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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-22-06, 08:59 PM   #1
DizzyG3
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Physical conditioning

We all know about the health benefits of cycling the car free lifestyle gives us. Lately, it has occurred to me that while I am as active (if not more) than when I regularly went to the gym, there is one thing in particular that I don't do anymore. Stretch. Do any of you stretch on a regular basis, if at all? I do between 75 and 100 miles a week, but never seem to end up in a stretching-freindly place after a ride. It's kinda silly when I think about it, given the known benefits of stretching. What does everyone else do?
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Old 03-22-06, 09:26 PM   #2
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Never. Things work themselves out once they're moving.
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Old 03-22-06, 09:52 PM   #3
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I do the same as you do. I don't stretch and then feel like I should have.

To be honest though, it doesn't really seem to make too much difference. Maybe Brad's right that just moving is good enough?
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Old 03-22-06, 10:59 PM   #4
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I stretch arms, shoulders, and back.
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Old 03-23-06, 07:45 AM   #5
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I've actually added 20-40 minutes (depending on "free" time) of stretching before all my rides for the last two months. It's made a BIG difference. I feel much more comfortable (younger?) walking around, sitting, etc. It took about 1.5 months before I noticed that though. I have read that for stretching to make a difference, you need to do it 2x a day, every day. While I do think that stretching multiple times a day would make a huge difference, doing it 4x a week HAS made a difference.
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Old 03-23-06, 09:02 AM   #6
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I don't stretch for biking. Biking seems like part of life I just do it.

But...recently the doctor is giving me the "exercise is the only fountain of youth" lecture. He thinks the regular biking for transport isn't enough. So, in the past month I started doing some stretching and things I remember from PE class before pedaling to work. I feel more energetic and think I got at a faster pace after the stretching.

Still biking seems like walking or breathing or sleeping or reading not something I need to warm up for. If I were racing I'd probably have a very different view but for transport I just go at the pace I go, if I start hurting I slow down and shift gears.
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Old 03-23-06, 10:23 AM   #7
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I agree that cycling, especially utility cycling, does not meet all my training needs. It doesn't strengthen my bones, for example. I try to walk routinely for that. Biking also doesn't do much for core and upper body strength, so I lift weights 3 times a week, for just about 40 minutes per workout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwd
Still biking seems like walking or breathing or sleeping or reading not something I need to warm up for.
I agree. I can't go through some routine every time I ride. My home is right on a busy street, so I can't warm up gradually before I jump into the traffic.

One thing that came up in a discussion with pedex on the Training forum was the issue of rest. Many of us ride 10 or 20 miles every day. Some, like pedex, ride even more than that. Coaches and trainers say the body needs rest from time to time. Does anybody have any experience with this problem, or is it really not a problem?
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Old 03-23-06, 10:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eatadonut
I stretch arms, shoulders, and back.
What results have you noticed?
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Old 03-23-06, 10:26 AM   #9
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I generally don't unless I go hard on the ride, then I'll stretch afterwards as part of cooling down. I too think I probably should though.
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Old 03-23-06, 12:11 PM   #10
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considering I get like 20-30hrs a week of aerobic exercise I should stretch, but I dont
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Old 03-23-06, 01:19 PM   #11
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I've been practicing yoga 5-6 days a week for 25-35 minutes since October of last year. Since I've just started riding I can't really give a comparison as I'm not willing to stop practicing to find out. I can say that through yoga my body has become much more flexible and allows me to focus on the day ahead of me. I'll continue practicing yoga and riding for many years to come. I'd say it's a perfect match. I also do strength training 3 days a week, nothing major just enough to keep in shape and build a bit of muscle. Yoga has helped me greatly in that area as well.
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Old 03-23-06, 01:49 PM   #12
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I don't stretch at all. I don't seem to have any problems with it.
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Old 03-23-06, 02:35 PM   #13
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I stretch, but not necessarily as part of my biking regimen. I also play tennis, and I try to get about 1/2 hour warmup in before playing, including a number of stretches. Often, I'll stretch out my arms and shoulders while riding freestyle, when no cars are around.
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Old 03-23-06, 02:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
What results have you noticed?
Well, I spend a lot of time each day with my torso in one position (I'm a musician, I bike everywhere, I'm in front of the computer for a good amount of time), so it's something I've done for a few years now. I started doing it because I'd be really stiff, and had a lot of joint pain, and tons of lower back pain. Since I've started stretching twice a day (wake up and go to bed), the pain is gone. My legs have never hurt, so I've never bothered to stretch.

Actually, that's not quite true. When I do lower-body weightlifting, I'll do a cool-down stretch. Gives me a better shot at being able to walk the next morning.
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Old 03-23-06, 09:01 PM   #15
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I stretch if I feel like I need to, before a ride I know will be long/difficult, or during rest breaks in long distance rides. Most of the time I don't though.
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Old 03-25-06, 06:02 PM   #16
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I was like most of you not stretching EVER.

It isn't likely to be too detrimental if all you do is cycle, however I am a college athlete and I tore my ACL, MCL, and Meniscus as a result of never stretching (I stretched with the team, of course, but you know how that goes)

Your muscles do ONE thing, contract, the stronger they get the better they can contract. Your muscles work towards efficiency and what is more effiecient is if they have to contract over a smaller distance, slowly (without stretching) they bring your body closer to itself(remember your muscles protect your joints).

Now, none of this is inherently detrimental, but if you also play sports at a high level, it would be wise to stretch.

The more flexible you are, the better, is what I am trying to say.
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Old 03-25-06, 06:36 PM   #17
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I never stretched when I was skateboarding and I think it helped contribute to my more severe knee injuries...that and the air gnarly air I was doin at the time
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Old 03-27-06, 03:37 AM   #18
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cylcling is insufficient and may reduce flexibility according to renowned flexibility expert Thomas Kurz. The reason is that you are moving your body in a REDUCED range of motion.

I suggest that you stretch afterwards especially your calves and hamstrings.

A little helps. Remember to stretch when you are warm to you feel it, never pain!
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Old 03-27-06, 07:23 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwd
But...recently the doctor is giving me the "exercise is the only fountain of youth" lecture.
Is he justifying that visit you paid to him??

Indeed that some stretching it is beneficial to keep things supple, and it is also true that if you where stressing your body by racing it will require more stretching, but remember that too much stretching might not help proportionally as the time and effort invested on it.
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Old 03-27-06, 06:19 PM   #20
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Swimming

I swim, which seems to limber me up a bit. Swiming is a great activity to cross train really with anything. It gives you a fantastic cardio work out but there is zero impact or strain because you are supported by water. It also works practically every muscle in your body, so great over all benefits.
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Old 03-28-06, 04:57 PM   #21
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I stretch my arms, back and neck at stops, but I rarely do anything for my legs....I let the first mile or two of the ride do all the muscle relaxing I need.
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Old 03-29-06, 07:01 PM   #22
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I try to stretch at night when I get home. if I can feel yesterday's miles when I wake up, sometimes I massage my legs and then do stretches before breakfast.
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Old 03-30-06, 01:52 AM   #23
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I always stretch on my off days when not riding because I feel that stretching will help your body stay fluid and help promote increase circulation throughout your body. Of course I am active in martial arts also so that helps as a incentive. But the thing is if you do not stretch as you get older then the eventual thing is you will become more stiff and less pliable. Not being flexible is a dentriment to older people; having to do with their circulatory system, and their probable injurious mishap of older age living.
What I am saying is it is a good thing to have some flexibility in life generally speaking. Think of it this way if you have time to watch tv, then you have time to stretch a little, that's what I do.
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Old 03-30-06, 07:21 AM   #24
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I always feel like I should be stretching before and after, but I usually forget or tell myself I'm stop at 1 mile and then stretch, but that never happens...

Only time I do is when I hurt myself, usually doing something else (pulled some moves at the ice rink that killed my groins and hamstrings)
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Old 03-31-06, 01:48 AM   #25
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I do exercises from mattfurey.com

One of the exercise is a neck bridge. Where you do basically a bridge, arching your back in reverse, with your neck on the ground.

The other is a hindu pushup. This one stretches out your spine real nice. So does the bridge.
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