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At Moji, we love a good sports medicine debate. Actually, we love any debate. However, in addition to the customary water-cooler deliberations about last night’s game or the merits of certain Project Runway designers, we contemplate (okay, loudly dispute) the veracity of every great debate in sports from stretching to what headphones have done to running. On Wednesday, another juicy debate arose from Gina Kolata’s New York Times article, which calls into question the purported benefits of cooling down. At first, we thought that our great interest in “sharing our opinions” on this topic, which are part science, part anecdotal evidence (what athlete doesn’t like to share a good war story?) was simply a Moji-specific obsession. However, from the bevy of impassioned comments on Kolata’s article, it is clear that we aren’t the only ones who find cooling down to be a hot topic.
On The Times’ website, many experts have commented on the article to refute the evidence presented. Sean Lee, a lifelong trainer and Moji’s resident fitness expert, recently wrote a great article on the benefits of cooling down from a scientific perspective. In the article, Sean also disagrees with Kolata and states that even a short cool down can: – Allow for a safe and gradual return of heart rate, respiration rate, and core body temperature back to pre-exercise levels. – Reduce the risk of post-exercise cramping or spasm. – Aid in the prevention of blood pooling, dizziness, and fainting. – Assist in the removal of waste products (not just lactic acid), which can accumulate during vigorous exercise and delay recovery time. – Assist in the decrease of post-exercise stiffness and muscle soreness. – Enhance flexibility and facilitate an improvement in the length-tension relationships between muscles. – Begin the recovery process, preparing the body for the next workout. At Moji, even the few of us that tend to shirk post-exercise routines agree that, in addition to the aforementioned benefits, a “cool down” period is a great opportunity to stretch, reflect on the day’s training, check in with your body, and even take a mental victory lap. After all, there’s nothing better than pushing through a tough workout and enjoying the release of tension and accomplishment of meeting that evening’s challenge. Whether you cool down to help transition your body into recovery mode, to enjoy the mental release, or simply to lower your body temperature so that you don’t sweat through your shower, taking some time to cool down after exercise offers rewards for athletes of all levels. Want to add something to your post-workout cool down ritual? Check out these sport-specific cool down videos for great stretches.
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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: