Yoga for Cyclists
One of my all time favorite activities is cycling. Especially as the weather gets warmer in NYC. I ride my Schwinn Women’s Circuit bike everywhere, it’s circuit is speedy and agile for morning commutes and weekend getaway rides. I can ride through Central Park to get to my clients so quickly and easily; and it never feels too strenuous. I love how easy it is to combine fitness and transportation. Cycling to me is freeing and joyful. I feel like a kid again the second I jump on my bike.
My favorite way to explore a new area is on a bike. As a family we ride all over Nantucket with the boys towed behind us in the trailer when we vacation there in the summer. My husband has the Schwinn Signature Men’s Fordham bike which he says provides an ultra-comfortable ride. We taught my oldest son Timothy to ride a bike on the Schwinn Signature Boys, it’s great because as he grows we can raise the seat and then once he grows out of it the twins will be able to ride. We are planning to bring the bikes and trailer to the Hamptons with us this summer too. Cycling is the perfect family activity!
I am so lucky I have a consistent yoga practice; because the only downfall to cycling is the stiffness it can cause in the lower back, hip flexors, quads and shoulders. After a long day on the bike, I can feel a bit sore from bending forward and powering with my legs. All cyclists need to stretch before and after a ride. It’s also important to tap in to your core strength when cycling and yoga helps us develop our deep core muscles as well.
Yoga Postures For Cyclists
Here are a few of my favorite yoga postures for cyclists and a fun yoga flow pre or post ride:
Crescent lunge: Great for stretching out the hip flexors and quads. Start on all fours and step your right foot forward as you slide your left knee back in space. Lift your chest and raise your arms to the ceiling. Keep your abdominals engaged and shoulders relaxed. Stretch open the front of the left thigh and breathe 8-10 breaths. Switch sides.
Downward Facing Dog: Great shoulder and full body stretch for cyclists. Start on all fours, tuck under your toes and lift your hips in to downward facing dog. Hold 8-10 breaths.
Upward Facing Dog: Wonderful way to open up the chest (especially after hunching forward on the bike) and stretch the entire front body. From downward facing dog roll forward to plank and keep your abs engaged as you drop your hips and lift your chest. Press the top of each foot on the floor. Hold and breathe 8-10 breaths.
Keep Stretching It Out
Side Triangle: I love this pose for opening up the side bodies and stretching tight inner thighs and hamstrings. Step your feet open on the mat one leg’s length apart. Turn your right foot forward ninety degrees and your left foot towards your right foot about seventy-five degrees. Keep your legs straight and abdominals engaged as you hinge to your right side. Place your right hand on your ankle or shin (or a block if you need) and stretch your opposite arm up to the ceiling. Hold 8-10 breaths come up to stand and pivot the feet to the opposite side.
Bow Pose: Perfect stretch for opening up the body before or after a bike ride. Bow opens up the lungs so you can breathe so much deeper. Come back through downward facing dog, roll in to plank and rest on to your belly. Bend both knees and reach back for your ankles. Press your feet up to the ceiling to lift your chest and open your heart. Hold 5-8 breaths. Lower down and repeat one or two more times.
You can thread these poses together from the start for a little flow before you hop on the bike or hold each pose for longer after a bike ride. I love the combo of yoga and cycling. The two are so complementary to each other. Yoga helps open me up and allows my body to recover and get stronger for my bike rides. Cycling gets my heart rate up and gets me moving. I love hopping on a bike for cardio, it never feels tedious and it’s a great family activity as well. I can’t wait for all of my boys to be riding alongside me soon!!!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!