FitFactor: Get Your Gears Going!
In late September, a group of community members, HFA staff, and sponsors rode, by bike, 156 miles from West Virginia to Washington, D.C. following the old mule tracks next to the C & O Canal. We started out on a Friday in West Virginia and finished at the canal’s beginning in Georgetown on Sunday, spending two nights in little towns along the trail. It may have been a strenuous journey, but it was an excellent workout and a fantastic way to spend the weekend, socializing with friends while raising money for HFA’s Helping Hands program. Also, the scenery was absolutely spectacular. Consider riding with us next year – it’s a weekend you won’t forget!
You don’t have to ride 156 miles to get a good workout on a bike. Cycling – either outside or on a stationary bike – is a great way to get in a low impact workout and there is no better time to ride than in the crisp air of autumn. Not only is the weather and scenery ideal, but cycling is easy on the body compared to traditional high impact activities such as running, walking, soccer, and gymnastics. Cycling works several muscles in your legs such as calves and hamstrings, as well as your shoulders, back, and core. This aerobic activity improves your cardiovascular health and blood circulation, and is a great form of exercise for people with bleeding disorders because it’s easy on the joints.
Aside from the many physical benefits, cycling is a great way to clear your head and appreciate the outdoors. As with most other forms of exercise, it can improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Cycling causes the body to release endorphins and is therefore considered to be an effective and natural anti-depressant.
Before you ride, remember to:
- Always check with your physician or physical therapist prior to beginning any physical activity.
- Make sure your bike fits you properly. You can easily injure yourself if your bike is too big or too small. Most bike shops will offer a free bike fitting. They can also make minor adjustments to your bike so it’s more comfortable for you.
- Plan your route ahead of time. There are plenty of phone applications, websites, and maps that provide good bike routes and trails so that you are not caught on busy roads.
- Always listen to your body – it knows how much it can handle and when it’s time to stop for the day.
- Wear a helmet.
There is still time to join us for our final ride of the 2016 Gears for Good series. In partnership with the Northern Ohio Hemophilia Foundation, we are holding a one-day ride from Independence to Akron, Ohio on Saturday, October 15. Consider joining us!
For more information, including tips on how to get started, and bicycle safety check out these short videos from HFA’s library:
Assisting and Advocating for the Bleeding Disorders Community