Peloton for Mountain Biking Series #3: Meditation and Stretching

There are so many components of mountain biking that are not about riding. From nutrition to sleep to interval training, these self-care essentials help shape the type of rider you want to become. In this Peloton for mountain biking series, I’ve shared some insights about how to get the most out of your trail riding without having to go to the trail. This article will highlight some of Peloton’s services that don’t require you to even get on the saddle.

If you have a Peloton subscription, you have access to a wide variety of classes that have nothing to do with riding your bike. These include strength, yoga, stretching, and meditation classes. I’ve done all four types, but the ones that I love the most are meditation and stretching. As of this morning, there are literally thousands of strength and meditation classes ranging from 5 to 30 minutes that offer a chance for you to reset your mind and body.

Meditation for mountain biking

I am not a natural fan of meditation. In fact, when I first started, I could barely make it five minutes without having to get up and walk around and do something. Like most mountain bikers, I’m geared to enjoy moving, sweating, hurting, and accomplishing instead of just “being.” Over the last few years, I’ve gradually gained more patience for meditating, which has benefited my general health and performance on the bike. Now I try to start each day with a 5-10 minute Peloton meditation before I begin my workday from my basement. I’ve found that it helps to clear my head and set my intention for the day. If I have a big run or ride to do that day, meditating helps me to see my goals clearly, allowing for proper preparation in the hours leading up to the ride.

Stretching for mountain biking

I am also not a fan of stretching. I’m a bigger guy that doesn’t have the world’s best flexibility. I also have some IT band issues, which makes any sort of leg stretch feel quite strange. But as I approach 40, I find that if I don’t stretch, I get way too tight on my rides and runs, which affects my form. I can’t flow as well, and as a result, I ride choppy and less smoothly. Stretching allows me to focus on those parts of my body that need extra care. I also take the time to take in what is sore or weak that day. If you ride long enough, you know your body is never the same daily. As you accumulate more injuries and wear-and-tear, your body responds with inflammation and tightness. Stretching helps to release these parts that the body is trying to hold hostage, creating gains in range of motion. Even studies show stretching decreases cortisol levels, a key stress hormone that prevents recovery.

I love Peloton’s ability to deliver bite-sized stretching and meditation opportunities in a clean, compact, and science-based package. Sure, a million videos on Youtube technically offer the same thing, but Peloton is more focused on the experience of stretching and meditation than on accumulating views. As a result, I sometimes feel that I am in a class live with an instructor, just the two of us sharing our fitness goals. In other words, Peloton can deliver a more intimate experience that other digital platforms simply can’t.

If you are cynical about stretching and meditation, I offer you a challenge. Try both every day for one week and report on how your mind and body are reacting on and off the bike. Then, if you are a Peloton user, try dialing those components of your exercise profile. You only have 10 minutes a day to lose and everything to gain for a more holistic fitness level.

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Matthew Chisholm

Matt Chisholm is a data analyst and freelance writer who studies the environmental history of the Southern Smoky Mountain region of North Carolina. He was a contributor to Lost in Transition: Removing, Resettling, and Renewing Appalachia and the 2016 edition of the Journal of East Tennessee History, for which he won the 2017 McClung Award. When not writing, Matt enjoys road and mountain biking, hiking, trail running, and drinking beer around Concord, NC where he lives with his wife, daughter, and twin boys.

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