The Georgia weather is warming up and the pollen is behind us, so it's a great time to get out on your bike. I would like to offer some tips to help protect your neck and back while you are out cycling around metro-Atlanta and enjoying the sites.
Pay Attention to Posture
Cycling is a great way to get in some cardio and it can help save your knees and ankles from stress that can be found in other exercises such as jogging or running. However, poor riding posture can prove to be hard on your neck and back and lead to pain during or after your ride.
The first step to achieving good riding posture is to get a bike that fits your body. This way, you won't have to hunch forward or reach to hold the handlebars. There are many bike shops that have experts who can help properly fit you with a bike that works best for you.
As with any exercise program it's extremely important to perform a 5-10 minute prehab session. Mostly this should involve stretching the back and leg muscles, but also consider a brief job in place or 30 jumping jacks to increase blood flow to acclimate your body to strenuous physical activity in order to avoid injury.
Change Position as You Ride
Staying in one position for long periods of time can be hard on the ligaments and tendons of your spine. It's a good idea to change your position as you ride (for example, by going from a sitting to a standing position) to give your back and neck a break.
One way to prevent neck pain is to lift your head periodically so you can give the muscles of your neck and upper back a rest. In addition, you can sit up and stretch your low back in an arch to help give your low back muscles a break.
Wear Proper Safety Gear
Wearing proper safety gear, like a helmet and chest protector, is important to help protect you while you ride. The safety gear can go a long way towards minimizing damage to the neck and back should you be involved in an accident on your bike.
See a Doctor for Neck or Back Pain
I hope these tips help to prevent neck and back pain as you enjoy cycling around the great Georgia outdoors. If you're experiencing pain after cycling, the physicians at Resurgens Spine Center are here to help keep you out on the road. Issues like muscle strain and inflammation can usually be treated with over-the-counter solutions, but only a doctor can determine if your pain is caused by something more serious.