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Exercise For Older Cyclists, From Philip, At 71!

Philip’s cycling exercise routine for older cyclists

Today I’d like to share with you an article written by one of my readers, Philip Venter from South Africa. You might recall that Philip also shared his story with you in a previous newsletter which you can read here.

philip venterAt 71 Philip is doing extremely well on the bike, and has developed his own exercise routine for older people which he has offered to share with you.

Here’s Phillips exercise routine, in his words:

The biggest drawback of cycling is that actions like pedaling are of a repetitive nature and certain muscles get very strong. Others, like the back muscles are not really fully exercised and may deteriorate. This phenomenon caused me to feel all kinds of aches and pains, at the age of 71, and I noticed a loss of muscle power, due to normal aging.

I am a novice and not a fitness instructor. It took a lot of investigation to find a cure. It became clear that all cyclists need additional exercises to counter-act the problem.

Fortunately there is a vast amount of information on the Internet. Please do your own investigation and adapt the exercises to your needs. You will notice the difference after a month or so….

I do a 40-minute bike trip very morning and then do the following exercises for 30 minutes as part of my daily routine.

If you can not find the information you need, please contact me via Peter’s contact page and I will point you to the right directions.

Finally, you may have to consult a doctor before exercising.

1. Head rolls

Rotate the head from one shoulder to the other – forwards, backwards and sideways.. Hold each position 20 sec. Feel neck muscles stretching.

2. Upper back muscles

Stand upright, and hold your hands horizontally in front of you, in line with your shoulders. Pull your shoulders back and push your arms away. This stretches the back and shoulders. Keep for 20 seconds

3. Chest stretch

Stand upright, clasp both hands behind the back. Keep the back straight. Lift both arms behind your back as high as possible. Hold for 20 seconds.

4. Windmill backwards

Stretch both arms horizontally sideways and twist arms with palms facing upwards. Rotate arms backwards 10 times. Let palms face down and rotate arms forwards 10 times.

5. Arm swings

Hold arms horizontal and swing them forwards and backwards as far as possible especially at the back Repeat 10 times

6. Side stretch

Stand with legs straight and slightly apart. Raise the left arm above head your head. Grasp the left wrist with your right hand and pull it upwards while bending to the right at the waist Hold for 20 seconds and repeat with the opposite arm points. Feel the stretch in your side

7. Calf stretch

Face a wall, lean forward and place your hand on the wall. With one leg step forward so your foot is flat on the ground and your knee is bent. The other leg should be fully extended and stretched back, also with the foot flat. Feel the stretch in the calf as well as in the ankle of the back leg. Hold for 30sec and switch to the other leg.

8. Groin and inner thigh

Sit on the floor. Fold your legs so that the soles of the feet are together and knees are pointed outwards. Pull your feet in towards the groin as far as is comfortable and gently press your thighs down so your knees approach the floor. Keep your back straight. Hold for 20 seconds . Feel stretch in the groin and inner thigh

9. Hamstring and lower back

Sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Bend one leg so the sole of the foot touches the inner thigh of the other leg. Bend at the hip, hold your arms over the over the extended leg and lightly move the toes towards you. Feel the stretch in your hamstring at the back of your extended leg. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

10. Pilates Plank

This is an important exercise to strengthen the core, and there are many variations of this movement.

The most basic form is to support the body on the elbows, and toes, and to keep the body straight for as long as possible, say 20 seconds. It may be described as a static push-upexercise for older cyclists

11. Pilates side plank

Lie on your left elbow and put the right foot on top of the left. Straighten the body so that your weight rests on the left elbow and foot. Hold for about 20 seconds or longer and repeat with the other side.

12. Cat and cow

Stand on your hands and knees. Your back is straight. Your abdominals support your spine. Inhale, lift your head, and lower your back like a stretching cat.

Exhale, lower your head and arc your back upwards. Repeat 15-20 times.

13. Dorsal lift

Keep your feet on the floor when doing this exercise. Lie on your stomach place your hands at your ears. D o not use them to support the lifting exercise.

Inhale and smoothly lift your head and shoulders about 10-15 cm from the floor. Hold about 2-3 seconds. Slowly release and inhale. Repeat 6-8 times.

14. Crunch

Lie flat on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor and arms against ears. Breathe out while curling, hold 2 second and breathe out while lowering. Repeat a couple of times.

15. Hip and lower back

Lie flat on your back. Bring your legs up so that they are bent. Wrap your arms around your legs and hold them close to your body for 15 seconds. Feel a stretch in the lower back and hips

16. Two-legged glute bridge

Lie on your back with bent knees and your feet flat on the ground. Press your back against the floor and let both hands lie at your side, fingers touching your knees.

Tension your glutes,and breathe in. Start to lift the back by curling it upwards, starting at the lower end. Lift your back until the hips are at the same height as the knees. Hold for a few seconds, and lower the back while breathing out. Repeat 10 times

17. Push-ups

Find a demo on the Internet. If I can, so can you.

18. Hip abductions

Lie on your side and lift the upper leg from the hip, as high as possible. Hold a few seconds. Keep the toes horizontal. Repeat 10 times and repeat with the other leg

19. Clamshells

Lie down on your side and end your knees slightly. Place them a bit in front of you.

Rotate the upper leg up by using your hip muscles. Keep your upper body and your hip stationary, only move the working leg.

Hold the elevated position for a couple of seconds and then return to the starting position. The exertion should be felt on the side of the hip.

20. Bicycle ABS

Lie face up on your mat and place your hands behind your head, lightly supporting it with your fingers. Bring the knees in to the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck. .Rotate to the left, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee as you straighten the other leg.

Switch sides, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee. Continue alternating sides in a ‘pedaling’ motion for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.

21. Quadriceps stretch

Stand facing a wall if you need extra support. Lift your lower left leg behind you, then reach back with your left hand and grab your ankle. Keep your hips forward to avoid bending your back Move left leg a little backwards.

Pull your left foot up until your heel touches your butt or until you feel a stretch in the quadriceps (muscle in upper leg above knee) and hip. Avoid pulling sideways to protect knee. Hold for 30 sec. Repeat the stretch with right leg and hand.

Thanks Philip for sharing your personal cycling exercise routine.


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