The quiet roads and deserted urban centres around much of the world would usually be a cyclists delight. But the reason for the emptiness is a sombre affair. With gyms and sporting venues closed, and group rides prohibited in many areas, the only really safe place to exercise is on the indoor trainer in isolation.
QUARANTINE AND MENTAL HEALTH
In these challenging times of isolation and quarantine across the globe, mental health is as much of a concern as physical health. One thing that we can do to improve both is to exercise. But for us cyclists, how can we work out indoors safely without posing a danger to ourselves or others?
THE TRAINING OPTIONS UNDER QUARANTINE
With professional races cancelled across Europe and the club spring getaway to a southern European training camp on hold, there may be little to cheer about. But that’s not to say the action isn’t taking place elsewhere.
It’s hard to imagine a sport that has thrived as much as cycling has since the advent of the internet and recent technological advancements. The brave new world of online riding means that both pros and amateurs alike are “putting in the miles” side by side in the virtual world.
THE ONLINE TRAINING OPTIONS
There’s a lot going on in this ever-more crowded market. Firstly, at Tacx, we’ve added new Tacx Films in the last couple of weeks and we offer several indoor challenges, both are sure to help motivate you further.
Aside from Tacx, there are also a host of other online training platforms and apps to choose from. And what’s more, your Tacx smart trainer is compatible with all the top platforms.
Zwift currently leads the way in terms of the number of riders. They offer group rides, full-on racing wheel to wheel with many of the top pros, and detailed workouts for structured training. And even though it all takes place indoors, it offers unrivalled realism in an online platform that recreates the experience in ways that other sports simply can’t.
CAN CYCLING MAKE LOWER YOUR IMMUNITY?
What are the risks associated with maintaining a high training load during periods where people are more likely to get sick?
Many people assume that physical activity stresses the immune system and makes us more susceptible to sickness. But a scientific study published in The Journals of Gerontology in 2002 investigated the link between exercise and immune suppression in physically active individuals.
Contrary to popular belief, researchers found that physically active people have a better immune response to flu vaccination. Researchers claimed that “the practice of regular, vigorous exercise was associated with an enhanced immune response following influenza vaccination in older adults.”
Other studies correlate the findings and suggest that those who train more, get sick less, with science even demonstrating that the real cause of compromised immunity is unhealthy stress.
IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS
Even if you’re carrying a few extra pounds, dieting isn’t recommended for any athlete at this time. Those all-important calories help maintain immune function in times of need, and a deficiency in protein and certain nutrients will result in a weakened immune system.
Nutrients with immune-boosting properties include vitamins A, C, E, and B6, while magnesium, zinc, and iron are desirable building blocks. Healthy portions of fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds, will also help provide your body with what it needs to ward off any unfriendly microbial life.
WHERE BORED CYCLISTS HANG OUT
With the masses stuck indoors, the virtual world is lighting up with a long list of new competitors. And for anyone who has a fear of “boring” indoor trainer rides well, the threat of losing fitness and enduring more boredom will drive anyone to finally set up their indoor trainer.
For now, it’s a time to celebrate the sense of community we have in cycling; to be there for one another in times of need and appreciate the small joys of riding together, even if it’s virtual.
Stay safe out there, and we’ll see you online! #NeverStopCycling