A lot of people start riding as adults or have had a gap away from riding at some point in their lives and of course our bodies aren’t always ‘riding ready’ even if we are fairly active people. A very common question is what kinds of simple things can you do to improve your flexibility for riding so that you are both more comfortable and balanced, and more effective in the saddle.
The truth is that you could go to the gym regularly or take yoga or pilates classes or try to do a few stretches at home regularly or any one of countless other options. But let’s get real.. Most people with busy lives will probably only be doing some of these activities once or twice a week and even then it can be really hard to find the motivation to stick with it. It’s always tempting to put exercise off and just figure you’ll do a bit extra tomorrow… Before long “tomorrow” has turned into “the day after”, “the week after”… “My New Year’s resolution!”
So what IS a simple exercise you can do to improve your flexibility? Well how about something really straight-forward that also fundamentally alters your lifestyle and is not only going to improve your flexibility but your strength as well?
The answer is very simple: throw out those chairs! That’s right! Instead of sitting on a chair or sofa to watch TV, get yourself a nice cushion or rug and sit yourself on the floor! Instead of having your meals at a table, try having a picnic in your own home… Instead of lying in bed to read a book, lay a duvet on the floor and read it there. This very simple change to how you live will completely change your body.
At first it may take a while to adjust but the benefits are worth it. When we sit on the floor, not only are we forced to position ourselves in ways that stretch our legs and torso but we are also forced to change position regularly and put more effort into our movements. This one very simple change will make you more flexible and stronger and you might even find your posture improves more generally as well.
Getting rid of all the chairs might be a bit radical… But even sitting on the floor for just one regular activity a day (e.g. reading a book, watching TV, talking on the phone etc) will make a big difference. And you’ll already be way ahead of those people making New Year’s resolutions about pilates classes…
So why not give it a go? You have nothing to lose but your chair seat!