Cycling should be as easy as…well…riding a bike. Yet, without proper preparation it can be just as easy to injure yourself. Here are some tips to get the best out of your next bicycle ride:
Pick out the bicycle best suited for your ride
Are you interested in mountain biking? Recreational cycling? Bicycles are made differently depending on the type of cycling you intend to do. Be sure to get a bicycle made for your type of biking.
Take a seat and make yourself comfortable
Make sure your bike seat is at the proper height. You need to be able to comfortably reach the pedals with a near full pedal stroke and maintain good posture.
A seat that is too low can keep your knee bent which can cause knee compression. And if you have to come off the seat to pedal, you can put undue stress on your pelvis trying to keep the bike stable.
A seat that is too high can cause you to extend too much at the foot and ankle. You are also at risk of oscillating to the left and right to reach the pedals which can cause spinal and pelvic pain.
Proper handlebar height should ensure your spine is properly aligned which will help maintain good posture and reduce stress and discomfort of your neck and spine over prolonged cycling.
Before you go for a ride, do some dynamic stretches. Active dynamic stretches involve stretching on all three planes of movement – forwards/backwards, side-to-side, and rotational. This actually warms up your muscles, increases muscle performance and has a better injury prevention rate than traditional basic stretches. Save the standard stretches for after your ride to help maintain flexibility when your muscles are already warm.
Make sure to keep your body hydrated. And if going on a long ride, be sure to bring along nutritious snacks to replace the calories your body is burning along the way.
Treat injuries sooner than later
Even with preparation, it is still possible to incur injuries while cycling – especially muscle strains. If you do strain a muscle, the best treatment is to respond with RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation for 48-72 hours – and to give Rehab Associates of Central Virginia a call at 855-RACV-4PT. Treating an injury as soon as it happens will ensure you get the best outcome for recovery.