Spring Cycling Comfort and SafetyPosted on April 15, 2013
By K. Blaire Broers, PT, DPT, OCSCycling is an environmentally friendly and active form of of transportation that is beneficial for both the earth and our bodies. Riding a bike provides a comprehensive workout, strengthening the muscles in the legs (primarily quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals and calf muscles), provides the joints in the legs with low-impact range of motion, challenges the heart and lungs and helps strengthen your core. To help prevent the development of an overuse injury or postural-related pain, ensure that your bike fits you correctly and that you have proper equipment.Some of the most common overuse injuries cyclists experience and report prevent them from riding are: knee pain, numbness in the hands/feet, Achilles tendinosis, and neck/back pain. The most common fitting issues that I see clinically are an elevated seat and shortened distance between seat and handlebars. In terms of equipment, shoes are often an afterthought when they should be the first place to start! Wearing a shoe with a firm sole and that is not too tight is critical to prevent the risk of developing a foot/ankle injury or pain. I also find that many cyclists rely heavily on their bike, joints and large global muscles to stay stable and balanced and have difficulty using the smaller stabilizing muscles in the shoulders, abdomen and hips. Though cycling itself is great exercise, having your bike fit properly for you and engaging in a regular exercise routine to strengthen the hips, shoulders and abdominals are essential components of feeling good on your bike!Stay tuned for free quick fits during Bike to Work Week, June 9-15!