Karen Darke – Handcycling in Lanzarote

Back from Lanzarote and disappointed to have missed the Berghaus Athlete Camp in Austria – a great chance to learn about the product plans for the next year, and for athletes and designers to share feedback and ideas.

It’s been a busy weekend with my three nephews, mixed in with some painful stretching. Stretching after exercise. It’s so vital, yet so easy to skip, and I’ve been baaaaddd. My masseur suggested I stretch more last year, so I did, for a week or two, until the habit fizzled out. It’s only when I reach crisis point (which involves waking up with muscle pain and this morning not being able to get out of bed because my shoulder was so tight) that I’m reminded the hard way, how important it is to stretch. Andy massaged my shoulder enough that I could get up and dressed, and then I dedicated an hour to stretching.

Like any form of repeated exercise, handbiking takes its toll on the muscles and tendons. There is a ring of tightness, from the hands, through the inner forearms, the biceps, the shoulder fronts and into the pec muscles of the chest. I need to stretch those muscles out, and strengthen the antagonist muscles (the outer forearms, the triceps, the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder and the rhomboids).

It helped to get a great stretching lesson from a German fitness instructor in Lanzarote before returning home. It was a hard hour – harder than handbiking for four hours – as when you have the balance of a weeble like me, its hard to keep a good posture and stretch out well. Its not fun, in fact its quite painful, but I’m aiming to do this at least every 2 days through to London (and maybe forever!) and hoping I’ll reap the benefits. Hopefully it will help my shoulders survive all the training of 2012!

Here’s a video of me handcycling in Lanzarote: