Not only is cycling great exercise and a lot of fun, it’s also an excellent way to get around that’s considerably better for you than driving. However, if you like cycling and have been experiencing pain your feet, legs, hands or shoulders, it could be that your bike is what’s causing the problem. A bike that isn’t the right size for you can lead to pain in your feet, knees, buttocks, back and shoulders. It can also result in rashes, sore hands, nerve damage and possibly even loss of control and an accident. In order to ensure you avoid both accidents and injuries from cycling, here are some tips for ensuring a proper fit and staying safe:
- GETTING THE SIZING RIGHT: In terms of the vertical height, make sure your leg is at a slight bend when the pedal is at its lowest point. You can adjust the seat in order to achieve this, but you’ll have to start with a bike that is the appropriate size since you can only adjust a seat so much. If you’re buying a bike with a bar, you’ll want to have between one and two inches of clearance between your crotch and the bar when you’re standing with your legs straddling the bike. As for the handle bars, you don’t want to be too far or too close. Make sure that you have a slight bend in your elbows. Your shoulders should be relaxed and you should feel comfortable holding the handlebars. Locking your arms can cause a great deal of fatigue and pain, even on a shorter ride.
- FINDING A COMFORTABLE SEAT: One of the most important parts of a bike is the seat. Sitting on a bicycle seat can put pressure on your nerves and arteries, which can lead to numbness, loss of sensation and other problems. Too much pressure and a narrow bike seat can lead to severe chafing, reduced blood flow and even potential nerve injury. The seat you choose will be up to personal preference. Some people like harder seats while some would rather have a softer seat. Choose something that feels comfortable for you and remember that you can always swap the seat for a different one if you’re feeling especially sore or if you experience prolonged numbness or discomfort.
- WEARING A HELMET: You can’t discuss bike safety and health without stating how important it is to always wear a helmet when biking. It doesn’t matter your age or how long you’ve been riding, a helmet is a crucial part of cycling safely. Your helmet needs to fit properly. It should rest comfortably on your head, about an inch above your eyebrows and it should not be too loose or too tight. Make sure that your helmet is approved by the standards agency in your region for cycling. It needs to be a bike helmet, not a helmet designed for another sport or activity. Remember that helmets that are damaged in a crash cannot be repaired or recovered. They need to be replaced.
Of course, even with a proper fit, injuries sometimes occur and dealing with these injuries often requires professional attention. Need help? Don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.