KAKINADA: Meet Yandamuri Prakasa Rao in Kakinada, who is on a mission to popularise cycling as a healthy habit. Though he is a contractor by profession, his passion lies in cycling and creating awareness about its health benefits.
Four years ago, the 45-year-old cycling enthusiast along with his two friends, Y Kalyan Chakravarthi and M Rajasekhar, took the initiative of launching the Godavari Cycling Club (GCC).
The club has been creating awareness about the benefits of cycling among youth and school children. In a short time, GCC got affiliated to the Paris Randonneurs Club. Since setting up the club, Rao has organised 30 awareness sessions about long-distance endurance cycling, how it can be challenging but beneficial for physical fitness.
Stating that he has completed Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRMs) of 200, 300, 400, and 600 km, he observed that these days people accustomed to zooming on their bikes are unable to keep themselves fit to cycle beyond a few kilometres. “Cycling for long distances is challenging, but at the same time, it is the best exercise one can ask for to keep themselves fit. We can say it is the best solution to the problem of obesity,” he told TNIE.
While GCC started small, it now has 100 members and almost all of them are active. Every day, they hit the road and pedal a minimum of 25-30 km from Kakinada to Pithapuram and back. Sometimes, they go on 50-km cycle rides, mostly on Sundays, between Kakinada and Gollaprolu and back.
Elaborating on how cycling can help one stay fit, Prakash Rao said, “Cycling toughens the body and keeps it fit. From both a speed and strength perspective, it builds muscular structure while targeting cardiovascular endurance. While the primary muscles targeted are certainly the lower body muscles, the arm muscles, as well as the core, get in a great workout.
Cycling has a variety of general health benefits such as fat loss, heart and lung function improvement, calorie burner, and targeting most of the major muscle groups in the body. The overall result of regular cycling is a lean, fit body with a notable increase in stamina.”
Stating that cycling also strengthens the upper body, Rao explained, “There is something to be said about the effect that riding can have on the arms and the shoulders. Many cyclists change positions while riding. Whether standing, leaning forward, or ducking on trail rides, upper body support is necessary to sustain these movements. These shifts in body movements place pressure on the upper body and help to tone and strengthen the region.”
Kakinada Municipal Corporation Commissioner Swapnil Dinkar Pundkar has accompanied the group in several awareness programmes and also said a 25-kilometre cycle track would be developed in the city.