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Keep Your Body In Top Mountain Biking Shape

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Did you know it only takes three to four weeks of no training to drastically affect a person's overall stamina and fitness levels? Stay in top mountain biking shape with this list of beneficial activities.  

1. Self Massage for Cyclists

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Flickr creative commons

Self massage can help flush the body of toxins, and prevent or diminish delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which can occur a day or so after exercise. About.com spoke with Kiera Nagle, MA, LMT, licensed and national board certified massage therapist, and Julie Skovran, trainer and therapist, about the benefits of self massage in the mountain biking population.

2. 5 Best Yoga Poses for Cyclists

lululemon athletica

Yoga is a  mind-body practice that combines stretching, breathing and relaxation. It's benefits are plentiful, and include  stress reduction, decreased blood pressure, improved heart function, increased fitness and more. Improved balance, flexibility, strength and range of motion are all of benefit to mountain bikers, who often feel tightness, aches and sometimes even pain. In this article, Beth Shaw, president and founder of YogaFit®, the largest yoga school in North America, offers what she feels are the five best yoga poses for mountain bikers. Read on for five ways to improve your strength and flexibility.

3. Building Bone Strength

Perfect Zoo via Flickr

Sure, mountain biking is good for your health. But did you know a cycling-only fitness routine can actually be harming your bones? About.com spoke with Michael A. Smith, M.D., senior health science specialist at Life Extension Foundation, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and James Ting, MD, FAAFP, board-certified Primary Care Sports Medicine physician at Hoag Orthopedic Institute, Irvine, CA, about bone density and what you can do to prevent vulnerability.

4. How to Use a Foam Roller

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Aimee Baker

Short of having your own personal massage therapist, foam rollers can help you work out the knots after your next mountain bike ride. Not quite sure what a foam roller is or how to use one? (It's OK, I won't tell.) Bryce Taylor, PT, MS, of Downtown Physical Therapy, Indianapolis, IN, and James Gladstone, MD, orthopaedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist and co-chief of sports medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, introduce you to your new best friend in this Q&A.

5. All About Weight Training

stroopsmma via flickr

Did you know that weight training for cyclists is controversial? While some believe strength training's positive health benefits (such as increased power and bone density) make it a no-brainer addition to your cycling routine, others focus on the size and weight that gets added to the rider (potentially decreasing performance on the bike). About.com asked physical therapist Cindi A. Prentiss and Tutankhamen Pappoe, MD, to discuss the benefits of strength training for cyclists, conditions it may help prevent and possible complications in this article.

6. 5 Best Pilates Exercises for Mountain Bikers

familymwr via Flickr

About.com caught up with Master Pilates Teacher Aimee Baker to find out which Pilates exercises are best-suited for mountain bikers. As a cyclist, you should make exercise choices that counter balance the stresses that being hunched over does to your spine and core muscles. "For cyclists, it's about introducing counter movements to balance the demands on the body. You want to introduce more balance to your system," said Baker. Find out which Pilates exercises are recommended for you!

7. 5 Benefits of Stretching

Beth Puliti

Did you know that there is a debate surrounding good old-fashioned stretching? Say what! It's true. Recent studies have produced mixed findings, but there are still plenty of believers. We spoke to one--Donald Rourke, PT, physical therapist and certified myofascial stretch therapist--and asked him to shares five benefits of stretching. 

8. Spin Class Basics

iloveagrigento.it via Flickr

Ever been to a spinning class? I didn't think so. We mountain bikers prefer to ride, um, outside. But what about when the weather turns nasty and snow and ice inhibit your ability to shred your favorite trails? Well, fat-tired friends, that's where the wonderful world of spinning can help to fill the void. Read up on the basics of a spin class to see if it's the right fit for you.

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