Cycling and wellness

Eating healthy, avoiding smoking and stress are undoubtedly important measures for heart health. But it is not enough: to keep our heart young, it is necessary to add a good dose of physical activity to our often sedentary days. 

The bicycle from this point of view is a real cure-all. Pedaling in fact helps you stay young and makes you even happier: a sort of anti-stress that allows you to recharge your energy and increase self-confidence. It is no wonder, therefore, that more and more frequently, passionate of cycling tourism, who live the bicycle as the ideal way to enjoy nature and to achieve physical and mental well-being meet on the streets and go cycling together.

Benefits to heart and blood circulation.

Sports are generally classified according to the type of exercise performed: static or anaerobic and dynamic or aerobic.

Sports that are predominantly anaerobic are characterized by exercises that take place at very high intensity and for a few minutes (for example lifting weights, throwing the disc or running 400 m), and producing a rather stressful effect on the heart and the circulatory system.

Aerobic exercise, on the contrary, lasts over time (such as in swimming, in running races or in cycling) allowing the muscles to act with a moderate and constant workload. Aerobic activity like pedaling, produces beneficial effects on the cardio-circulatory system, allowing the heart to become stronger and more resistant. With pedaling, in fact, the cardiovascular system undergoes adaptations especially at the peripheral level (muscles and circulation) that allow the heart to work, at the same intensity of the exercise, always less.

To demonstrate this we must remember that the athletes’ heart undergoes real modifications: it increases its mass and therefore improves its pump function by optimizing the consumption of oxygen through the ‘bradycardia’, ie with a number of beats lower than normal . “But it is not necessary to become professional athletes a simple bike ride already allows a good workout for the heart and circulation.

The bicycle is in fact an excellent ally against cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke, because, pedaling, you fight the most dangerous elements for the heart, the so-called cardiovascular risk factors: you lose weight, it improves metabolism sugars and fats reduce blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in favor of “good” (HDL) “.

Pedaling in fact you lose weight, you improve the metabolism of sugars and fats, reduce the values ​​of blood pressure and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) in favor of the ‘good’ (HDL). It is also facilitated the circulation of the venous system, since the act of pedaling makes the walls of the veins of the legs more elastic with the rhythmic movement of the muscles, preventing swelling and venous thrombosis.

The exercise bike, an ideal ally for heart patients

Cycling is not only a means of prevention, but also a therapy for heart patients.

After an acute cardiac event, such as a myocardial infarction or a cardiac surgery, doctors often recommend a period of rehabilitation during which you set up a program that provides a personalized workload for each patient and that makes use of, among the other, using an exercise bike.

Exercise, if performed regularly and with adequate training, allows the heart to function at its best: as an engine that works at low revs. The exercise bike has the advantage of being able to be used all year round, even when the weather conditions are adverse.

Another advantage of the bike compared to the bicycle is the ‘dosability’ of the effort: any model allows to calibrate the workload, from mild to very intense, to train the heart with progressive work cycles until the return to a normal regime.

To obtain the best results it is important to pay attention to the breathing, which must always be commensurate and synchronized to the effort.

Rehabilitative motor activity, if practiced correctly, has not substantially any limitation, except laziness. Very often, for example, patients buy an exercise bike that after a few weeks becomes an unused instrument.

The goal of rehabilitation, on the other hand, is constancy in the long run. The activity carried out during the period of hospitalization in the rehabilitation cardiology department (on average 15 days) must in fact be considered the beginning of a broader program.

What really matters is the continuation of the exercise in the months and in the following years, following a personalized rehabilitation program combined with a careful clinical-therapeutic monitoring, a correct diet and, in general, a healthy lifestyle, placing a lot of attention to the control of cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, diabetes, arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity).

Conclusion


The bicycle also produces undeniable benefits on the mind, as well as on the body: it has been known since ancient Roman times, as the famous proverb recalls: “Mens sana in corpore sano”.
During the pedaling, in fact, the so-called wellness hormones are produced, the endorphins, which intervene in the regulation of mood and cause a euphoric and anxiolytic effect.

The advice for those approaching for the first time to cycling is to start gradually with quiet walks enjoying the view, away from traffic and cities. It is good to then practice it regularly, leaving at least 2-3 times a week to be able to reap the benefits that this activity can give to our body.

Cycling can be considered a complete sport with benefits for the body as a whole. In fact, it not only improves the cardiovascular system, but also the respiratory system, increasing the lung capacity, the locomotor system, toning and strengthening muscles, glucose and lipid metabolism and last but not least, the psyche.

And so the heart, often attacked by the stress of everyday life, can only benefit from well-being and tranquility. “

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Franco Nero
Franco Nero

Franco defines itself as a person trapped in a sedentary lifestyle, however, he is an avid fitness "addict" and like, many more in his environment spends vast parts of his leisure time on a gym, running, cycling.

Read other posts from Franco Nero
Why do you need a good massage

Do you have physical pain? Feel stressed? Are you apathetic and struggle to focus? Does anxiety grip you? Do fears attack you? Is the mood at critical levels?

Massage was practiced by Greeks, Persians and Chinese as a spiritual art. Now, as then, the massage is not only an excellent therapy against tensions and fatigue but it is also a valid tool of medical prevention that allows you to maintain a better state of body and overall well-being.

Here is a little and simple anatomy note to show you how our body can benefit rom this therapy:

Our body is nourished, clean and maintained in efficiency by the blood and lymphatic systems. The blood, pumped from the heart, brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscles where they are transformed into energy. This transformation produces the lactic acid that is filtered and eliminated, with other toxic substances, by the lymphatic system which also presides over the immune system, protecting you from diseases.

Unfortunately, when the muscular activity is intense, this mechanism loses its effectiveness: the energy demand exceeds the present availability and you can see it, for example, when after two hours of tennis play your serve is not stronger as in the beginning. A similar process occurs when there is insufficient activity, when, for example, you have been sitting at your desk for too long and you realize that mental activity is slower, you are more irritable and tension tends to shrink your shoulders and the neck. The muscles become tense and produce cramps, the blood and lymphatic flows decrease and fatigue takes over.

But rest does not eliminate all these symptoms? Finally, yes. Rest is the natural means of the body to recover well-being, but as you well know, it takes time and, with today’s frenetic life, we rarely have all the time we need. The result is that the harmful effects of this situation accumulate day after day, deteriorating not only your daily functionality but also undermining your future well-being.

Massage can prove to be a fundamental difference. The massage dramatically accelerates the recovery process, halving its time, rejuvenating the blood, the lymphatic systems and keeping you in an optimal state of well-being.

massage therapy

Beneficial effects of massage

  • Dilates the blood vessels, improving circulation and relieving circulatory retention states.
  • Increases the number of red blood cells especially in cases of anemia.
  • Works like a "mechanical cleaner" stimulating the lymphatic circulation and accelerating the elimination of toxic products and waste of blood.
  • Increases the supply of blood and nutrients to the muscles allowing stronger voluntary muscular contractions.
  • Helps to prevent high concentrations of "tiring" products deriving from vigorous exercises or accidents.
  • Improves muscle tone and prevents or delays muscular atrophy resulting from forced inactivity.
  • Can partially compensate for the lack of exercises and muscular activity in people who, due to illness or accidents, can not move. In this case the massage helps the venous return to the heart, reducing stasis and reducing stress to this organ.
  • Massage can have a sedative, stimulating or exciting effect on the nervous system depending on the type and duration of the massage.
  • According to some experts, the massage can break down the fat cells of the subcutaneous tissue allowing the fat to be absorbed: in this way the massage, associated with a diet low in calories, can help to lose weight.
  • Stretches the connective tissue, improving circulation and nutrition, preventing or reducing adhesion formation and reducing the risk of fibrosis.
  • Improves the circulation and nutrition of the joints and accelerates the elimination of deposits of harmful products, decreases inflammation and edema of the joint reducing pain.
  • Eliminates the swelling after trauma to the ligaments.
  • Makes you feel good!

What is a good massage?

Features of a good massage:
The pressure of the fingers on the temples, the thumbs that press on the back, the hands, like those of the mother caressing her child, are spontaneous gestures that are used to look for a relief that often the medicines can not give. On the body level the massage produces numerous effects with the activation of important physical and biochemical reactions.

There is nothing better than a massage to mobilize a blocked energy, for example when we realize that we are terribly contracted throughout the body and breathe superficially. The massage also reactivates the circulation because it causes an expansion of the blood vessels and this causes a greater inflow of blood to the tissues, at the same time it favors the distension of the muscles, with the activation of the lymphatic and venous circulation. The massage determines a rebalancing of hormonal levels and an improvement in the oxygenation of tissues following the release and elimination of cellular waste and toxins through the increase of venous circulation, perspiration and urination.

In the massage all the energy points called chakras are stimulated and helped to rebalance, and receive energy if in defect, to discharge if in excess, so that the vital force that the body and mind need can flow freely throughout the being. Both the physical pains and even more those that are at the level of the psyche, (even if you do everything to hide them mostly to yourself), will find a relief and a discharge after a good massage performed periodically to gratify the body first and even more the mind.

Let me know in the comments below.


I will be happy to read and reply all of your comments. also feel free to share on any of the Social Media listed below and start the "Conversation".
As always, thanks for popping in and see you soon.

Sarah O'Connor

Sarah O'Connor

Sarah is part of the Team ELC and she helps people discover what makes their life happy, meaningful, and full of ease. She is a writer, meditator and loves painting, an art she happily gets to practice a lot in her spare time.

Steps to a Quiet Mind

The brain can generate 25 watts of power – enough to light up a light bulb.

3-Steps to a Quiet Mind

Our brain contains 100 billion neurons and each neuron has from 1,000 to 10,000 connections with other neurons. This means that there are 10 trillion neuron connections possible, making the brain the most powerful learning tool in the world! Just with its neural activity, the brain can generate 25 watts of power – enough to light up a light bulb. This wonderful organ allows us to think and feel, and has the wonderful ability of searching and retrieving information. In our modern-day society, we have been trained since our school days to refine our information-searching and analyzing abilities. This is of course very useful but when combined with the usual ongoing stress – it can sometimes be difficult to let our brains and minds get the rest they need to stay healthy.

The nervous system exists in 2 states – the “rest and digest” state – also called the parasympathetic branch – and the “fight or flight” state, also known as the sympathetic branch. These 2 branches are like the break (parasympathetic) and gas pedal (sympathetic) of our entire metabolism. When they work together in a healthy and balanced fashion, they can keep us going in times of stress and we can relax when things slow down. All too often in our modern-day world, our nervous system stays somewhat stuck in the “on” position. Our foot stays stuck on the gas pedal, so-to-speak, so that we are more of less constantly in the “fight or flight” mode. This leads to the production of the hormones adrenalin and cortisol in large amounts. This causes direct damage to our brains cells and activates the part of our mind which we affectionately like to call “the restless monkey”. Adrenalin and cortisol overly enhance our mind’s ability to search and retrieve, so that we get stuck overthinking, worrying or in a pattern of negative self-deprecating statements. We have all met the restless monkey in us. He is the one who says we’re just not good enough, or the one who makes us think about all sorts of random themes as we try to fall asleep at night. The restless monkey is our normal level of brain alertness pushed to the extreme. Although our inner monkey is normally a useful part of our brain function that allows us to connect pieces of information together, retrieve past knowledge and analyze a situation – when fueled by excessive adrenalin and cortisol, the monkey becomes restless and counter-productive. It leads to insomnia, light sleep, excessive worry, poor self-esteem as well as difficulty concentrating.

The first step to calm the monkey down and help channel its abilities in a productive manner is to recognize the existence of our inner monkey and realize that we are separate from the monkey. Our restless monkey is not us. This allows to distance ourselves from the negative feelings of worry that arise because of the adrenalin-fueled restless monkey. Simply observing what the restless monkey is doing is an essential first step to then implement our tools to regain mental centered-ness. So, is your inner monkey making you worry excessively? Is he preventing you from concentrating by making you have scattered thoughts? Or is he creating a situation of low self-esteem? Keeping a journal of when the restless monkey wakes up is also useful. Simple physical factors can also be triggers for the restless monkey. Skipping meals or overeating simple refined carbs while undereating healthy protein and fat sources will trigger adrenalin production and thus feed the monkey. Nicotine, sugar and caffeine are also direct stimulants of adrenalin and cortisol products. Thus, regular protein-rich meals, and a lifestyle with minimal coffee, chocolate, sugar, cigarettes and refined foods is often a good first step.
The awareness of jumping thoughts or excessive worry is the first step of mindfulness.
Finding our center when the monkey is very restless usually requires one of three actions:

 Finding our center when the monkey is very restless usually requires one of three actions.

1) Give the monkey free reign:

Like a small child who has extra energy to burn, the restless monkey sometimes needs to just keep going with its scattered thoughts before it will have burnt all its cortisol and adrenalin and may then calm down on its own. As such, taking 15 minutes to journal freely and jot down every thought that crosses our mind may be very useful. The idea is to keep a mindset of curious, non-judgmental attention. Just let the monkey express itself. Sometimes, very creative insights can come out of this exercise. This is not a good tool to use if the monkey’s restlessness is creating anxiety or mounting negative feelings. In those latter cases, it is more helpful to rely to the tools below.

2) Exercise:

A simple way of physically burning the excess stress hormones that are feeding our inner monkey is intense physical activity. This may be anything from dancing around our home to spending 30 minutes at the gym or swimming. Any activity that solicits our muscles in a sustained manner will exhaust the monkey and distract ourselves from negative unproductive thoughts. It is a good idea to follow an exercise session with 5 minutes of deep, belly breaths as an extra grounding tool.

3) Using our rational mind:

This can be useful when the monkey is creating a pattern of repeating negative thoughts. This tool usually needs to be used after exercising as it can otherwise be difficult to befriend the negative monkey with our rational arguments. After exercise, the monkey has mellowed, the mind is more focused since there is less adrenalin and cortisol in our system and we are more open to our rational arguments. As we catch ourselves thinking “I’ll never be able to do this” or “All my friends must hate me” – the idea is then to oppose a rational argument to each negative thought. For instance, as we think “I will for sure fail this exam”, we can then catch ourselves and show ourselves all the instances in the past when we have in fact done well. Or if one thinks “I am a terrible mother”, we can then think of the times our children have coddled us and loved us for our mothering. It is helpful to use a pen and paper to do this exercise as it keeps the focus. Taking 15 minutes to fill out 2 columns on a piece of paper with 1 column being our negative thought and other column our rational counter-argument is all it takes.

The term “mindfulness” has become increasingly popular since it is a tool that is necessary in the stressed-out world in which we live. Constant excessive levels of adrenalin and cortisol have led our minds to become over-excitable and easily in the “worry” or “overthinking” mode. Simply being aware of what our minds are doing and implementing three simple tools is oftentimes all it takes to find our center again and solve issues like insomnia, worry, and symptoms of chronic stress – all of which are associated with our “monkey mind”.

Let me know in the comments below.


I will be happy to read and reply all of your comments. also feel free to share on any of the Social Media listed below and start the "Conversation".
As always, thanks for popping in and see you soon.

franco nero
about the author

Franco defines itself as a person trapped in a sedentary lifestyle, however, he is an avid fitness "addict" and like, many more in his environment spends vast parts of his leisure time on a gym, running, cycling.