Cycling Injury Prevention

Jun 02, 2021

The temperatures are getting warmer, the sun is shining brighter and the temptation to get outside is growing! Its time to dust off the bike, pump up the tires and get out to enjoy some fun on two wheels. With bicycles flying out of bike shop doors at record speeds cycling is gaining popularity for summer 2021. As an avid cyclist myself, I too know the thrill of hopping on a bike and enjoying the open roads, trails or paths around the city!

Cycling is a great way to achieve the Canadian Physical Activity Guideline recommendations of 150 min per week of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular physical activity. With all the apps and technology available to track fitness these days it is easy to track your activities to try and meet this mark. Additionally, with riding a bike you can enjoy reaching and even surpassing this benchmark with the added benefit of enjoying sunshine and increasing your levels of Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin). Meeting this 150min/week guideline can help reduce your risk of many things including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, many types of cancer (including colon and breast), hypertension and can go a long way in improving mental health and physical well-being.

Since cycling is a very repetitive leg dominant activity, there are a few preventative measures you can take to help you maximize your time one the bike this summer.

  • Stretching – Stretching before getting on the bike has been proven to help increase power while on the bike! This means that by stretching before you head out for a ride your muscles will be primed and ready to work. Stretches can be added to a warm up routine before riding to ensure your leg muscles are ready to work. A warm up could include a combination of lunges, squats and stretches. Some areas that are most important to stretch include hip flexors, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. You should try and stretch more than just once a day. If you are able to, try and incorporate stretches every hour with each stretch being held for only 20-30 seconds. This will go a long way in keeping your muscles from tightening up due to cycling and help prevent injuries that can result from overactive muscles.

  • Strengthening – By adding a strengthening program into your routine you can increase the efficiency of the muscles that are utilized most while cycling. This will help build stronger muscles in these key areas and allow you to work harder without fatiguing as quickly. Developing stronger musculature will decrease the chance of developing an injury from overusing your lower extremity muscles. Along with stretching in the areas mentioned above include exercises for your core, hip flexors, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Some excellent exercises to target these areas include squats, lunges, heel raises, planks/side planks, and leg raises.

  • Talk to a physiotherapist. If you have any questions about how to start a prehab program or are just looking for tips to tweak your current program, talk to a physiotherapist. That’s what we are here for! Its our goal to help you stay injury free this summer and out enjoying time on your bike.

 

To book in for an appointment, call 780-458-8505 or visit linktr.ee/activephysioworks for online booking.

 


References:

O Connor, D. M., Crow, M. J., & Spinks, W. L. (2006). Effects of static stretching on leg power during cycling. Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness46(1), 52.

Tremblay, M. S., Warburton, D. E., Janssen, I., Paterson, D. H., Latimer, A. E., Rhodes, R. E., ... & Duggan, M. (2011). New Canadian physical activity guidelines. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism36(1), 36-46.



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