Cyclers, know your vitamins!
We all learned how to ride bikes when we were just kids cycling around the block. It involved a lot of falling, scratched knees and elbows, but none of it mattered as the result allowed us to explore the neighborhood, that at the time felt like traveling the world. Now it is not just about hopping on thee bike and letting the road take you: some consider it a serious sport and the others a good exercise to lose weight. Having this in mind, every cyclist needs to take into consideration a good nutrition and vitamins in order to stay strong and healthy.
First make sure that you have the proper equipment. You do not need an expensive bike, an old one will be just fine, but be sure that it is a perfect fit for you. It is also a common misconception that a heavier bike will help you lose weight and build muscles faster, but do not let anyone deceive you: a lighter bike goes faster, and it is taking a good advantage of the strength that you have. Replace as many components as you can with lighter ones and use aerodynamic helmet and tight clothing. Wear cycling shorts with padding in the crotch in combination with your bike seat cushioning to relive the pressure on your sit bones.
Cycling requires strength, so the body has to be in top physical condition. Experts say that it is not the size and shape of muscles, but how efficiently they contract. This sport relies on strong leg, core and upper body muscle, so go to the gym from time to time. Once a week you need to hit the weights, but not immediately after a biking session. A serious cyclist needs to have a home bicycle, to ride without traffic jams and bad weather conditions, as he needs a steady rhythm.
Last, but probably the most important thing is proper nutrition and vitamin intake. Balanced diets should provide our body with enough vitamins, but nutritionists argue that modern day living habits leave us depleted. When in supermarket, fill your cart with variety of nutrient-rich food and then use vitamin supplements just to fill the gaps. You can use government’s My plate nutrition guide to help you. But remember: these are just “supplements” intended to add to the diet, not take the place of a real food. When in doubt which one to take, have the multivitamin rather than individual supplement, but respect the limits and do not take more than 100% of the daily value.
Every cyclist needs to know basic information about the vitamins he uses, where they can be found and what they are specifically good for, so here is a list of most essential ones:
This vitamin is critical for growth, the synthesis of red blood cells, and for the repair of damaged cells and tissues. Breaks down proteins and helps body transfer red blood cells and oxygen to muscles. Athletes can easily meet their B vitamin requirements by consuming a well-balanced diet that includes grains, dark green vegetables, dairy products, nuts, beans and meats. Vitamin B12 is found naturally only in animal products.
Vitamins C and E
Increase stamina and cyclist’s endurance capabilities. Hard exercise can cause oxidative stress, associated with muscle damage and they lower stress rates caused by training. Vitamin C and E can be found in oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, bananas, almonds, hazelnuts, spinach as well as in capsule form.
In addition to bone health, vitamin D regulates the growth and maintenance of the nervous system, skeletal muscle and immune function. It can be found naturally in fatty fish, egg yolks, and dairy products.
Word “vitamin” comes from Latin vita, meaning life, what shows us just how important they are to our organism. Sportsmen, like cyclers need to pay special attention to their nutrition and proper vitamin intake, as their exercise will not be as efficient, and their final goals might not be fulfilled whether they are to win a race, keep up with the others or just a regular exercise.