Charity, and health, begin at home
Riding to raise money also raises fitness levels, says Dr Paul Gastin.
Deakin University’s School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences has tracked a group of senior executives who have participated in the Chain Reaction corporate bike challenge by assessing health and performance before and after the event.
The 2012 Victorian event involved an 1143 kilometre ride over seven days and the 44 participants raised close to a million dollars for charity partners Eastern Health Foundation and the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Led by Dr Paul Gastin of the Centre for Exercise and Sports Sciences, the assessments provided riders with information on their current physical health status and performance capabilities and armed them with information on how to increase the impact of their training, aid recovery and improve performance.
Riders who participated in pre-testing in November 2011 and then returned for follow-up assessment post the ride in March 2012 were found to have gained significant health and performance benefits.
“As keen cycling enthusiasts, all participants generally started from a position of strength with measures of body composition, resting blood parameters and fitness all within good health guidelines,” Dr Gastin said.
“Post the training program and in particular the ride, participants experienced a 3% drop in body weight, a 13% drop in body fat and 5-7% improvements in cycling performance.
“These riders demonstrated that cycling is good for you and can also be good for others.”
Chief Executive Officer of Chain Reaction John Ward said that through Eastern Health’s partnership with Deakin University, the Chain Reaction riders were in a privileged position to participate in a comprehensive fitness assessment to identify their appropriate training intensities prior to this significant physical challenge.
“For each rider to discover their optimal training zone meant that they were able to train smarter and maximize their performance,” he said.
“The additional benefit for Chain Reaction was clinical evidence that participation in this event leads to an overall health improvement.
“This will assist us in continuing to attract riders and corporate sponsors, which in turn will increase the benefits for children’s charities.”