Published on January 2nd, 2013 | by Sal1
Get on your bike in 2013
The average Brit consumes a whopping 7,000 calories on Christmas day, so if you’ve spent the Christmas in a festive beverage-induced haze and given the tin of Celebrations a good seeing to, chances are that your clothing’s fitting a bit more snugly and your fitness isn’t the best it could be. We’re here to help – whether you’re getting back in the saddle after Christmas or you’re thinking of taking up cycling as a new year’s resolution.
If you were regularly cycling before Christmas, it’s worth remembering that your riding strength and ability might have taken a bit of a bashing over the holidays, so go easy on yourself – be realistic and take it easy to begin with. Build up back to your usual level one step at a time: suddenly taking on a 50-mile extravaganza won’t be the best idea straight away.
A bit of forward preparation always goes a long way and doesn’t have to be too time consuming. Have an early spring clean and get rid of all the Christmas leftovers and junk food and get ruthless with your Freeview or Sky Plus library (or video collection for the old school out there) and delete everything you’re really never going to get round to watching. Treat yourself to some new cycle clothing and accessories in the January sales and if you’re lucky enough to have a few days off work, use the time to get out on your bike. Decide when, where, how and for how long you want to cycle. A structured approach is always better than a generic goal such as “I want to exercise to lose weight”.
Recording your achievements is always motivational, no matter how small you think they are. A simple table stuck to the fridge will inspire you when you’re tempted by a snack:
or try one of the great apps like Strava which will do all the hard work recording the information for you, which you can then share with friends. If you get into the habit of exercising regularly, you’re less likely to give up. Make sure you tell friends and relatives about your cycling, hopefully you’ll get some encouragement from them as well.
There are always going to be times when you can’t stick to your plan. Torrential rain, dentist appointments, hangovers and headaches will always strike when you least expect them, so a good approach is to be flexible. If you miss a day, make it up another time, do double the amount in your next session, or really don’t worry about it – it’s not the end of the world and one missed session does not constitute failure.
It’s always beneficial to warm up before any form of exercise, especially when your muscles have had a bit of a break or haven’t been subjected to a few hours of cycling before. It’s equally important to warm down afterwards as well, not only to help your muscles recover but to restabilize your breathing and heartbeat.
Ok, riding every day probably doesn’t equate to a new piece of kit every day, but why not set a goal and treat yourself to something (cycle related or not) to celebrate your achievements? It’ll definitely be more motivation for you to keep up the good work.
Above all, enjoy exercising. You’ll feel better and look better, not to mention get out in the great outdoors and have an excuse to not do the ironing.