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People who cycle to work are fitter and healthier?

People who cycle to work are fitter and healthier?

This is a blog about: Pain But Big Gain In Cycling and Sports Stakes

When I interviewed MBF Blog sponsored Ironman triathlete Joe Skipper last year, perhaps the most puzzling and unanswered question I had was WHAT DRIVES YOU?

What is it about Joe that enables him to push his body to such limits time after time? How can he swim, run and cycle such massive distances without rest?

Well, now we may have an alternative answer reported in Science Recorder among others. Research from Tel Aviv University shows that participants have lower pain thresholds than most other people!

The Pain of Triathletes

This means they can carry on long after other mortals have given up, even if mortals even started in the first place.

Professor Ruth Defrin told the media that ‘triathletes rated pain lower in intensity, tolerated it longer and inhibited it better than individuals in a control group.’

The test included a heating device applied to an arm and the other plunged into cold water! And we are told they’re next going to find out if triathletes ‘participate in their sport because they feel less pain or vice versa.’

Joe Skipper Says

So we asked our Joe what he thought about pain thresholds. He replied: ‘I think it’s a valid point that triathletes have a high pain threshold. Not only triathletes but endurance athletes in general.’

‘When you’re in a race and it comes down to the last few minutes and its you against another competitor it’s all about who wants it more, who doesn’t want to give up, and who can find that little bit extra to pull ahead of your rival.’

‘Talking from my own personal experience. I was in a massive battle last year at Ironman UK with an athlete called Scott Neyedli. My position kept fluctuating between 3rd and 4th. Ironman UK was a big race for me and no matter what, I felt as if I HAD to get a podium. I actually managed to pull ahead of Scott with one lap to go and got to within 30-40 seconds of second place Stephen Bayliss. I blew up a bit but at the end I was completely finished and was in tears through the pain and exhaustion, it really was something else. However maybe if I had been able to take more pain I would have got 2nd!’

Joe said that the same is true with road racing in Cycling. ‘Due to the drafting affect you get where you can save up to 80% of your energy by sitting in the wheels (behind other cyclists) it makes it very tactical and often when the favourites attack or your putting in a dig the pain can be excruciating, you don’t know how long it’s going to go on for but you know you CANNOT let the person in front of you get away.’

‘With regards to why we do it. I think no matter what level you’re at you always want to push yourself to the limit. You never rest on your laurels with what you have achieved and as soon as you have finished an event you can’t wait for the next as you know you can do better.

‘It’s an exhilarating feeling pushing yourself to the limit and is very addictive.’

Footnotes:

Incidentally, an interesting video is the Lazy Workout which is actually not as lazy as it sounds! You may not stray far from your sofa, but you may be exhausted from it!

In the meantime, a new survey from Cycleguard, who provide cycling insurance, has found that cyclist are ‘more likely to arrive at work motivated and happy’ compared to other workers.

Fresh air and exercise seem to be giving people a good start to their day without the stresses experienced by people who commute in other ways. These others arrive at work sleepy (33%) and unmotivated (25%).

However, it is worth remembering that many cyclists are worried by safety issues and concerns about mishaps on two wheels from all directions is the main reason cited by people who choose not to cycle to work, but could.

Finally, for those who want all the very best (and expensive) fitness gear, whether or not they are going to do exercise but just want to look the part, there is a catalogue.

Stretch out and look at:

The Joe Skipper Interview: 3. Money is the Need, 30 May 2013

The Joe Skipper Interview: 2. Know your own body, 29 May 2013

The Joe Skipper Interview: 1. Blame It On His Dad, 28 May 2013

Technical Solutions for New Limbs Needn’t Cost an Arm and a Leg, 3 December 2013

Update on Our Own Triathlete, Joe Skipper: In His Own Words – ‘Aaaaaaahhhh!’ 14 October 2013

Sports Disasters in Cycling, Running and Swimming Don’t Stop Anyone, 5 June 2013

Cycling Rides Up a Storm of Controversy, 27 February 2013

A Gentle Jog and Round-Up of Sports and Technology News 23 October 2012

Virtual Sport Rather Defeats the Object of Competitive Sports, 3 October 2012

Image: Bad mama jamas