FitDiver® Magazine June 2016 - Page 30

Nearly an all-in-one workout, cycling is particularly well-suited to develop the fitness level recommended for diving in changing conditions, rough seas and currents. Much more than just exercise for the legs, cycling involves all of the muscles of the body along with mind-muscle training for efficient movement

and all-important cardiorespiratory fitness for divers. Similar to diving, the torso is stabilizing the body while the legs are moving, and the arms are per- forming tasks.

Ftness can be as easy as riding a bike. For most divers, the biggest challenge will be finding a comfortable seat. Definitely start with a padded seat and maybe padded shorts as well. Whether cycling indoors or outdoors, make sure the bike fits properly.

Outdoor cycling often begins at a bike shop where staff will assist new cyclists with proper fitting of a bike and help determine which bike is best for the type of riding that is planned. For example, dirt and trail riding is different than street cycling. Safety is most important when cycling outdoors.

Practice on neighborhood streets and bike paths away from traffic before venturing into busy commuting areas. Always wear a helmet regardless of the laws, and any other gear that protects from injury and the elements. Joining a cycling club is a good option where divers will find social support, learn from others, and find riding buddies.

Indoor cycling requires seat, tension and handle adjustments to achieve a good fit. A group cycling instructor can assist divers with proper set up. If the

instructor does not offer to help, be sure to ask for assistance. Indoor cycling is choreographed and may be challenging for beginners. Initially, don't try to stay with the instructor. At first a good goal is to continue cycling at a comfortable tension for the entire class without stopping. Do this a few times before trying to adjust tension, stand up or cycle to a faster cadence. On both indoor and outdoor bikes the feet are often placed inside a pedal cage or clicked into the pedal with a cycling shoe. Different than outdoor riding where the terrain demands a response from the body, on indoor cycles, divers might unknowingly allow their legs to spin without engaging the muscles of the legs. It is important to ride with purpose. Push through the high stride and pull through the low stride putting reasonable effort into the workout.

Remember, as with all new exercise activity there is a possiblity of delayed onset muscle soreness. Divers may not

know how sore they will be until 24 to 36 hours after exercise. It is important to monitor heart rate when cycl8ing. Heart rate sensors are not typically built-into group exercise bikes, so divers will want to purchase a heart rate monitor, or learn how to check their heart rate manually.

Another option are the exercise bikes found in most fitness centers and home gyms. A variety of models are available in upright and recumbent styles. Stationary bikes may not have as many adjustments, but a good set up is to adjust the seat so that when the pedal is fully extended divers have a slight bend in the knee.