Cycling is a fantastic way to get fit and improve your fitness levels while getting to enjoy the countryside or scenery around you at the same time. However, if you end up feeling saddle sore or suffering from a bad back at the end of each ride, you might need to look at your riding techniques.
There are some very common injuries that all cyclists experience at one time or another, but the good news is that they are all easily preventable by simple adjustments to your routine, your technique or even changing your clothing.
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Pains in the Knees
There are several potential causes for injuries to the knees while cycling and the first one is simply cycling too many miles before your body is ready to cope with it. If you suddenly start cycle training and take it too far, you will end up causing pain in your knees. Start out gradually and build up your cycling levels in tune with your body’s abilities.
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It might be that your bike is not the right size or frame to suit your body, and this can also put pressure on your knees, causing pain and potential injury. If you are investing in a bike ask the bike shop to help you make sure you choose one that is the right fit for your body, particularly in terms of pedal height.
Failing to stretch out and warm up your legs before and after a cycle ride can also cause knee pain so make sure you warm-up and down before and after every session.
Lower Back Problems
One of the main causes of lower back problems among cyclists is that they are riding a bike that is too big for them so every time they pedal its putting pressure onto their lower back. Get advice from a professional bike shop about the size and fit of your bike.
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If you are not fit when you start out on your cycle, it may be that your core is weak, and this will result in strain on your lower back as you will struggle to keep your posture correct while cycling. You need to do core training as well as cycling, to build up overall strength.
It might be that your riding style is putting too much pressure on your back, particularly if you do a lot of uphill riding. Have a look at your back while cycling and try changing the angle you sit at from time to time.
Becoming Saddle Sore
Saddle sores are caused by friction that occurs between the seat of your bike and your skin so make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing to avoid this friction occurring in the first place. Invest in padded bike shorts to help prevent this injury from happening.
Pain in the Achilles Tendons
Make sure your shoes fit properly and are secure and if they are, you might need to have inserts fitted to provide more support to your feet while cycling. Regularly stretch the Achilles tendon to prevent pain and problems.
These are some of the common injuries which cyclists often experience but there are some other actions that cyclists can take to avoid getting hurt while out on the road, so here are some more tips and advice to prevent injuries.
Always Wear a Cycle Helmet
Make sure your cycle helmet fits perfectly and comfortably and always wear it whenever you ride your bike. It might not look fashionable, but it could save your life and that’s the point. If your bike was involved in a collision you could end up with a head injury if you are not wearing a helmet.
It’s just not worth the risk not to wear a helmet. Make sure you buy it from a reputable cycle equipment store and always ask their advice to get one that fits you snugly and securely as it’s no good if it can fall off your head at the slightest bump.
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Don’t Overdo It
It’s important not to go out on your bike for too long, whether you are a beginner or you are training for a bike race. Cycling for exceptionally long periods of time is uncomfortable and puts stress on your body which can then lead to injuries.
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If you are training then build up your strength and endurance levels gradually, don’t be tempted to over train yourself or you will risk getting injured. You might need to consider adding in other forms of exercise in addition to your cycling, to increase your overall fitness levels.
Get the Right Bike
You need to make sure you buy the right bike for you. It needs to fit your weight and your height, and it needs to be the right kind of bike, depending on whether you are going to be just riding to the shops in the City, or riding up and down steep hills. If you want to avoid injury and accidents make sure your bike is the right one. Also, always check your tires, brakes, and gears regularly to make sure your bike is working at its optimum before you take it out.
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Sort Out Your Seat
It’s important that your bike seat is in the right position for your body, or you could end up with injuries. If it’s too high you might get saddle sores and you will end up with leg and foot pain from the strain of pedaling. Make sure your saddle is correct and comfortable before you start out on your cycling journey.
Know How to Fall Safely
This might sound strange but being able to fall safely could save you from suffering broken bones if you were to have an accident. It’s instinctive to block a fall by putting out your hands but at speed, that’s likely to give you broken arms and hands. Learn to fall safely where your whole body takes the blow, rather than several small bones.