I am a keen road cyclist having converted from mountain biking a few years ago and a member of Glasgow Green Cycling Club. I ride about 5,000km per year, mainly in the UK but also when my wife and I go on holiday and I can sneak some rides in, usually before breakfast. Having had back surgery over 20 years ago and still periodically suffering from sciatica pain in my legs, I find that exercise definitely helps keep things at bay. The downside to road cycling is reduced flexibility and it is well known that hamstrings shorten through repetitive pedalling. Keeping a good core is important too and Pilates Plus helps with both. I have found that not only has my flexibility improved (hello toes, I can touch you again after a very long period of absence!) but my core has certainly strengthened. This has also helped with my swimming which I also do once or twice each week.
I usually set myself a challenge each year to motivate me to keep fit and this year I have raised the bar much higher than ever before by signing up for a cycling sportive called “Majorca 312” – with optional distances, the ultimate being 312km in one day climbing over 15,000ft in the process. A number of my cycling buddies and many professional riders do Pilates as well as yoga (I was recently given a book – Yoga for cyclists which covers Pilates too). I am a complete convert to it and I regard it as an extremely important part of my training as well as being good for my general well-being. It can sometimes be tough but no gain without pain! It’s not like “cycling for softies”!