“Look, Ma! No Injuries!” Five of the Most Common Bicycling Injuries and How YOU Can Avoid Them
Do your dreams of winning the Tour De France seem like a pipe dream?
Well, it doesn’t matter if you can best Lance Armstrong in a race (let alone your nephew!) – biking is STILL a great way to get out of the house and stay fit this summer.
But be aware – just like any other form of exercise, injuries can still abound from biking.
Before your wipe off the dust on your trusty ol’ bike and take ‘er around town, check out these five most common cycling injuries and what you can do to prevent them from happening to you!
Back/Neck Pain – If you experience pain in your back or neck, it could be an indication that your bike is not the correct fit for you or that you’re sitting on your bike improperly. Be sure that your handlebars are about an inch lower than your saddle on a normal bike and two-four inches lower than the saddle on a mountain bike. Also, make sure that you can reach the handlebars without much strain. To help relieve any tension in your neck, try doing shoulder shrugs and neck stretches.
Knee Pain – Pain in the knee is perhaps the most common ailment that occurs with bike riding. Sadly, this type of injury can be the cause of many different issues such as riding too hard or riding too many miles, improper positioning on the bike, or riding with low rpms (rotations per minute). Like the rest of your body, the knees need some time to get in shape and build muscle for longer durations of bike riding. If they’re pushed too hard too quickly, serious knee damage can occur.
If you aren’t used to bike riding, try not to go too crazy at first. Simply start slowly and build up resistance, stamina, and strength to go longer distances. Lay off the steep climbs, especially at a low rpm, if you’re not used to it. Remember – your body is NOT a machine; it needs time to heal and recover for subsequent workouts!
Cramps – Cramps are common in nearly every exercise in which one does not properly prepare for the activity at hand. This injury is a result of your muscles constantly repeating the same motion over and over and over again, which causes the mechanism that tells the contracted muscle to relax to tire out. Luckily, if you simply warm up before you bike or ride for shorter periods of time, you can easily prevent cramping from occurring.
Wrist and Forearm Pain or Numbness – Injuries to the wrist or forearm usually occur when the rider locks his or her arms while bike riding. Never ride with your arms locked! It’s best to ride your bike with your elbows slightly bent, that way when you hit bumps in the road, your bent elbows can safely absorb the shock and avoid injury. In fact, two common wrist overuse injuries 0 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Cyclist’s Palsy – can be prevented by simply alternating the pressure from the inside to the outside of your palms and by making sure that your wrists don’t drop below the handlebars. You can even try changing hand positions to reduce pain or numbness and stretch your hands out before you go riding.
Head Injury – Head injuries are probably the most serious sort of accident that can occur to a bike rider. Injuries can range from a simple cut or lesion on the cheek to traumatic brain injury. Riders can be prone to receiving concussions or head injuries that may even result in death. One of the best ways to prevent head injuries is by wearing a helmet, which can reduce the risk for head injury by a whopping 85%!
So what are you waiting for? Stretch, grab your helmet, and take your bike out for a spin today to stay fit and enjoy the sunshine! For further tips or questions, be sure to call Fitness4Life at (618) 656-5433 or visit our website at http://www.fitness4lifept.com to see how we can help you!