The saddle of the exercise bike and my royal back side became acquainted just over a month ago. I cannot say it was a bumpy ride or in fact a ride anywhere far as it is difficult to explore the country roads when your bike has no wheels and only moves inches when you hit a high tempo. Nonetheless, it became a daily routine and there’s nothing I would enjoy doing more. On the other hand, to be quite frank, it is not like Dhaka has too many sport activities to offer either, unless you want to count the fierce darts clashes that I reserved my Tuesday nights for. Although, I do not wish to underestimate the importance of the concentration that is so essential in this noble pub game, but that alone will not take me up on any mountain.
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Riding is great for strength and stamina. After a month being an ‘easy rider’ I upped the tempo and now write circles with my ankles for an hour flat, doing just under 40 kilometres. To give you a perspective on this, it is roughly 900 calories burnt which is no less than three pints of Guinness in a lovely Welsh pub, a much loved exercise that you cannot enjoy in semi-alcohol-free Dhaka. After a gentle first 10 minutes, I settle on a 40 km/h tempo, keeping a watchful eye on the display making sure I do not wander off too deep in my thoughts. Continuity is just as important as overall strength and stamina. There is another component of my training: Balance and flexibility.

Tai Chi could be an excellent trek preparation exercise as it focuses not only on strengthening the legs’ quads muscles but also on well-balanced weightless stepping techniques. It was recommended to me and I recommend it to you, but if you want to design a perfect training plan in Dhaka do not have high hopes. Somehow, leisure and recreation is not a big thing in Bangladesh but how could it be a priority in a country with 60 million people living right under the poverty line and the rest working 12-14 hours a day.
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In my search for good replacement I found hatha yoga. I left the first session with the bitter impression that yoga and I will not be best friends. I simply had no idea how inflexible I was. Pyramid and then snake position. So far so good. And then more twisting and stretching of the unstretchable parts. Don’t forget to inhale and exhale. Everything happens in slow motion and half way through I just want the pain to go away. Pain is a great way of training the mind but it is tormenting my body. The instructor shakes his head in disbelief, I cannot be that bad, I look up again, try to shadow the flow of his moves and am certain in time I will get there…a long long time though but I will get there. 

My partner does everything with ease and an annoying smile on her face. She is 14 years of jazz and classic ballet ahead of me in terms of flexibility but her enthusiasm for our newly found hobby will be my motivation. So hatha yoga, here I come again.

* I am off to yoga with my lovely purple yoga mat..


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