Fit into old age
Did you know that from around the age of 30, the muscles shrink and turn into fat? It’s an open secret, if we don’t move, our muscles lose their elasticity, flesh becomes weak and your bikini body will just be a distant memory. But counteracting this is easier than you might think! Because a gentle sport like cycling works almost all muscles of the body. Yes, you heard that right! Not only the butt, legs and calves are worked out when cycling, muscle areas such as the back muscles are also trained. This is why cycling is one of the most popular measures to counteract back problems, as it stabilises the spine and can prevent herniated discs.
The all-round training for everyone
But which muscles are the stars of this spectacle? The muscles of the hip and buttocks are put under a lot of strain when cycling. The continuous pedalling movement also strengthens the hip-flexor, which is largely responsible for the fact we can bend down. Without a doubt the legs have to work hardest. When the pedals are pushed, the thigh muscles and the calf muscles are used. But why are we talking about a whole-body workout? In order to maintain a correct, upright posture on the bike, we need our abdominal muscles, which must always be slightly tense in order to sit stable on the bike. The flatter the cycle path, the less the muscles in the upper body are used. But if you cycle on unpaved paths or go up and down on a cycle tour, the muscles in the arms and sometimes the chest are also used.
Probably the nicest way to look after your heart
The most important muscle we have, the heart muscle, benefits from the gentle training of cycling. The constant activity trains the heart, gets blood pumping and the risk of cardiovascular disease can be reduced. And if you want to lose a few pounds, you should hop on the saddle, because cycling is fun, stimulates the metabolism and fat burning and is also gentle on the joins, since a large part of the body weight is carried by the saddle.
What causes sore muscles after exercise?
It used to be thought that muscle soreness was caused by muscle acidification. However, we now know that sore muscles are caused by the smallest tears in the muscle tissue, which result from overexertion. The muscle tissue then becomes inflamed and the penetration of water causes slight swelling – this swelling or stretching triggers the well-known muscle pain. It is therefore always important to slowly bring the body up to ‘operating temperature’ and to slowly introduce it to movement. If you cannot prevent muscle soreness, then you should rely on warmth, because this promotes blood circulation. A relaxing bath or visit to the sauna can’t work miracles, but they can help to relieve the pain.
Christine Pölzleitner, Travel specialist