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Learning To Ride A Unicycle, Core Strength And Other Benefits Of Becoming A Unicyclist

February 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 155

During the first 22 years of my career as an electrician, I spent almost every day walking, climbing, stretching, balancing, and pulling. I was in great physical condition, and I excelled at anything that required agility and balance. For some reason, at our friends weddings, a limbo stick would always come out around midnight. I'm 6'2" and I usually won!

In my early 40's I stopped being "on the tools" and took a more supervisory role (desk jockey). I bought a treadmill and stayed lean by using it almost every evening. Several months later, my family went on a skiing vacation. To my shock and dismay, there was no longer that cat like assuredness to my actions. Physically, I was still in great shape, buy my balance and reflexes had taken a serious nosedive.

After a bit of Googling (and listening to my wife gently tease me about getting older), I realized that my "core strength" wasn't what it once was. Your "core" is essentially your torso area. It includes the muscles in your back and abs. There are a lot of them, and they all have Greek names, but basically it is these muscles that help you to be agile. My treadmill wasn't doing the trick.


I was discussing my depressing situation with my wife's boss. He is a nurse, a competitive cyclist, and occasional skier. Strangely enough, his first recommendation was to take up unicycling. He explained that the inherently unbalanced situation that riding a unicycle puts the body in forces all of those core muscles to be constantly and quickly flexing and releasing in the effort to keep you atop the lone wheel. He also said that the only thing that might be better would be log rolling. Sadly, I haven't got a lake and a 20" diameter log, so the unicycle would have to do, and he lent his old one to me until mine came.

The learning process is one that requires some determination. Becoming proficient with a unicycle took me much longer than when I was a kid figuring out how to ride a two wheeler. Thankfully I have more patience now. The average time to become competent enough on a unicycle to ride without endangering yourself or public property is 12 hrs.

In another sense the learning process is very similar to riding a bicycle. After much effort, it just seems like something "clicks" and you suddenly are able to ride. Your body has a "EUREKA!" moment. Gaining confidence and proficiency does take more time, but discovering an entirely new physical ability as an adult approaches the surreal.

I wholeheartedly recommend the unicycle for both exercise and entertainment. I genuinely believe that it is one of the "best kept secrets" in health and fitness and I expect that one day it will gain widespread use as both a core strengthener and cardio workout machine.

For quality unicycles and related gear, bookmark If you want to add juggling and other circus skills to your riding, visit Be smart. Always wear a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards.

Source: EzineArticles
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