In my previous life as a city centre dwelling Cape Townian, I would go to the gym at least 3 times a week. I would also get REALLY hungry at least three times a week. The days that I went to the gym, my metabolism shot through the roof. The result was that any calories burned in the gym were very quickly regained in my kitchen.
Living in Oulu, I don’t go to the gym but I do bike (almost) everyday. My round trip from home to university takes about 30 to 40 minutes of flat cycling. If I cycle to town, which I do about twice a week, that’s an extra 40 to 50 minutes each trip. Personally, I prefer this sort of daily low grade exercise rather than spiking my body with an hour of extreme working out. My body seems to prefer it too as the crazy hunger games have calmed down to a “healthy appetite”.
That said, I have been struggling for months with an aching lower back when I cycle. So, I asked my dad (who knows everything) what I should do. He suggested I google it (why didn’t I think of that?!?!?). I found out that an aching lower back when cycling is pretty normal. Apparently it’s because of two things… tight hamstrings and weak core muscles.
In my language, this means I need to be able to touch my toes with my legs straight (which, ironically, I used to do when I went to the gym) and not have a tummy that looks like I am 3 months pregnant (which I am not) by working on tightening my tummy and strengthening my lower back muscles. So, I’ve started an every-other-day stretching and core fitness program. Ok, not really every other day… at the moment, it’s twice a week. I’m hoping that this will ease my back pain and perhaps maybe give me a six (or four or even two) pack in the process.
Here’s the programmes I am using. I find this woman’s nasal American accent annoying but also funny. I can’t do most of the exercises yet, but you know… bit by bit.
and for stretches: