Hop on the Saddle

“What exercise delivers the best results,” I am often asked. Variety and enjoyment are key components in a program to sustain health and motivation. If you haven’t tried biking or an indoor cycling class, I invite you to hop on the saddle, and give it a whirl.

What motivates you?

Do you want to lose weight? Find an activity you can share with family or friends? Enjoy the outdoors? Reduce your chances of being diagnosed with cancer or disease? Try biking!

Research has noted multiple health benefits to cycling:

  • Leaner Body Mass
  • Boost in Immunity
  • Improve Brain Health (increase memory, creativity and prevention of Alzheimers)
  • Better Sleep
  • Reduce incidence of Cancer
  • Increase in energy and positive hormone production
  • Reduce Incidence of Heart Disease
  • Enhances stress management

Gail Endres, a prostate cancer survivor, rotated biking into his fitness regimen 30 years ago, noting biking is kinder to his joints. “I used to have lower back pain, which disappeared as the lower back muscles strengthened from bicycling.”

Sarah Russell, a breast cancer survivor, prefers cycling, “it clears my mind as much as it strengthens my body. I always return from a ride in a more peaceful state than when I left.”

Gail and Sarah participated in RAAM, Race Across America, with a team of cancer survivors and Doctor Richard Deming, in June of 2012. The team raced their bikes from the west coast, through deserts and over mountains, to the east coast, under 7 days. During RAAM training, the teams bond grew as strong as their muscles and endurance.

Drennan Fischer, after 5 months of chemotherapy and two surgeries fighting breast cancer, joined the Above and Beyond Cancer RAAM team. Drennan, while raising her one and three year old children, fought for a new definition of health. “My coaches and teammates pushed me to levels of physical fitness I never believed I could attain, especially post-cancer. I gained a great deal of self confidence from this.”

In winter months, when biking outdoors seems less manageable, Sarah and others will pop into an indoor cycling class at the YMCA. “I enjoy the camaraderie of spin. No matter your speed, no one gets dropped,” says Sarah.

Gail likes how indoor cycling can prep him for trail riding. “You can concentrate on form and posture with the mirrors that are typically in an indoor cycling room and build endurance… so when you get on a real bike and create that cool breeze on a hot summer day it will be WAAAAY more Fun!”

Hop on the saddle and take a spin with us!

Above + Beyond Cancer and the YMCA Healthy Living Center is hosting a FREE introductory bike clinic on Saturday, April 5th @ 11:30 am at the YMCA Healthy Living Center. Qualified YMCA staff will orientate you to biking, including a “mini” indoor cycling class. The clinic also offers Lactate Threshold Testing for experienced cyclists. Questions? Contact me at Mary@AboveAndBeyondCancer. org or call the YMCA Healthy Living Center at 515-226-9622.

Additional Links:

Above + Beyond Cancer + Race Across America
http://aboveandbeyondcancer.org/archives/category/raam

30 Reasons to Bike
http://www.bikeradar.com/us/road/gear/article/30-reasons-to-take-up-cycling-23965/

Mary Van Heukelom
Program Director

Mary Van Heukelom is a Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer who trains, educates and coaches cancer survivors to reduce the chance of relapse, through holistic personal wellness programs addressing all aspects of healthy living.

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