Guilty as charged! I probably do not exercise my upper body as much as you do. You have seen those professional cyclists on the Tour de France? Strong core, and legs, but skinny little upper bodies, with skinny arms. I am hardly in the category, but I do love my cycling, the rides through wine country, and new places to explore.
So, what should we do? (from Road Bike Rider)
Step-ups are one of the best gym exercises to build leg strength and I’m doing big step-ups getting to the juniper and trees and then step-downs with the slash. I use my upper body reaching up with the pruning shears, picking up logs and reaching down to pull out juniper. Sawing with a handsaw is great for my biceps and triceps. When one arm starts talking to me I switch arms. I got up this morning I was sore all over, especially my quads and glutes.
I try to keep my core muscles engaged while I’m bending and twisting so I don’t strain my back. Also, every five or ten minutes I stop, stand up as straight as possible and reach for the sky to stretch out my back.
Dragging the slash to the road and walking back is functionally the same as hiking, although not as much fun.
Climbing up the hill with my tools, cutting away and carrying or dragging back slash down to the house is like hard intervals. Each time I climb back up I stop to catch my breath and then start cutting again.
Getting up the hillside and especially back down with a load of slash is a challenge. I step carefully always making sure I’m stepping onto something solid, not loose soil or a rock that could shift.
All the reaching, twisting and bending — done carefully with a strong core — is great for my upper body flexibility. I take a few minutes to stretch my back, hips and legs.
Weight bearing exercise is important for strong bones and the heavier the load on my skeleton the stronger my bones are. Climbing up and down stairs is one of the recommended exercises for bone strength and I’m doing a harder version.
I can do a couple of hours and then I have to lie down for a while to recover. I’m as tired as if I’d done a hard, hilly two-hour ride.
American College of Sports Medicine Recommendations
For overall good health the ACSM recommends year-round:
Cardiorespiratory: Most days of the week you should do moderate cardio to total a minimum of 150 minutes / week up to 300 minutes / week. Or you could do 75 – 150 minutes of intense cardio. Or you could do a combination of moderate and intense cardio.
Strength training: You should do strength training two to three days / week, which should include exercises for all major muscle groups (shoulders, arms, chest, core, hips, and legs). 30 minutes / session is plenty.
Stretching/flexibility exercises: You should stretch all parts of your body at least four times a week — it only takes 5 – 10 minutes per session.
Weight-bearing exercises: Riding — even sprinting — doesn’t load your skeleton as much as plain walking! You should do 30 – 60 minutes a day of weight-bearing exercise three to five days a week. Your strength training and some types of aerobic exercise help to strengthen your bones.
Balance exercises: You should do balance drills both for general mobility and cycling safety.During the pandemic, I was able to cycle for 2 hours a day, 3-4 times a week. Now that the smoke has infiltrated our Valley, I am using a cycle trainer, indside, for an hour, much like a spin class. I have hand weights, but only use them while surfing the net.
Let me know what you are doing right now to stay in shape, physically, of course, and mentally!!! Times like these make us appreciate our health and ability to exercise safely.