PLAYER PERSPECTIVE: BY SHUAIB WALTERS Follow on Twitter
Recently I took up cycling. I have been living in other cities for the better part of a decade (2006-2016) and felt that it was time to rediscover our beautiful city of Cape Town and experience the magnificent scenery on offer. Cycling was the most appealing option to get out there and discover my city.
It certainly does not hurt that I have always been a huge fan of living a healthy lifestyle. For me, it extends beyond being an athlete. It is a fascination with how an individual’s lifestyle can impact one’s daily functioning, energy levels, mental state and overall health. Cycling means that I am not only rediscovering my home town but I am doing so in a manner that contributes to my wellbeing.
We all know being active is an essential part of being healthy. Cycling is a great way to increase cardiovascular fitness, which is beneficial to me not just on the field but for overall health management.
I’ve come to the harsh realisation that as you get older your body requires you to work longer and harder to achieve the same results as you would if you were younger. I need to ensure that my muscles remain strong and cycling helps by increasing my muscle strength, flexibility and it improves joint mobility.
As we all experience stress in our daily lives, it is very important for me to ensure I decrease my stress levels and studies have shown that cycling can assist with decreasing your stress levels. Cycling is a low-impact type of exercise, so it's easier on my joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities, however it is as effective in getting you into shape.
Cycling is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into one’s daily routine because it's also a form of transport. Ideally going forward (once I have more experience on my bike), I am planning to fit cycling into my daily routine, going to training and getting around town.
I am hoping that with time I will encourage more of my team mates to switch to cycling as a mode of transport- besides it being a money saver (with petrol prices constantly increasing), it also helps the environment by reducing our transport greenhouse gas emissions. We all need to play our part in combating global warming.
Looking at all the promotional content around us, it would appear that living a healthy lifestyle has become very expensive but we tend to forget that we have many natural resources at our disposal to make it possible, including the countless hiking trails, Sea Point pools, a stroll on the beach and so much more.
For my new hobby, there is the initial startup cost for a bike and safety gear (Safety first!) but in the long run it is an investment for me.
I’d like to end off with a few safety tips that I’ve had to learn before going on my bike explorations: always look behind you before you turn, overtake or stop. Ensure that you use arm signals before you turn right or left. Always obey traffic lights and road signs and don't ride on the pavement unless there's a sign that says you can. Do not use headphones while cycling and the very obvious one, never use a mobile phone while cycling.
Happy cycling… Till next week!
This column is brought to you by Lotto Sports Apparel.