Thought I will share yet another personal story on this forum about some current health related issues. Maybe someone can pick up a tip or 2. After a splendid year of cycling eventually the inevitable had to happen that is the body breaking down. I suffer from an advanced herniated disk between the L4 and L5 due to several ridiculous accidents during my early teens. The condition got worse 6 years ago to the point where I basically could not get up and walk. The Orthopedic surgeon recommended surgery at the time. The alternative advice was to postpone the surgery if I could, by staying lean and fit. It was then I took up cycling and shed 15 kilos and got myself in decent shape. Most of the years I was riding regularly but taking breaks during the winter months. Over the past 15 months, as my passion and intensity of cycling increased I rode thru the winter of 2008, suffered a elbow fracture in May and then rode thru the summer in Italy until a few weeks ago when my body basically could not take anymore of the pain and I had to call the season off.
First stop was to my Chiropractor who mostly works with torn and injured athletes. They have been performing spinal correction and rehabilitation about 3 times a week to get me back on the bicycle for TFN. I took 3 weeks off to allow the healing process and been doing the Intermediate and advanced spinal fulcrum exercises to strengthen my back further. Outside of the clinic routines I have been swimming and doing YOGA! Yoga is something I used to do in the past and to get back to it was truly magnificent. I somehow cannot understand why anyone would not do it. It is truly the most remarkable remedy for staying in good health.
The mistake I made in my pursuit to staying fit was that I ignored the most important factor that is to rest and also allow the body to heal after long intensity rides! For the miles I rode these years I never really spent focused energy on stretching (the most important aspect of any sports or physical activity) and healing after the activity. Now as I recuperate from my back injuries I am swimming three times a week and doing Yoga several times a week. Yoga is allowing me to stretch my back and get more flexibility in my spine and muscles and the body and mind in general. Most cyclists in general have a stronger core but a weaker back and Yoga is really helpful in strengthening those back muscles. As we cheer top cyclists or athletes during races and tours we sometimes forget about the care that goes in maintaining an athlete in top shape, it usually goes on behind the scenes.
As I am back on the bike this week, the pain is almost gone but I am really focusing on 15 min YOGA stretches before and after the ride. I am also spending time on the indoor trainer attending several group classes to do some high intensity intervals to build the cycling base again.. I have promised myself to respect my body and allow healing times. Massages are a must after long intensity rides. It allows to get rid of the lactic acid accumulated in the muscles and helps the muscles relax and unwind. That is another thing I am keen on doing atleast once a month or after any high intensity or long ride.
I will add few other thoughts to the above notes.
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