Staying Injury Free in Cycling
More than anything else in cycling, you have control over your own preparation and habits that help keep you safe from preventable injuries. Here are 5 tips that can help prevent sports injuries in dedicated cyclists.
Tip 1: Check Your Cleats
All cycling enthusiast will know how much cleats can aid in your cycle however they can also cause a detrimental effect around the knee joint if they are not set up correctly.
If your cleats are turned slightly too far in or out this can increase pressure on the knee joint which may result in pain around the knee. If you feel an increase in pressure/pain around the knee when cycling it might be a good idea to check your cleats.
Tip 2: Is Your Set-Up Correct?
This might seem obvious but one of the most important factors when cycling is the set-up of your bike. If the setup is not correct a variety of issues can occur, including but not limited to a sore back, tension in the shoulders and pain around the knee.
If you're unsure about how to set up your bike correctly it may be a good idea to seek out a cycle shop for advice and fitting.
Tip 3: Know Your Limits
Cycling can be used for commuting, training or as a hobby. Regardless of how you use your bike, you'll be training your muscles. Cycling can quickly become an obsession for many and you have to be careful not to over train your muscles.
When you use your muscles you need to give them time to recover and grow stronger. Recovery will take the form of rest days or might include sports massage. As a rule of thumb have at least 1 – 2 days rest per week to help avoid overuse cycling injuries.
Tip 4: Know Your Climate
When the temperature drops to freezing a lot of cyclists will still go out in shorts. By wearing shorts, you will expose your working muscles to cold temperatures, when this happens the muscle contracts and doesn’t work as efficiently through the full range.
This puts the muscles at an increased risk of pulling or tearing if you increase your pace rapidly, especially at the start of the cycle. The simple solution is to put on leggings or trousers that cover the full leg when the temperature drops; your muscles will thank you for it!
Tip 5: Be Safe
This is another obvious one, be safe on the road and know the rules. A number of cyclists have been hit by car doors or moving vehicles recently. It's always important that when road cycling you're abiding by the rules of the road and you are always aware of your surroundings. This usually goes without saying but wear a helmet at all times to help avoid the risk of head injury.
One point I must stress on road safety is traffic lights are not just for vehicles - they apply to cyclists too. Too often cyclist run red lights if it looks clear and this is where most of the accidents happen. A little break won't affect your overall session. Be safe and enjoy the cycle!