Bike smarter, not harder – with Priscilla!

Pilates = Movement Efficiency.

Hey guys, Priscilla here taking over the blog today!

Summer is in full swing, and I’m sure you’ve noticed everyone taking the time to spend more time exercising outside. Whether it’s running, playing beach volleyball, playing catch with your dogs, or just taking a stroll through the neighborhood, it’s evident everyone is moving!

I’m including myself in that group. At the beginning of the year I decided to make it point to spend as much time as possible outdoors during summertime, not only for the warmth and sunshine but to increase my cardio. The first thing that popped to mind was to begin commuting by bicycle – more fun, plus great cardio!

I figured now is as good a time as ever to expand my bike riding past, which has been using Divvy for weekend rides along the lake or for date nights. “So what?”, you ask, “What does this have to do with Pilates?”

Glad you asked! Pilates exercises work the deepest muscles in your body, closest to the bones. The benefit of that is that it creates stability in your body with respect to movement. Why do you need stability for movement? Not only to prevent injuries, but to make your muscle movement more energy efficient.

With enough Pilates practice, you’ll certainly become more aware of how your body moves doing day to day activities and when you exercise. You’ll  notice when a certain position just isn’t comfortable for your body, so you modify accordingly, all on your own!

Here’s the perfect example – as I was getting ready to bike more, I bought a used bike to use as a “starter bike” to get accustomed to commuting.  I ended up buying a cruiser type bike, mainly for aesthetic purposes.  Plus, I figured, my commute to work and LightSpace really isn’t far at all. A cruiser would be great and comfortable!

Well, suffice to say I wasn’t thinking about my body moving efficiently. I quickly discovered that for the type of rider that I am for my commute, a cruiser is actually HURTING me!

I made sure my bike was fitted properly, I was hyper aware of my posture, and focusing on my Dan Tien. But still, my body felt like it was working much harder than necessary. I realized my superficial muscles were dominating and throwing my body out of whack. Not good!

So I decided to listen to my body and was on the hunt for a new bike that better suited it. After shopping around, I found a bike shop that specialized in women’s bikes, which is great because I’m too short for most average bikes. This bike shop (BFF bikes in Bucktown) found an XS sized bike that was made for city commuting! They adjusted the bike to make sure it was at the correct height and to make sure I wasn’t straining my arms, shoulders and back. When I hit the road on my new bike, what a difference! Yes I get my heart pumping cardio, but my body doesn’t hurt!

It fits!

note my neutral posture










(*Disclaimer: No worries, I wear a helmet on my rides!*)

This bike proved to be a much better fit as I now move way more effectively.  Just as proper form is required for all exercises, proper bicycle fitting is just as important to prevent injuries.

Now’s a great time to try Pilates to supplement all your outdoor activities! Let’s not cut these summer exercises short because of injury!