Is cycling in the fall good for you? The Equinox of 22 September takes us to the season loved by cyclists because we can still ride, hated because it exposes us to the first risks of rain, cold and humidity. What can you do to continue cycling and prepare your body for the period when nature reaches the peak of its regressive phase? The rays of the Sun reach us tangents and less strong. For plants, the signal indicates the time when you need to prepare for the winter or the dormant phase. Something similar happens in the body: it slows down the processes of growth and regeneration such as the renewal of the skin and hair. Whether you go cycling or not, you need to protect yourself: indulge your desire to sleep, increase your appetite. We must deal with tiredness and enjoy the positive side: autumn is the season that favors concentration and concentration on oneself. We must take advantage of this to reorganize the inner energies, the projects, the forge of ideas. And don’t stop pedaling or training.
Cycling in autumn: how not to stop
Bleed the light
- Concentrates maximum physical activity in the early hours of the day. As soon as possible, get out on your bike: natural light helps maintain your mood, strengthens your immune system and stimulates the production of endorphins. If you can, go for a weekend on the last sea and do a little bit more light. As I did years ago in Gozo (in the cover photo).
Autumn is Vata
- Digestion slows down: the belly may be more dilated. You have to accept that it is softer, maybe massage it with sesame oil, rebalancing, in Ayurveda, for the autumn dosha Vata. If you feel like it, do a few days of a detox diet or a purification practice with water, broths or light centrifuges. Massages and hot baths increase your wellbeing, in this season better with essential oils with a slightly warming and stimulating effect.
- Autumn exposes some parts of the body to greater fragility. One of them is the throat. That it is necessary to protect, by bicycle, from cold blows, also avoiding breathing too cold air. At home, it is good to do breathing exercises so that your lungs are more resistant to winter diseases. They are generally described in any good yoga manual and in my article How to train your breathing and be happy.
Watch out for vitamin D
- As the light decreases, both the mood and the amount of vitamin D needed to fix calcium in the bones decreases. Sports that leave the body in a low-gravity environment such as swimming do not contribute to bone density. Cycling is also a non-impact sport. So be careful to take vitamin D in the right doses, especially for women cyclists in menopause. The shrinking muscle draws calcium from the bones when it is not in the blood. Adding some high dynamic impact activities is also a good idea. On this subject see also my article Is it true that the bike swells the legs?
Vitamins for the immune system
- Protecting oneself and preparing oneself for winter also means, in autumn, stimulating the immune system with a multivitamin mix. Keforma of San Marino, a company to which Federica Pellegrini is also attached, has developed three types of multivitamin supplements: All Vit Endurance for endurance sports, Stop and Go for football, tennis and team games. Fitness for those who do muscular activity in the gym. The Endurance for runners and cyclists contains vitamins – involved in every metabolic process -, zinc – immunomodulator par excellence -; enzymes and trace elements such as copper, manganese and selenium; folic acid and vitamin B12 that activate the processes of disposal of aerobic fatigue.
Do not underestimate dehydration on your bike
- In autumn/winter, despite the temperatures, you sweat on your bike anyway. And it cools down. Because of the cold, you also drink less. Beware of dehydration. For short rides, water is enough. For longer rides, you might as well fill the water bottle with an isotonic drink, which has the same molecular pressure as the blood, so that it can be easily exchanged through the cellular membranes.
In autumn, pay attention to your weight
- Do not take weight: in cycling, as in many other physical activities, the displacement of the entire body mass of the athlete is an important part of the workload. In women cyclists, because of the lower lean mass, the maximum aerobic power or oxygen consumption is about 15-25% lower than in men. Therefore, it is essential to keep the percentage of fat within the optimal values, carrying out workouts that mobilize the lipid supply.
- In autumn, it is good to have 4-5 meals a day to balance the natural increase in appetite and hypoglycemic drops. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the most important protection foods. In the colder seasons it is not recommended eating them raw. In this regard, read also What do cyclists eat before a race?
- In this season, allow yourself at least 7-8 hours of sleep, whether you ride, or if you don’t ride a bike on some day.
- Liquid pooling and microcirculation: two purely feminine problems that can in the long run give rise to cellulite. Specific herbal teas can help. Among the supplements, I have tried with satisfaction the Red Dren, always by Keforma, a syrup with affection draining and purifying. It contains centella which is phlebotonic, and the Japanese mushroom shitake energy stimulator. On me it has had the effect of reducing retention deposits within the knees. I hope he can do something good for you bicycle women too.