Cycling may just be the best sport on planet earth. On those long rides through the cradle, you come to see your bike as your friend. On several occasions you have spent more time fixing and caring for your bike than you have spent on your car or flowers for your wife. As your love for the sport continues to grow, as you discover new places and conquer new mountains, there is one reality: training in other sports will make you a faster, stronger rider.

Here are the benefits of several other sports:

Running
Why it’s cool: Running is a great way to cram in a workout when you don’t have time for a long ride or need to travel without your bike. Plus, if you think cycling makes you feel like you’re flying, wait until you experience your first runner’s high.

Why it helps cyclists: Cycling is a low-impact activity, so it’s not great for supporting bone density. Strength training can fill in those gaps and help you build stronger bones and a more powerful core for all-day riding.

 

Hiking
Why it’s cool: Aside from the chance to take in the outdoors at a more relaxed pace, how cool is it to realize you’re standing at the top of a mountain you just walked up?

Why it helps cyclists: Hiking helps build up your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, core, and hip muscles—crucial muscles that can help your riding (check out how with this guide to cycling muscle function). Plus, it helps with bone density because it’s a weight-bearing exercise.

 

Swimming
Why it’s cool: Not only is swimming a great way to stay fit throughout a cycling injury, but it also works as a two-fer: strength-training and cardio activity.

Why it helps cyclists: Swimming can help you build a strong core and lengthen your hip flexors, as well as increase your range of motion and breathing capacity. It’s fairly easy on your body, so it also works as an ideal way to recover from a hard ride or race.

 

Yoga/Pilates
Why it’s cool: You can do these forms of resistance strength-training anywhere with no extra equipment: at the gym, in your backyard, in your office, inside a 10′-by-10′ jail cell (seriously, anywhere).

Why it helps cyclists: Yoga improves your strength, flexibility, endurance, and focus, so you’ll be comfortable for longer days on the bike. You’ll also learn to focus your breath, which helps you breathe better on the bike. Pilates hones in on your core, which is crucial for coming out of every ride with a smile instead of a backache.

 

Most of this article comes from Bicycling.com and was written by Caitlin Giddins

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