Cycling can be a wonderful form of exercise for people of all ages and skill levels. The low impact nature of cycling has many health benefits. However, it can be dangerous to assume that cyclists are immune to sustaining injuries.
Cycling engages many parts of the body. Literally, from your head to your toes, your entire body is susceptible to injury if you are taking your bike out on the road. So how can you avoid some of the most common types of cycling injuries? Prevention starts before you even put your feet on the pedals.
Tips for preventing cycling injuries:
- Select the proper bike. Do you need a road bike, cyclocross bike, mountain bike or hybrid bike? These are just a few of the common types of bikes out there. The best way to match a bike to your specific needs is to research and talk with a professional. This might involve going to a cycling store to get fitted for the best bike for your body type and skill level.
- Get proper protective gear. Just as important as the bike itself is the gear that you will need to wear on your body. While you never anticipate wrecking your bike when you head out for a ride, it is a very common and potentially disastrous situation. Sustaining a head injury from a fall is one of the most dangerous bike injuries. For this reason, a helmet is one of the most important pieces of gear you can wear. Be sure that the helmet fits securely to your head.
- Stay hydrated. While dehydration itself is not an injury, it can lead to fatigue and poor form. If your body is unable to maintain proper form during a ride, it is possible that you will react more slowly to your surroundings. Staying hydrated during a ride helps to ensure your body is working efficiently throughout your workout.
- Know your limits. Whether you are new to cycling or a seasoned veteran, it is important to know your body and how hard it can go. Be sure to stretch appropriately before hitting the road and after you are done.
- Avoid common overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are some of the most common issues facing cyclists. The repetitive motion of your legs pushing and pulling during a ride, can lead to a variety of injuries if you don’t listen to your body. Muscle cramps, achilles tendonitis and chondromalacia are common injuries associated with overuse. If you start to feel sore or tightness in your legs, knees or ankles, make sure to rest your body. Do not push yourself into worsening what might be a very minor issue.
Cycling can be a wonderful form of exercise if you take the appropriate precautions. If you do find yourself suffering from a biking injury, don’t put off getting and assessment. Making an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon to get an accurate diagnosis can help you to get back on the road soon. Whether you simply need rest to recover or require surgery, an orthopaedic surgeon can help you determine the best course of treatment to get you back to your exercise routine.