Modern Moto Magazine ISSUE No. 6 - January 2018 - Page 7

of our neck muscles improves our head checks when changing lanes, looking through turns and on those ght, technical twisty roads. Twis ng your head from side to side while wearing your helmet will help improve your neck strength and range of mo on for when it is needed most. Mobility is the next cornerstone of riding fi tness. Many of us, especially those of us who sit at a desk for extended periods of me, have ght hips and shoulders. Releasing these areas in general helps us maneuver on and off the bike, open the hips when hanging off and contort ourselves into whatever other body posi on we need while riding. Ever get that dreaded hip cramp a er an unnatural maneuver? Get headaches or experience sore muscles a er a ride? Stretching before a ride helps prevent these by ge ng our muscles and connec ve ssues warmed up and ready for the ride. Counterstretching during and a er a ride relaxes and balances the muscles that we overuse or overstretch during a long day in the riding posi on. Yoga and Pilates are the best methods for increasing mobility and fl exibility for motorcycling. While virtually every yoga pose (or asana) provides some benefi t for motorcyclists, consider tree pose for balance and hip opening, the Warrior series for leg mobility and strength and reclined supported cobbler pose for hip opening and post-ride, cramped-shoulder counterstretching. Ac vi es like yoga and Pilates also have the added benefi ts of improving our ability to concentrate on the maneuver at hand (rather than worrying about the challenge that may lie two hours ahead in our ride) and get through mentally or physically diffi cult situa ons. The breathing techniques taught in many yoga classes emphasize coordina on of movement with breath, which is key when nego a ng ght corners. Other breathing techniques minimize the fl ight or fi ght response, allowing us to reduce fear or anxiety before and during challenges. There are also breathing techniques that help us adjust our body temperature! The importance of cardio workouts seems a li le disconnected at fi rst, because many riders don’t realize how much we really ask of our bodies when riding a motorcycle. It’s much more ac ve than si ng in your car where the vehicle does most of the work. Emily O’Shaughnessy, an exercise physiologist at the UC Dav is Cardiac Rehabilita on Unit, wore a heart rate monitor for a ride combining varying levels of challenges and thrill. She noted that her riding heart rate was well above her res ng heart rate the en re me and increased when at highway speeds or execu ng technical maneuvers. Similar results have been observed with MotoGP racers wearing heart rate monitors. This proves that riding a motorcycle is not a passive ac vity! Cardio and endurance training rou nely elevates our heart rate, thereby allowing us to ride longer in a day and recuperate more quickly a er each day when riding for mul ple days. Increased endurance also aids in our ability to stay alert and ac ve on a ride, decreasing our chance for error when we are red or fa gued. Running, cycling or climbing stairs are great ways for us motorcyclists to improve our cardiovascular endurance. Jill Oliver, a Motorcycle Safety Founda on® (MSF) instructor and Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDR) Ambassador, stresses the importance of cardio training for building endurance, no ng that “physical fa gue is a HUGE factor for any style of riding, and this is extremely important for safety: it can lead to mental lapses that inhibit your ability to SEE: Search, Evaluate, Execute.” Nutri on brings these fi tness benefi ts together. Did you know that street riding burns around 300 calories per hour, and that burn increases to approximately 600 when riding in the dirt? So long, treadmill! When we frame the hobby of riding into the context of a gym workout, we realize the importance of proper nutri on. Rider Deena Mastracci, a personal trainer and physical therapist, explains that what we put in our bodies fuels our workouts, much like how gasoline fuels our vehicles – if you don’t put in premium fuel, you won’t get premium performance. She suggests tailoring what we eat ahead of or during a ride for the type of riding that we are doing. It’s OK to eat whatever we crave on shorter day rides under 200 miles, she says, but longer or mul ple day rides, or off - road adventures, require op mum, balanced nutri on and avoiding foods with high fat content or added sugar. “We all have our cheats, 7