When the weather warms up outdoors in Minnesota, suddenly everyone and their brother seems to find and ride a bicycle. Cycling helps improve people’s physical and mental health, especially after a long, dark, cold winter, right? Pedalling on a bike at the gym, indoors, also works well for people who want to improve muscle tone without putting too much stress on their knee and ankle joints.
Whether it’s indoors or out, cycling is one of America’s favorite fitness choices and it’s especially good for a cardiovascular workout, helping reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
You’ve got to be careful on a bike– you’ll want to avoid cycling injuries. Interestingly, most people think of collisions with other vehicles as the main way people hurt themselves on a bike, but the reality is you’re much more likely to get hurt just falling off your bike or hitting a stationary object. Incorrect riding postures can lead to injury, too.
Think about how you currently would ride a bike. What does that posture look like? With cycling, you’re exerting a lot of force using your leg muscles, right? But how’s your back? Have you developed its muscles? If you’re like most people, your back is your “weakest link.” Depending on your biking posture, you might end up putting too much stress on your back to the point where it’s overworked. Then it starts to spasm and gets fatigued. That’s not a good thing!
Just like mom might have told you to stand up straight when you were a kid, you need to get into the habit of keeping your back straight when riding a bike in order to put less pressure on your back.
Now what about “burning feet” and/or numb toes? Perhaps you are squashing your nerves down there? Are your shoes too tight? Are you always cycling uphill, putting too much pressure on your feet? Does the road you take have too much vibration? Ideally, to prevent numb toes/burning feet, you’ll want to make sure your feet are straight when clipped into pedals, and make sure there aren’t any irregular seams, straps or buckles that might end up pressing on your feet.
As for hand injuries on bikes, in order to prevent numbness/tingling in the palm or fingers you’ll want to change hand positions frequently, keep your wrist straight, use a firm-but-relaxed grip, and wear padded gloves in order to reduce the vibration.
In order to prevent shoulder pain, don’t place too much weight on the hands or ride with straight elbows. Instead, slightly flexed elbows make sense. And if you want to prevent knee pain, switch to lower gears when possible, don’t overdo it, and adjust your seat height so that your leg position involves an almost straightened knee in line with the ball of your foot over the pedal axle at its lowest position.
If you’re a frequent cyclist who is experiencing pain and needs relief, you should make an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic. Call 651-464-0800.