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How to cycle faster

With a dramatic improvement in performance of world class British cyclists in the UK in the last few years, it is with no surprise that North Yorkshire welcomes the UCI world road world championships starting this weekend.


Cycling is a great sport that gets you into the outdoors, and very quickly into nature. It can be carried out independently with involves minimal organisation, or can be pursued with a group of like minded people, enhancing social interaction and face to face connections. Regardless of how you prefer to cycling, how can you improve?


Firstly, a balanced diet is required to be generally healthy. A meal containing carbohydrates the night before your cycle is ideal for getting your glycogen stores up. Therefore a meal containing pasta or potatoes is a great start. On the morning of your cycle, a hearty breakfast containing slow-release carbohydrates is idea. Porridge with chopped banana will give you the energy required to keep going for a long period. During the cycle glycogen levels need replacing, so taking on energy bars and gels, as well as keeping hydrated is paramount. Following your cycle, food containing protein or protein drinks are recommended to start the recovery process. This in turn helps mend muscle fibres that will have inevitably been damaged during a long cycle. Therefore, a hearty meal containing some meat, fish, dairy products, legumes, or eggs would be ideal.


Protein based food for cycling recovery

Secondly, your body works at it's optimum when you've had a decent full nights sleep. The night before your cycle, move away from blue screens 90 minutes before going to bed. Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet bedroom, and make sure you stick to a regular routine of going to bed and waking up at similar times. Post cycle repeat this process to enable your body to re-energise, and repair itself as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Thirdly, when you are cycling try and focus on the positives. Take time to appreciate your surroundings, and be thankful for simple things allowing you to be out on your bike.


Cycling is a great time to spend time with your own thoughts, and reflecting positively will have a knock on impact to your outlook on life. It can also give you the chance to build friendships and interact socially which also impacts positively on people's lives.


Social connections are boosted when you cycle with others

Training for cycling builds up your cardiovascular fitness, power and strength allowing you to keep going for longer periods of time. By increasing the distance and/or speed of your rides gradually over a period of time encourages an increase in muscle mass, which in turn makes them bigger and stronger. Through training, your body also becomes more efficient at delivering oxygen to help fuel these muscles, meaning they can remain energised, keeping you cycling for longer.


Finally, for a more detailed account of how to improve not only your cycling ability, but your health in general, I would love to come and inspire this to happen through a DR ME interactive health education workshop. For more details please visit www.doctor-me.co.uk.

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  • Claire Willsher

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