Biking is currently one of the most popular outdoor sporting activities in the country, and there’s no better time to get moving on the road or trail than over the next few months. Cycling has seen a significant rise in popularity with a 67% increase over the last decade, and the organization USA Cycling estimates more than 70,000 Americans will travel by bike over the course of the next year.
While the growth of cycling is great for the sport and for all of those getting involved, the downside is that these higher numbers also mean more cycling-related injuries. This unfortunate truth comes with the territory for any sport that experiences an increase in participation, and biking is no different.
Due to the fact that cycling often requires dynamic bursts of strength and speed, joints can be stressed and muscles strained, which can lead to overuse injuries. The most common problems seen in the biking world include neck and back pain, knee irritation, Achilles and patellar tendinitis, and muscular strains of the calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. These injuries can prevent cyclists from enjoying the sport for weeks, but the good news is that action can be taken to avoid them in the first place.
Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates recommends the following stretching and strengthening bike conditioning exercises to help athletes become stronger with sustained health in order to avoid injury:
- Doorway stretch: Place both forearms onto a doorframe, step through with one foot and lean forward slowly to stretch chest muscles; hold for 30 seconds
- Quad stretch: Standing straight, bend the knee back so the heel goes toward the buttocks, hold the foot with your hand; use a surface to assist balance if needed; hold for 30 seconds
- Hamstring stretch: Lie on back, raise leg up with hands keeping knee straight, hold for 30-60 seconds; good for low back pain
- Upper trap stretch: Reach over head and gently pull ear towards same shoulder; hold for 30 seconds
- Calf stretch: Standing, place on foot behind you and the opposite in front; lean forward while keeping the back heel down to stretch the calf and Achilles; hold for 30 seconds
- Shoulder stretch: Move one arm across chest, grab with opposite arm just above elbow and pull until the back of the shoulder feels stretched; hold for 30 seconds
- Upper neck stretch: Pull the head back to align over the spine, tuck the chin down and elongate the back of the neck; hold 30 seconds
For all the cyclists who want to have a great season that’s healthy and injury-free, visit Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates at either of our two locations in Shelby and Kings Mountain, NC, where we can create a personalized program that’s right for you. Call 704-471-0001 for more information or to schedule an appointment.