:
Whether you’re preparing for a cycling race, training for a triathlon or simply appreciate the exhilarating cardio workout you get from riding, your body (the lower half in particular) is certainly being challenged.
Most of your focus will be on the meat of your training – developing programs for each ride to incorporate different terrain, speeds, hills and other aspects of riding itself. But it’s also important to remember that your training doesn’t stop once your session ends. In fact, time spent after you hop off your bike is just as important as time spent on the saddle. Cooling down and taking part in athletic recovery reduces your risk of sore muscles and injuries, which can sideline you and set you back in your schedule. This is especially problematic if you are on a deadline for a race.
After each bike ride you should be taking the time to stretch out your muscles and allow your mind and body to return to their resting states. It’s also useful to incorporate self massage into your routine each week, especially after an intense ride. Massage will help loosen up muscles even further, which is important so you don’t create any imbalances.
There are several key muscles you should focus your massager on after a bike ride:
There are few things worse than being in the middle of a run, whether it’s a long or short distance, and having your foot cramp up. This often requires that you stop and maybe even remove your shoe to provide relief to your sore muscles.
If you had a high level of motivation or were in the middle of a really great, efficient run, needing to stop can derail these sensations and throw you mentally and physically off track. Runners who are preparing for a 5K, half-marathon, marathon or triathlon may be worried that constant foot cramps will prohibit them from sticking to their training schedule or from being successful in crossing the finish line in the time they were working toward.
There are plenty of reasons that foot cramps occur, including chronic conditions like plantar fasciitis, shoes that are worn out or too tight, dehydration or pointing your toes too much.
Whether you’re a professional athlete, a bodybuilder or a weekend warrior, you know that you put your body and mind through many challenges as you work toward your goals. Because of this, it’s imperative that you take care of yourself with athletic recovery and proper nutrition.
It’s also important to know that even the most trained athlete can experience a problem with muscle imbalance. If you are using improper form while completing an exercise, get injured or are returning from time off, your muscle strength may at different levels throughout your body. Because of this, some muscles may overcompensate for the lack of ability in others, which leads to imbalance and other complications. Whether you’re a professional athlete or just enjoy working out on the weekend, this is a good thing to be aware of so you can correct any imbalances.
Being pregnant is a time of great joy for a woman and a couple, as they delight in the prospect of becoming new parents, plan for the birth of their child and look forward to this new adventure.
While this is certainly a cause for celebration, being pregnant can be physically uncomfortable at times, especially in the third trimester. A woman who’s expecting may experience sore muscles, back, feet and neck aches in addition to fatigue and morning sickness.
Most people would agree that a massage not only feels great but is an excellent source of stress relief, body and mind relaxation and a great way to take a break from daily obligations.
Pregnant women may find themselves worrying about the birthing process, especially if it will be their first time, the health of their unborn child and a myriad of other concerns regarding themselves and their baby. Luckily, prenatal massages can assist in providing some relief.
There a variety of different types of massage that are suited to different needs. People who want to relax and relieve stress may find that a Swedish (or relaxation) massage is the best option, while sports performers and weekend warriors may need some athletic recovery massage moves. For this, a deep tissue massage should be their first choice.
There’s a third popular massage type that offers many benefits as well: trigger point massage.