Cycling has many health benefits that are scientifically proven, says Thomas N Salzano, a biker. These days where take out time from your busy schedule for the gym and other fitness activities is difficult people prefer cycling.
You enjoy all the benefits from health to fun while you ride your bike. But there are some drawbacks too that are not that serious but you as a cyclist must know. Cycling for long hours can cause back pain which is one common issue faced by almost all cyclists.
Although there are other causes of back pain, treatment is what should be our major concern, Thomas N Salzano. Ignoring the pain will do you no good, so before it goes bad you should take some steps to avoid or relax the pain.
The first question that arises here is “How Can Cycling Put the Back at Risk?
Cycling is considered as a leg-based exercise. The primary moving joints are the ankles, knees, hips, but the upper body is also engaged.
Basically the back pain is caused due to the position you’re in and the time you spend cycling. The catch here is that bending over for long hours causes back pain even if you are sitting on a chair for long hours or riding your bike for long hours. This is called flexion relaxation, a situation where the muscles of the spine simply turn off.
Here are some points shared by Thomas N Salzano that you should consider avoiding/reducing the cause of back pain:
1. Please ensure that your bike fits you properly
The first thing that you should consider while purchasing the bike is that your bike fits you properly and is set up for your current range of motion. This tip is especially for the new bikers who prefer the brand over comfort and features
2. Ride the bike before you buy
Generally, the salesperson will allow you to ride a bike for a few minutes but negotiate a longer session on your new cycle. Fitting and adjustment are required in almost all the new bikes and for that, you need to ride the bike first to understand what adjustments are required. Get all the adjustments done beforehand so that later you do not have to suffer.
3. Cycle Adjustment Points
As mentioned before your cycle should be properly adjusted and for making the right adjustment you need to know about them first. The new bikers may find it a bit difficult at first to understand the adjustments:
- Seat Height: When adjusting your seat make sure the height of the saddle is adjusted to that with the heel of the foot resting on the pedal in the fully down position.
- Foot Position: The ball of the foot must be over the center of the pedal spindle and the foot aligned with the direction of the cycle.
- Seat forwards-backward Position: The ball of the foot should rest on the center of the front pedal, with pedals horizontal, also make sure that the kneecap is vertically over the pedal spindle. You can re-adjust the height after this as adjustments will be required.
- Saddle Angle: Mostly horizontal and you can check with a sprint level.
- Saddle-handlebar distance: Hold the handle from the lowest part of the handlebars and the upper arm should be about ten degrees from vertical, and the forearms about 45 degrees from horizontal.
- Handlebar height: The handlebar should be between 0 and 10 cm below the seat height. If you are new to cycling you may prefer zero and a frequent racer may be as much as 10cm.
4. What else to do for lower back pain:
- Train your hip flexors: Your hip flexors must be tight and need stretching which is why training your hip flexors is important.
- Train your back extensors: Your muscles and lumbar spine should be capable enough of holding a flexed position for a long period. For this, you need to train your body.
- Evaluate your trunk rotation: The rotation of the spine can also be an issue, so keep a check on that. Proper exercise will definitely help.
Basically you need to work on both: your bike and your body to avoid any health issue including back pain. Cyclists need to understand the importance of a fit body that allows you to ride for long hours. Thomas N Salzano says that you need to invest time in training and preparing your body to become a professional cyclist.