Home Dog senses Five Senses Meditation | Sensory walk

Five Senses Meditation | Sensory walk


If you’re a cyclist who rides to race, or even just to see an improvement in your fitness and endurance, you’re probably pretty focused on all that data you have at your fingertips. Between a power meter, a heart rate monitor, devices that constantly feed you speed and cadence, chances are you’re watching your stats on a regular basis. And while, of course, numbers play a part in your performance, especially if you’re aiming for faster speeds and finishing times, there’s a time and a place for these tools.

If you want to get the most out of your efforts, it also helps to tune the data and connect with your five senses. Paying attention to your senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste not only keeps you safe on the bike, but harnessing these sensations regularly can give you a better understanding of yourself. even as an athlete. Ultimately, regular sensory practice on the bike can also lead to improved performance.

“It’s important to let go of your gadgets here and there,” says Justin Ross, Psy.D., a Denver-based clinical sports performance psychologist. “When you’re too focused on data, you can lose sight of your connection to movement and the environment around you.”

Ross, a cyclist himself, says letting go of the gadgets and focusing on feeling can be especially hard to do in cycling. “When I ride, the bike computer is always in front of me,” he says. “With running, you have to at least try harder to get the data in front of you.” In cycling, you have to be determined to get back to just riding and experiencing your body moving through space. Here’s why you should and how to do it.

The benefits of paying more attention to your senses

A focused effort to tap into your senses can help you unplug from these devices and just enjoy the ride. “When you log in, it sets the stage for you to continue enjoying cycling,” says Adrienne Langelier, licensed professional counselor and owner of Peak Counseling and Sports Psychology in Dallas. “It’s important to take a few trips to just look around and check in with yourself.” This practice will allow you to be present in the moment, and bring more awareness to your needs and potential adjustments.

Riding by appealing to your senses can also increase the enjoyment quotient. A simple stroll without interruption from all that feedback can be both centering and soothing, leading to a feeling of ease and flow. In a modern, busy world, that’s a valuable return on time invested.

Listening to your senses and practicing this associative style of riding can give you an invaluable tool the next time you need to feel awkward on a ride or race. “When you’re working hard on the bike, you have to be able to handle the discomfort,” says Ross. “If you have a way to divert your attention from your pain, you will find your experience more enjoyable.”

Finally, in addition to having more fun on the bike and beating hard pushes, adjusting your times can improve performance by teaching you how to better meet your racing needs. For example, when you pay attention to your taste sensation, you can better discern the nutritional needs of the moment, making adjustments on the fly. The same goes for the shape to help you start and ride faster.

How often do you need to listen to your senses to reap rewards? It largely depends on your goals. If you’re in the middle of a training, you probably want to get the most out of data feedback. But if it’s off-season, leave the data behind more often and get online. “A few times a month, you should leave technology behind and rely on your senses to make sure you’re exercising at the appropriate level,” recommends Langelier. “That’s especially true out of season.”

Ross agrees. “When you’re not training for something specific, there’s less pressure to focus on metrics,” he says. “It’s the perfect time for easy rides focused on fun.”

During your tougher training seasons, however, you can always find time for sensory riding. “You don’t have to practice sensory riding for an entire race to reap the benefits,” says Ross. “Even if it’s only five to 10 minutes each ride, it will pay off.”

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How to actually tune your senses on the bike

Here’s how experts recommend you channel your senses:


Much of the information you need to process while riding comes from your vision, says Langelier. “Whether you’re riding in the mountains or in the city, regularly observe your surroundings,” she says. “When you pay attention to what you see, you release dopamine and make your ride more enjoyable.”

Ross says that with any sense, you can choose to focus broadly or narrowly, and bounce between each. “For vision, that might mean picking something in front of you on the road and narrowing your focus to it as you get closer,” he says. “Or find the next bend in the trail and hold your gaze to it.” It helps improve your concentration and teaches you awareness.


Just as you can choose narrow or wide focus with sight, you can do the same with hearing. Train yourself to hear widely by simply having a general awareness of the background noises around you on a ride. When focusing closely, listen for a specific sound, such as the chirping of a bird or water flowing in a nearby river, for example. Listen to the sound for as long as you can to hold on to your surroundings and get through tough stretches.

To taste

Focusing on what you’re tasting on a ride is a good way to naturally determine what your hydration or nutrition needs are at the moment. “Perhaps you taste too sweet,” says Langelier, “and that means it’s time to replace more water versus electrolytes. Let your sense of taste determine where you are deficient.


With cycling, “being one with the bike” is a common goal and the touch is the perfect place to determine if you are on the right track. “Do you feel safe and relaxed on your bike? asks Langelier. “Do you need to adjust your equipment? How do you feel against the wind? All of these inputs can be helpful in developing a good relationship with cycling.


As with the other senses, being more attentive to your sense of smell on the bike can be focused or broad, thinking about a particular smell or the overall smell you get from your surroundings. Do you smell the smell of freshly cut hay as you pass a field? What about the smells of a bustling city? Let yourself be absorbed by the smells around you and it could save you from stressing about that big climb you are attempting.

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