Every year in July, the world-renowned Tour De France showcases the talents and ambitions of the greatest cyclists in the world. Watching these incredible athletes compete while crossing through 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) of beautiful villages, scenic landscapes, countryside, and cities of France over a 23-day period is inspiring and motivational enough to want to grab your bike, do a little tune up, and start hitting the road for your own fun. Before you get started on your journey, we’d like to explain a few ways you can keep your spine healthy while enjoying even the most vigorous cycling adventures.
Increase Your Mileage Progressively
When it comes to increasing your mileage, the key is to take it slow. It is important to be mindful of the fact that the cyclists in the Tour have undergone vigorous conditioning and long-distance training before taking on the ultimate challenge that we enjoy watching. If you haven’t cycled in a while, start out slow and increase your mileage gradually, by a maximum of 20% per week. While you may be tempted to push yourself to your limits, just remember that if your muscles aren’t well conditioned, your body, and likely your lower back, will most likely feel the pain!
At the Stridewell Clinic here in Scottsdale, our Spine Specialists have extensive experience in helping injured athletes get the care they need to stay well. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or participate in athletic competitions, the right guidance and expertise from our Spine Specialists can help you get better and improve your performance by preventing spine-related injuries! Stridewell Tips
Keep Your Position In Check
The vast majority of the time, experiencing pain while cycling or after getting off your bike is most often due to a poor bike fit. A common problem is having a saddle that is too high. When your saddle is too high, your hips will rock sideways when you pedal, which will lead to lower back pain. If you believe this could be your issue, it is a good idea to pedal on an indoor trainer while watching yourself in the mirror. Another common issue is having your handlebar a bit too far away, which puts too much strain on your lumbar vertebrae. Achieving a more upright position by raising your handlebars with spacers could definitely help. Since there are many other issues that could cause a poor bike fit, it is always a good idea to have your bike fit to your body by a professional.
Workout Your Core
In cycling, strong core muscles are very important. If your core is weak, your body will be forced to use your lower back to compensate, which causes the lower back muscles to get tired and susceptible to injury. If you are looking to eventually compete in cycling or would just like to enjoy being able to cover a lot of mileage during a short period of time, you may be encouraged to know that strong core muscles will enable you to significantly increase your speed. As some cyclists say, “the stronger your core, the faster you’ll go!” While abdominal workouts are a great way to improve the strength of your core muscles, there are many other effective exercises as well. To find a core workout that is best for your needs and goals, be sure to speak with your athletic trainer or physical therapist.read article