Benefits of Bike Riding
Now that this Florida weather will soon cool off it is a perfect time to dust off that bike and go for a spin. Riding a bike has been a personal favorite family-friendly activity this past year. It allows us to get some exercise in while spending quality time together. The cool breeze in the evenings is just an added bonus! Here are just a few health benefits of bike riding:
Improves Heart Health: This particular study found that any form of cycling was associated with lower Cardiovascular Disease risk among adults. Getting that heart pumping and heart rate up is what strengthens your heart muscle. When this happens the exchange of oxygen taking place is increased and better circulation occurs. So, the workout isn’t just for your legs
Easy on the Knees: Riding a bike creates gentle fluid motion of the knees and hips without full weight bearing force. Getting fluid pumping into those joint capsules creates more synovial fluid which helps to lubricate the joints. Biking is an excellent choice for those with arthritis, joint stiffness, or even joint replacements.
Improves Strength and Endurance: On a bike you can go for a long, quiet stroll or you can pick up the intensity and “sprint” your way around the block. Either way, you are breaking down and building back up those muscles fibers which ultimately improves strength and endurance.
Creates a Sense of Adventure: Sometimes exercising can get boring but when you are on a bike you can explore places that you can’t in car! We love to explore different neighborhoods, parks and playgrounds when we stroll around town. Mixing up the location can really keep things interesting!
Improves Productivity and Mood: Studies show that exercise in general improves your mood by increasing the natural endorphins. But specifically this article states that biking was actually ranked at the top of the list when it comes to boosting your mood! Not only that, but it also showed employees who biked to work were more productive throughout their day!
For the full list of biking riding benefits click here: https://www.livestrong.com/article/481533-effects-of-bicycling-on-the-body/
When riding a bike it is important to keep a few things in mind. Even biking has its downfalls if you're not careful. Look out for these signs of potential problems and correct them early!
Pain – If you have pain when you ride a bike, or maybe the day after, it is a good idea to see your chiropractor! Chiropractic care aligns the the entire body especially the hips, pelvis, and sacrum. And even though biking is easy on the joints, it is compressive for the lower back so getting adjustments regularly will help that strain! Pain in the head, neck, and shoulders are actually very common with frequent riders. For starters, spinal fixations present anywhere in the spine drastically decrease your ability to get in the proper position. Allowing these areas to move freely helps you maintain correct form and posture while riding. Secondly, the placement of your upper body can cause tightness in you trapezius muscles, pectoralis muscles, and suboccipital muscle groups.
Position – Seat height is a big factor that I think is sometimes overlooked. If the seat is positioned too low it can cause damage to the cartilage in the knee and lead to knee pain. If the seat is position too high you might feel a strain in the hips or back from rocking back and forth to reach the pedals. Ideally, while riding pay close to attention to how your feet move. It should feel like your feet are making nice big comfortable circles with each pedal and your knees should be just short of full extension. This is when your legs have the most power.
Time – It can be easy to lose track of time while your cruising around on a bike but keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be bad! Pace yourself in the beginning of your route so that your aren’t struggling too much on the way home. The middle of your bike ride is when your heart rate should be the highest so plan accordingly and allow your heart rate to increase and decrease gradually. Another thing to remember is that in many cases its better to get shorter (20-60 minute rides) consistently rather than longer rides (over an hour) infrequently.
So there you have it! Riding a bike is one of our favorite activities this time of year. Hopefully you can get out and give it a try!
From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and has been in clinical practice for 7 years. She has helped hundreds of patients via Chiropractic care and Acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment!