Bid Goodbye to Cycling Injuries
Cycling is a wonderful sport – it helps you lose weight and keeps you fit. But did you know that it could result in a number of cycling injuries? A majority of cycling injuries are usually musculoskeletal and soft tissue injuries. Fortunately, there are a number of preventable measures you can take to always stay on top of your game.
Simple Recovery Measures for Everyday Cyclists
Here are a couple of simple ways to prevent injuries among everyday cyclists:
Preparing a nice and hearty meal after cycling may seem like tough work but we highly recommend it. After a round of cycling, your body will have burned a natural enzyme called glycogen which your body sources from protein, carbohydrates and fat. The more you push yourself, the more glycogen you burn for energy. If you have to hit to work right afterwards, consider prepping your meal in advance or making yourself a quick healthy smoothie.
If you do not eat right, your body will start to source this enzyme from your muscles, which can be detrimental to your health. To prevent that from happening, keep refuelling your body with healthy and nutritious meals, cutting your recovery period in half.
One of the best-known ways to relieve stress and tension off your muscles and spine is to get a nice, professional sports massage. Getting the right kind of massage can significantly help activate the lactic acid in your muscles, greatly relieving sore muscles and pains. Ensuring that the body is well recovered and at the top of its game will also reduce the risk of cycling injuries.
Sleep Right, Sleep Tight
Muscle development usually takes place when you are asleep. Sleeping on time helps considerably shorten your recovery period, giving you more energy and stamina to perform the next day. Make it a priority to sleep at least 6 to 7 hours every day, allowing your body its well-deserved rest.
Walk to Cool Down Your Body
According to research, the impact of a cool-down routine does not significantly affect muscle soreness, especially after an intense physical activity such as cycling. But a cool down walk can actually be beneficial for enhancing brain function. According to Bloomsbury University professor Andrea Fradkin, a cool-down walk can help eliminate blood build-up in the veins. All you need to do is take a nice walk in a cool environment after cycling. It helps enhance blood circulation in the brain, restoring normal functioning.
Develop an Active Recovery Routine
The human body has a separate system for waste disposal otherwise known as the lymph system. Think of it as constantly functioning sewage pipes responsible for eliminating and flushing out toxins to keep your system detoxified. However, to keep your lymph system going smoothly, you need to stay active. And no, that doesn’t mean you go on a strenuous hike after a day’s bike ride. Instead, take your cycle for a nice, slow and calming spin.
The Importance of Staying Effectively Hydrated
There is nothing more important than keeping your body hydrated when you are cycling in hot temperatures. This especially applies to racers and avid cyclists. Subjecting your dehydrated body to intense physical activities such as cycling can cause a plethora of health complications in the long-run. In addition, it might drastically impact your stamina to perform the next day. In dire case of dehydration, you will also start experiencing debilitating problems such as fainting, diarrhoea, nausea and lack of focus or disorientation.
Perspiration – The Bodies Way to Stay Cool
The human body is truly fascinating. Our bodies are designed to keep its temperature regulated through sweating. However, whenever you sweat, your body gradually starts to circulate less oxygen-rich blood throughout your muscles. A decrease in the total volume of blood pumped will result in a decline in your aerobic stamina, leading to a drop in optimal performance when cycling.
In humid or very hot temperatures, excessive sweating can cause dangerous health complications such as heat stroke, nausea and dizziness. In addition, excessive sweating while dehydrated will cause your body will lose essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, sodium and magnesium. All these mineral salts are essential in enhancing and maintaining muscle performance and for improving your immunity. That is primarily why you must hydrate yourself and prepare your body to avoid health complications. To ensure you stay hydrated, you should incorporate water, carbohydrates and electrolytes to your routine.
Steering Clear of Dehydration
If you are a competitive cyclist, it is vital to have a good carbohydrate intake. However, one thing that could be even more important is monitoring how much fluids you consume, especially in humid weather. Your body will have no problem regulating its core temperature in cooler environments, which means you can do without drinking a lot of water. But if you are training in hot temperatures and climate, your body is subjected to more stress. That means it needs more water and electrolytes for effective thermoregulation.
Simple Hacks for Maintaining Optimal Performance
Here are a few simple hacks that will guarantee optimal performance:
- Before you start training, drink at least 750-millilitres of water to ensure adequate hydration.
- Do not irregularly consume fluids. Drink water and carbohydrate and electrolyte-rich drinks such as Gatorade or any other energy drink throughout the day. If you drink a lot in a short time span, your body will not have enough time to process the nutrients, leaving you bloated and sluggish. Performance gains happen over time not all at once.
- Drinks that have water and mineral salts such as calcium and magnesium are optimal for replenishing your glycogen count. The more you sweat, the more fuel you burn, you need to be prepared for this loss in energy. In addition, consuming electrolyte drinks will help steer you clear of muscle cramps.
- Make sure that your drinks are ice-cool. Keep your bottle in the freezer at night, take it out when you begin training and allow it to defrost. Cold drinks keep the body nice and cool, maintaining a healthy core temperature.
- Avoid drinking carbonated drinks if you need something extra – instead, go for still beverages.
How to Stay Away from Cycling Injuries
Cycling is a physically demanding exercise, and if you do not have a good posture or push yourself too hard, there could be consequences. Here are some good ways you can go as hard as you want without falling prey to frequent cycling injuries.
Types of Cycling Injuries: Lower Back Pain
When it comes to cycling, the most common thing people complain about is their backs. Sure, they do have strong leg muscles, but many lack the torso strength required to absorb the force and resistance generated from pedalling fast. That can, in turn, have an adverse effect on their lower back, causing early exhaustion and spasms.
The best way to eliminate this problem is to ensure your back is completely straight while you are riding. The same goes for when you are sitting in front of the computer. Maintaining good posture is an excellent remedy for back issues.
Other Types of Cycling Injuries
If you feel that uncomfortable, almost burning sensation in your toes while you are cycling, you probably have squashed nerves. Too much road vibration or steep-cycling or wearing tight sports shoes can cause this problem.
Here are some ways you can prevent this from happening:
- Loosen the straps on your cycling shoes a bit, releasing some of the tension.
- If you wear cleats, it is vital to ensure both your feet are kept as straight as possible when pedalling.
- If you feel the buckles from your shoes are putting too much tension on your toes, either loosen them or get rid of them.
The first sign of a hand injury is if you feel a tingling sensation in your fingers or if your palm feels too tight. Here is how you can prevent hand injuries associated with cycling:
- Relax your grip, holding the handlebars as if your life depended on it will cause more stress. Keep the grip comfortable but make sure it is firm.
- Do not grab the handlebars in just one position, keep on interchanging the grip.
- Never bend your wrists, keep them straight.
- It is always great to wear cycling gloves to absorb the constant vibration from the handlebars.
Shoulder cycling injuries are quite common amongst frequent, avid and competitive cyclists. The most common reason for shoulder injury is due to riding with straight elbows and exerting too much weight on the hands. The most effective injury prevention method is to keep the elbows slightly bent and/or flexed. This helps to absorb all that shock to the upper body.
Steer Clear from Cycling Injuries Today
They say prevention is better than cure hence be sure to read up more on staying hydrated and maintaining good posture. For tips and tricks on staying healthy while cycling, sign up for our newsletter to receive more informational articles. Good luck!