Avoiding cycling injuries is all about prevention, and there are a number of ways you can avoid getting hurt while riding. By taking care of your body and ensuring your health, you’ll be in a better position to ride in the long-run. Listed below are the top five ways to prevent a cycling injury.
1. Get hydrated
You’d be surprised how many cycling injuries occur because cyclists are not properly hydrated. Cycling requires a ton of energy and can cause you to sweat quite a bit, so it is easy to get dehydrated. Being dehydrated can lead to muscle cramps, forcing you to cut your ride short. If you plan to ride for under an hour, water is a great choice. For longer rides, consider consuming an energy drink full of electrolytes to keep your body hydrated.
2. Pick the right bike
An incorrectly-sized bike is the top reason cyclists experience an injury. Bikes of the wrong size can cause back pain, knee trouble, neck soreness, and whole lot more. Be sure to test ride a bike prior to buying, and make sure your legs can fully extend while pedaling. The handlebars should be at a level that allows you to easily grab them while sitting up, but not so far away that your elbows can’t be slightly bent.
3. Change your riding style
Minor adjustments in the way you ride your bicycle can have big effects on your health. If you experience knee pain, make sure you are pedaling with the balls of your feet, not your heels. Also be sure your legs are extending nearly straight, but not completely. Raising or lowering your saddle is a great remedy for changing your riding style to decrease the risk of lower body injury, while altering the position of your handlebars can alleviate some upper body issues.
4. Stretch it out
Be sure to stretch prior to hopping on your bicycle, but make sure you do dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching, such as jumping jacks or skipping, warms up your muscles so they are ready to go once you begin cycling. Static stretches during which you remain still are best served for after your ride, but they can help your body heal and prevent injury on your next ride. If you experience a cramp while cycling, stop riding and stretch it out until it is gone. A combination of proper hydration and stretching will prevent camps in the future.
5. Pick the right shoes
Finally, make sure you are wearing the proper cycling shoes. A lot of stress bets placed on your feet while you ride, and choosing shoes that don’t fit properly can lead to injury. Cycling shoes that are too narrow place unnecessary pressure on your nerves, while those that are too large can force you to use the wrong muscles as you pedal.
Beau is a professional Triathlete from the Gold Coast, Australia. He chooses Merida triathlon cycles for his racing events and provides these tips to cycling enthusiasts to stay healthy.