How Can You Prevent Injury While Cycling

Injury Prevention While Cycling

In the United States, there’s been a steady decline in the overall numbers of bike accidents.

However, how can one personally take precautions and prevent injuries while cycling?

If that’s something you’ve been thinking about, you’re exactly where you need to be right now. For starters, one of the best ways to ensure you don’t get injured while you ride your bike is by doing some strength training so that you can make your body stronger and slowly increase mileage.

You might also want to consider doing fewer hills so that you can reduce the stress on the knees. And, of course, it goes without saying how vital helmets are.

There are several reasons why there are fewer bike accidents these days. More cities worldwide are adding bike lanes and infrastructure to encourage this trend. Also, drivers are slowly starting to accept the rise of cyclists.

The one main thing that’s contributing to why there are not as many bike accidents as they used to be is that more and more cyclists learn how to keep injuries at bay when cycling. Below are a few ways you, too, can join the movement. 

Preventing Lower Back Pain 

back pain

Suppose you don’t want to constantly feel like a grandpa, riding around while you whine because your lower back is aching.

Yes, there’s no cure for this yes, but there’s hope if you’re willing to adopt certain meditating techniques that can help with the aches. You can also do easy-to-perform workouts and stretches that help loosens up the back.

Every morning before getting out of bed, put your knees on your chest for a few seconds until you can feel the stretch. Keep doing this for about twenty to thirty seconds or so. Once you’re done, bend your knees, place them back on your mattress and then roll them to the right and the left as far as you possibly can. Hold on each side for roughly twenty-five seconds.

You might also want to consider getting a kettlebell so that you can stretch the lower back. Stand up straight with your toes pointed out in a riding position with your feet shoulder-width, crouch while slightly bending the knees, hold your kettlebell using both hands between your legs and then swing it behind and between the legs.

Power your swings using your arms and not your hips. Begin with twenty sets, rest for a few seconds and then do another twenty. Your goal should be to reach sixty, three times weekly.

Preventing Numb Toes

Sometimes as a cyclist, you might face this aggravating circumstance where your toes start to tingle.

Then you start experiencing “pins and needles,” which ultimately leave with an entire foot or toes that are so annoying, so much so that you can’t concentrate on the ride.

So, what causes this? There are many reasons why this numbness can occur. They might be one or a mix of; impaired blood circulation, nerve compression, lousy arch support, bad cleat placement, or ill-fitting shoes.

Leaving your toes unattended could lead to chronic pain and/or nerve damage. Once your toes start getting numb, loosen up your shoes. It can be the start of your rehabilitation. If loosening the shoes doesn’t work, think about switching your shoes altogether. You can also seek the advice of an orthopedic specialist.

You can also experiment with seat positions (you might be riding your bikeway too low or high, either of which can cause pinched nerves) or try out over-the-counter insoles.

Preventing Hand Injuries

gel cushioning on gloves

If your palms or fingers start to feel numb or start tingling, you’re at risk of injury if you don’t try ways of preventing it from happening in the first place.

We’re going to look at a few tips that can help you relieve the pain and prevent a hand injury from arising:

  • How do you grip your bike handlebars? Do you have a grip that’s tight and powerful? Relax your grip and use a moderately firm one instead
  • Do you change your hand positions during the ride, or are they always in the same position the whole way? If they’re in one position the entire, that’s not good. It would help if you changed your hand placements often so that the muscles in your hands don’t feel like you’ve been pumping weights.
  • Keep both your wrists straight. Move both your hands around so that you can compensate for the different terrain changes as you ride, or you’ll stress the muscles in your wrist big time.
  • If the roads and trails you ride on cause the bicycle to vibrate a lot, wear padded gloves and/or use handlebar tape to redirect and offset this vibration. They’ll also help absorb the shock.

Preventing Shoulder Pain

Are you tense all the time after your ride?

You shouldn’t. If you don’t concentrate on keeping the body aligned and relaxed, you’re at risk of suffering shoulder pain. The tips and tricks associated with helping prevent lower back pain, hand injuries, and combating numbness can all be used to combat shoulder pain as well.

Try out some of the moves below and see how you’ll feel when you ride next time:

  • Shrug your shoulders every fifteen minutes to relax them, whether you’ve got shoulder pain or not.
  • To keep the fatigue that arises because of muscle tension at bay, keep both your elbows bent at all times.
  • Avoid hunching your back when riding. Frequently tilt your head so that you can relax the neck muscles. This will help calm your shoulders.
  • Assess your bike’s handlebar width. Your bike might have handlebars that are too narrow or wide, and trying to force your body to accommodate this could end up triggering shoulder pain.

Preventing Knee Injuries

girl with injured knee

There are a few reasons why cyclists get knee injuries and pain. Let’s say all the reasons involve abusing your body parts.

You will be happy to find out that saddle positioning and saddle height are the two most common reasons why cyclists develop knee soreness and knee injuries.

If your bike seat is way too high, it can result in lower back pain and/or knee pain. You can compound this knee pain if your saddle is too low. Adjust the saddle’s positioning and height to avoid developing knee pain.

The proper foot placement can also help you prevent knee injuries while you cycle. If the pain is coming from inside of the knee, that might mean your feet are either too far or too close apart. Either one can help cause joint strain.

General Safety Tips

Obeying general cycling safety tips is still generally the best way to prevent injuries while you cycle.

Taking care of the body parts we’ve highlighted in this article is a great start. However, if you ignore the general safety tips, the fact that you found out to solve your shoulder and lower back pain won’t matter at all.

Always wear a helmet

safety helmet

How you look when you have your helmet on shouldn’t be something you’re worried about because safety is what matters here. It would be best if you only were thinking about keeping your dome and brain intact and safe. With that said, you can pick a helmet that’s both extraordinarily efficient and fashion-forward.

Stay Visible

Only fools ride their bikes at night dressed like ninjas. You want people to be able to see you when you’re on your bike. The best way to do this is by putting on clothes that have reflective trims. You also want to turn on the bike lights at night or when it’s almost about to get dark.

Use hand signals

Hand signals help you inform motorists when and where you want to turn. Motorists often get easily distracted—this why people on bicycles need to be very efficient at making eye contact and nonverbal communication.

Stay alert

general safety tips for cyclists

You don’t need to be told that potholes, people, and obstacles can pop up anytime without warning while you’re out riding. Your body reflexes are always ready to help bail you out of such problems. However, they only work if you keep alert.

Act like a car

This happens to be an excellent suggestion. It’s to remind you that it isn’t lovely to weave through traffic like those drivers that think they’re racing on a speedway. Check traffic flow regularly and ride predictably so that you can increase the chances of you staying safe.

Do not get distracted

Talking to a family member/friend or listening to your favorite podcast on your smartphone might look like an excellent way to multitask, but scanning your phone and peddling at the same time could cause you to have a shorter life than you should. 

Conclusion

Cycling is a low-impact and great way to build endurance, strength, and cardiovascular health.

Though, it’s imperative, especially for novice cyclists, to know the correct cycling techniques and the things to avoid so that you can prevent injuries from occurring. The most common complaints most cyclists usually have is back and knee pain.

This article is what you need to help you prevent these injuries from happening. You don’t have to be afraid of going cycling anymore if you know what you need to do to prevent yourself from getting injured while you ride. 

References

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