One of the body’s reactions to fear and anxiety is muscle tension. This can result in feeling “tense”, or can lead to muscle aches and pains, as well as feelings of panic, self-doubt and an array of other emotions which are non-conducive to cycling performance.
Think about how you respond to anxiety, stress or nerves…
Do you “tense up” when you’re feeling anxious or nervous?
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) can be particularly helpful in cases where anxiety is especially associated to muscle tension.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) was first identified by Jacobson in 1934 as tensing and releasing of 16 muscle groups. Wolpe adapted it for use with systematic desensitization in 1948 and Bernstein and Borkovec in 1973 studied adjustments to the technique to fit cognitive behavioural stress management.
Empirical evidence supports the use of PMR in high level tension responses and mind body techniques such as: reducing tension headaches, insomnia, adjunct treatment in cancer, chronic pain management in inflammatory arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
By learning a basic PMR procedure you can train your mind and body to prepare for optimal performance…
Here’s a quick and basic analogy…
Think of a cat walking across a room…
The cat walks with grace, deliberate relaxed movements - it’s calm, and alert.
If the cat sees a bird and decides to pounce, it makes quick deliberate actions in precise directions with astounding speed.
Before you get on your bike to race or perform, think of yourself like a cat - calm, relaxed and ready to pounce.
It is when our minds are in the calmest state, we have the ability to think clearly, prepare to our best abilities, and subsequently perform at our very best.
Only through practice can you become more aware of your muscles, how they respond with tension, and how you can relax them. Training your body to respond differently to stress is like any type training – practising consistently is the key.
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